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Factory Ground Targeted For Upgrade

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By
Neto Baptiste

One of the country’s top cricket venues is
being targeted for a major upgrade by government in 2020.

This is according to Sports Minister, Daryll Matthew, who said that the
Factory Cricket Ground stands to benefit from a structural standpoint as
government seeks to provide the sport’s local governing body with more options
when hosting regional matches.

“…Because cricket is not a sport that
generally gets a lot of support from the ministry given their relationship with
Cricket West Indies, we will be working this year to do some work at the Factory
cricket grounds, meaning bathroom facilities, changing room facilities and
lights. So that can be a facility the cricket association can use in their
development programmes as well,” he said. 

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The move, Matthew said, is in keeping with a
request from Cricket West Indies that more of the country’s cricket facilities
are brought up to standards in anticipation of more regional cricket coming to
the shores of Antigua.

“I am not sure if persons recognise how much
cricket is played now at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground and the
Coolidge Cricket Grounds. Cricket West Indies have said to us that if you have
the ability to get another facility, then get it because there is a lot more
cricket that Antigua can get. And while we may not have the hoopla of a CPL
taking place in Antigua, I guarantee you 110 percent that the economic activity
that we generate from the cricket we host here — like the under-19 tournament,
the women’s tournament, the tri-nations — generates more economical benefits
for Antigua and Barbuda than the CPL does for some of these other countries,”
the minister said. 

Outside of the historic Factory Ground,
Matthew said a number of other venues will be targeted for upgrades throughout
the course of 2020.

“Where priorities are concerned, we try to
support the national federations as much as possible because they are the ones
who build these programmes for our elite athletes. We had prioritized in 2019
and we will prioritize in 2020, facilities, and I know Swetes, because I get
the calls every day and there other facilities like Glanvilles, Pigotts, Sea
View Farm that require work and we are aware of it but we can’t fix everything
in one fiscal year,” he said.

In 2007, then junior
minister of sports, Winston Williams, announced that Factory Ground would have
been upgraded ahead of the Cricket World Cup held that same year. The
facility’s rejuvenation should have been done in unison with the construction
of the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground ahead of the 2007 Cricket World Cup.

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