Guyana players receive expensive Stanford Twenty20 rings
Guyana Chronicle
November 29, 2006

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ST JOHN’S, Antigua, (CMC) – It was after 22:00 h last Saturday, and there were huge smiles, hugs, kisses, and great merriment in the Guyana cricket camp at the Stanford Cricket Ground in Coolidge, Antigua.

In August, they captured the US$1 million top prize in the Stanford Twenty20 Cup which led to the players being showered with champagne as well as praise and adulation.

They were back to receive their ‘larger-than-life’ Stanford Twenty20 Cup championship rings, as they basked in the glory of what was a life-changing success story.

Sir Allen Stanford, the man who conceptualised the competition, told the crowd assembled for the historic ring presentation ceremony why he decided to present the winning players with commemorative gold rings similar to those which are presented to winners of the Super Bowl in the United States.

The legends of West Indies Cricket, who along with Sir Allen formulated the programme to develop the Stanford Twenty20 Cup, were on the stage alongside the players to share in the historic occasion.

"I wanted to do something to allow the young athletes to remember their victory and reflect on it for the rest of their lives," Sir Allen said.

This was met with rousing applause from the crowd.

"This is symbolic of the way the Stanford Twenty20 Cup is going about the business of developing the game. We are different, and we will be entertaining all the time."

Speaking directly to the Guyana players, he added: "I want you to go back home, and show your rings to your friends and family. Let them know how proud you are."

Sir Allen, the man behind the successful US$38 million project which has captured the attention and imagination of the entire cricketing world, said he was pleased to again make a contribution to enriching and uplifting the lives of the young players around the West Indies.

The Guyanese cricketers had been the special guests of honour at a dinner hosted at the Bowler's Club at the Sticky Wicket Restaurant.

After this they took centre stage in front of the crowd to collect their golden rewards. And what rewards they got.

Each player along with the loyal manager and coach walked away with a massive, solid, 14 carat gold ring – each with his name engraved on the inside panel.

The ring has 18 diamonds – representing the number of countries Guyana would have conquered to win the title – and one bigger diamond representing the side.

Mekela Williams, one of the beautiful Stanford Twenty20 Cup ushers, presented the rings.

When each of the players received his gift, Sir Allen joined him and they made clenched fists, showcasing the rings for the cameras and the crowd.

The Guyana Cricket Board also presented a gift in return.

The players presented Sir Allen with a large framed picture of the Kaieteur Falls, one of the landmarks of the South American nation, which is famous for its many rivers and forests.

Sir Allen said the painting would be displayed prominently when the new Bowler's Club is redesigned with a Stanford Twenty20 Cup theme.

In his thank-you speech, team manager Carl Moore was succinct and spoke of how the added cash and honour brought great pride and joy to the team and cricket in the country.

"We in the Guyana cricket team, we at the GCB, we the people of Guyana all want to thank Mr Stanford for what he has done for us," Moore said.

"By putting on the Stanford Twenty20 Cup, you gave these young men a chance to change their lives, and we have seen changes. You showed them what it takes to achieve in life, and gave them a golden opportunity.

"They had a chance to change their financial positions of their lives, but there was more than that. We have seen really positive changes, and back home there was great adulation and great respect for these young men who did Guyana so proud."

On the gold rings, Moore said he and the players were bowled over.

"We are humbled and indeed honoured,” he said. “You kept your promise in style. These are memories of a lifetime. These rings we will cherish until we die. They are the kind of gifts you pass down from generation to generation. We are grateful."

Sir Vivian Richards, the former Leewards and West Indies captain and batting legend, as well as Antigua & Barbuda's National Hero, was the legend attached to Guyana.

He hailed the Guyanese as the team of the tournament and said he always knew they would pull it off.

"From the start I always said Guyana would be the team to beat, and that they would win overall," he said. "I told everyone this and I'm happy the boys did what I knew they had the capability to do. Congrats, my friends!