Coach of the T&T Red Force franchise Mervyn Dillon is disappointed that the West Indies Championships had to end early but satisfied with his team's second-place finish in the tournament.
On Tuesday, Cricket West Indies (CWI) announced Barbados as this year's regional four-day champion as out of an abundance of caution they cancelled the final two rounds of matches in the Championships due to the coronavirus.
With two rounds to go, Barbados Pride was out front with 143.8 points followed by Red Force who is 94.6. Defending champions Guyana Jaguars are in the third position with 91.8 points. Jamaica follows on 91.8 as well. The Windward Islands Volcanoes finish fifth with 78, while the Leeward Islands Hurricanes prop up the table with just 52.8.
Red Force could have mathematically gone ahead of Barbados Pride with two rounds to go but it would have meant that the Pride had to lose their final two matches without even getting a single bonus point and Red Force would have had to defeat Jamaica and Guyana and gain maximum points. Barbados was averaging 8.31 bonus points per match this season.
The second-place finish was this country's best effort in six years as the last time the Red Force finished runner-up was back in 2014 to the Barbadians. T&T has not enjoyed great success at the regional four-day tournament since the inception of the tournament in 1965, they have won the title on only four occasions. The last time Red Force tasted success was back in 2006 when it took the title in Barbados. It means that in the 55-year history of the tournament, T&T has only lifted the trophy on four occasions.
"We were looking forward to ending strongly as the two wins we had at home really give the guys confidence," said Dillon of the T&T unit which was due to travel to Jamaica the weekend before and then return home to play against Guyana last weekend to round off their play.
"These are things we cannot control in terms of the virus pandemic so we will continue to monitor the situation and hopefully things settle nicely in time for us to take part in the Regional Super50 later this year. We are all looking forward to getting back on the park, so we eagerly look on and pray for the best."
Dillon added that this season the difference with his team was cohesiveness and fitness.
"We played together as a team and this made the difference for us. The boys were well led by Darren Bravo and there was togetherness with guys believing in the process.
"Also the overall fitness of the team improved and I want to take it from the benchmark of 40 for the yo-yo test. At the international level, some of these guys are hitting 60, so we are aiming for that and looking forward to guys getting into that range."
T&T PERFORMANCES SINCE WINNING TITLE IN 2006
2007 - 2nd
2008 - 4th
2009 - 4th
2010 - 4th
2011 - 2nd
2012 - 3rd
2013 - 4th
2014 - 2nd
2015 - 5th
2016 - 4th
2017 - 4th
2018 - 6th
2019 - 4th
2020 - 2nd