The WICB has decided to re-introduce day-night matches when the new Digicel SportsMax 2016/2017 Regional Four Day competition bowls off next month, with the use of pink ball in their domestic first-class competition, after a hiatus of seven years.

The board had first carried out the experiment in 2009 to boost spectator interest that had been declining in the preceding years. However following a review a number of factors had influence a shelfing of the format.

Six of the 30 first-class matches in the upcoming season will be day-night matches, and Roland Holder WICB Cricket Operations Manager said , “The purpose of the re-introduction of day-night matches is two-fold. ”

“First, it allows our elite players to familiarise themselves with the pink ball, and secondly, it allows for greater spectator attendance, as patrons can have a relaxing evening watching their favourite team.”

“Each team has two matches – one home, one away – as gradually international boards begin to embrace this concept.”

When the regional governing body released fixtures for the first half of the season, four of the six day-night matches, which will begin at 3:00 p.m. daily, have been scheduled before the Christmas and New Year’s holiday break.

Defending champions Guyana Jaguars will be part of the second day/night match, when they travel to Saint Lucia to face the Volcanoes at the Darren Sammy National Cricket Ground in the third round from November 26 to 29.

The Jaguars return home to host long-standing rivals Barbados Pride in the following round from December 9 to 12 at the Guyana National Stadium in a day/night contest.

The other game takes place between Leeward Islands Hurricanes and Jamaica Scorpions from December 15 to 18 at Warner Park in St. Kitts during the fifth round.

The last two day/night matches are currently scheduled to be contested in the New Year during the second half of the Tournament in April.
SCHEDULE OF MATCHES
(Start times in brackets)

Round 1 – November 11 to 14
Red Force versus Volcanoes – Queen’s Park Oval, Trinidad (3:00 p.m.)
Jaguars versus Scorpions – Guyana National Stadium, Guyana (9:30 a.m.)
Hurricanes versus Pride – Warner Park, St. Kitts (10:00 a.m.)

Round 2 – November 18 to 21
Scorpions versus Volcanoes – Sabina Park, Jamaica (10: a.m.)
Red Force versus Pride – Queen’s Park Oval (10:00 a.m.)
Hurricanes versus Jaguars – Warner Park (10:00 a.m.)

Round 3 – November 25 to 28
Scorpions versus Pride – Sabina Park (10:00 a.m.)
Red Force versus Hurricanes – Queen’s Park Oval (10:00 a.m.)

Round 3 – November 26 to 29
Volcanoes versus Jaguars – Darren Sammy National Cricket Ground, St. Lucia (3:00 p.m.)

Round 4 – December 8 to 11
Scorpions versus Red Force – Sabina Park (10:00 a.m.)

Round 4 – December 9 to 12
Volcanoes vs Hurricanes – Windsor Park, Dominica (10:00 am)
Jaguars versus Pride – Guyana National Stadium (3:00 p.m.)

Round 5 – December 15 to 18
Hurricanes versus Scorpions – Warner Park (3:00 p.m.)

Round 5 – December 16 to 19
Pride versus Volcanoes – Kensington Oval, Barbados (10:00 a.m.)
Jaguars vs Red Force – Guyana National Stadium (9:30 a.m.)

In 2009, the first-class game in the West Indies was set to welcome radical innovations such as day-night matches and the use of pink balls to boost spectator interest. The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) said that these innovations in its four-day tournament, which gets underway on January 8, was on a trial basis.

Another feature in the 2009 season was the hosting of an entire round in one territory to ease the logistical challenges in travelling arrangements.

former West Indies Cricket Board CEO Ernest Hilaire
former West Indies Cricket Board CEO Ernest Hilaire

Ernest Hilaire, the then West Indies Cricket Board’s CEO, said “Spectator interest in regional matches has been declining in recent years and we are looking at different ways to organise our tournaments and ensure greater value for all our stakeholders, including players and spectators.

“We at the WICB aim to bring the game back to the fans and we believe the new format of having day-night cricket in the four-day tournament will help to generate public interest and also be a winner with the players and officials.”

Hilaire pointed out that each of the seven teams will get to play at least one match under lights. He said data will be collected on the impact on players, spectators, match officials and spectators before the format comes under review.

According to Hilaire, “We will also be looking to utilise some of the wonderful facilities we have in the region as we seek to develop players who will be able to represent the people of the Caribbean at the highest level.”

The first round began in Jamaica from January 8-11, 2009 while the final round was played in the Windwards between February 26 and March 1, 2009