IN 2011, and again in 2012, PowerGen Sports Club watched Queen’s Park Cricket Club dominate the Premier Division.
But in 2013, the Penal club came roaring back to clinch the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board Premier Division two-day title and also the Premiership Twenty20 crown.
And despite missing out in the 50-over Sunday League tournament in 2013 – having lost to Queen’s Park in the final – PowerGen coach Baldath Bodoe is a happy man after his team’s successes in the last 12 months.
Bodoe said the players in the side are like family, and that good results were the products of togetherness, coupled with some individual brilliance.
“We are like a family team, and those guys grow up together here and that is one of the reasons why we have had success over the years. They trust each other totally, they push each other and help one another grow and develop and hopefully that trend can continue in the future,” said Bodoe.
“In the previous two years, I think the players were a little more relaxed because of the success we have had,” he added.
PowerGen had won the Premier Division crown in 2009 and 2010, before Queen’s Park swept aside all comers to clinch back-to-back “trebles” in 2011 and 2012.
“This year we were targeting all three titles and I think the players were a bit more focused. The manager Chitram Ramjitsingh had some serious discussions with the players and we charted a new course.
“We indicated to the players what we expected of them and what was required of them in 2013 and they stepped up and in the end were rewarded for their hard work,” the coach explained.
In short, Bodoe said they laid out their plan for the season and goals for individual players, which in the end turned out to be a winning formula.
“It was not easy losing the Premiership title and the players were really disturbed by it. We knew the players had to raise their level of performance so we set little targets for the players and having them understand what was expected of them,” the coach added.
But that was off the field. The players themselves had to perform on the field and they did so under the leadership of batsman Gregory Mahabir, who was at the helm of the side for most of the season, with regular skipper Samuel Badree unavailable due to other commitments.
Mahabir led from the front with two centuries, including an unbeaten 139 against First Citizens Clarke Road United.
Nicholas Sookdeosingh also scored two tons, his best being 210 against F&E Diamond United followed by 119 against Seenath’s Auto Bamboo Sports.
Jason Mohammed hit 105 against Aranjuez Sports on his return from injury to reclaim his place in the national team, while Evin Lewis and Sherwin Ganga also reached triple figures during the course of the season.
But even with some outstanding performances, the season was still not an easy one. Bodoe insisted that the competition was stiff and that the title race was open right through the season.
He also noted that one key battle they were looking forward to was their Premier Division league clash with the Parkites.
“Queen’s Park has always been a top team to beat. They always give us a good fight and the intensity has always been there whenever we face them. We were also disappointed how we lost to them in the 50-over final so to win the two-day and Twenty20 was a good feeling for the team…I still thought we should have won
the 50 overs though,” Bodoe explained.
He also noted that the club had to push some younger players into the senior team this year, and that gamble paid off.
“We did not have regular captain Badree for most of the season, and some players went to the national team so the younger guys like Jyd Goolie and Jerron Maniram, they had the opportunity to play this season with the senior team and they performed well,” the coach added.
Goolie and Maniram went on to be part of the T&T Under-17 team that won the Regional Under-17 championships in Tobago, with both players playing a big part in that team’s success.
Jovan Ali, another youngster in the PowerGen line-up, was part of the T&T Under-19 team.
Bodoe said: “They got the exposure and we had confidence in playing them because the club has invested in them and we know what they are capable of.
“We have a lot of young talented players in the club who come through our development programme and we always try to fit in the younger players into the senior side and once they get the chance they usually prove that they belong there,” he added.
The coach also noted that they have always tried to use local players in their Premier Division team.
“PowerGen has always invested in our (T&T) players and when we won in 2010 and 2009 we won with only local players on our team. I believe that once you have a development programme in place, you have to use the talents that come out of that programme…you have to invest in the young players,” Bodoe insisted.
And the coach said that for 2014, those young players who performed will keep getting opportunities at the highest level.
Looking ahead, Bodoe expects some intense competition in 2014 and insisted that the players will have to raise their game even higher.
“It will be nice to dominate all competitions and we head into the season looking to win all the matches we play, but it will always be tough because all teams will come hard at us so we will always have to be at the top of our game,” he concluded.