BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – On Tuesday, May 23, 2006, St. Kitts & Nevis entered a new chapter in its history as the twin island Federation successfully hosted its first One Day International Cricket Match at the newly refurbished Warner Park Stadium.
Months of careful preparations and hard work paid off as hundreds of visiting cricket fans from India and the Caribbean joined local Kittitians and Nevisians to watch the West Indies team win a suspenseful and exciting victory over India.
Millions more all over the world viewed the excitement at the picturesque Warner Park on their TV screens. To honor the occasion, a national holiday was declared. The One Day International Cricket Match held at Warner Park was the third in five match series that concluded on Sunday, May 28, 2006 in Trinidad.
The recently completed refurbishments to Warner Park Stadium have increased seating capacity to accommodate 8,000 spectators, with that capacity slated to rise to over 10,000 in time for the island to host six Phase One matches for the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup in March 2007.
Warner Park now houses the most modern air-conditioned cricket media centre in the region along with 16 ideally-located corporate boxes. Situated in the heart of Basseterre, there are excellent views of the harbor, and the mountains of both St Kitts and Nevis. A Grand Opening ceremony for the venue was held on May 20, 2006.
“We put significant effort into the development of Warner Park and all the elements of hosting a successful event, so I’m especially pleased with the results,” stated St Kitts Minister of State for Tourism, Sports and Culture, Richard “Ricky” Skerritt. “Feedback so far from the One Day International Match indicates that the complete experience was enjoyable for visiting and local spectators, players, media and officials alike, which was our objective. It’s a perfect Caribbean-styled setting for cricket and we anticipate that, with the success and publicity from this match, we will attract an increasing number of major international sporting events to our island.”
In addition to having a life-long passion for the sport of cricket, Minister Skerritt was the first full-time West Indies Cricket Team Manager from 2000-2004 prior to his ministerial appointment. Since taking up political office, he has been instrumental in the development of Warner Park as well as drawing the attention of his former international sporting colleagues to the impressive assets of St. Kitts & Nevis as a sports tourism destination.
St. Kitts & Nevis is the smallest nation to host ICC Cricket World Cup matches for 2007. ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 is one of the world’s largest and most prestigious sporting events and this is the first time ever that this event will be held in the West Indies.
The competition is expected to draw a potential global audience of 1.5 billion people worldwide to watch a total of 16 teams compete over a 47-day period in eight participating countries including St. Kitts & Nevis. St. Kitts & Nevis will be hosting South Africa, Scotland, Holland and the reigning champion team from Australia (numbers 5, 12, 16 and 1, respectively, in the world ranking) in the following schedule of matches:
–March 14 – Australia vs. Scotland
–March 16 – South Africa vs. Holland
–March 18 – Australia vs. Holland
–March 20 – South Africa vs. Scotland
–March 22 – Scotland vs. Holland
–March 24 – Australia vs. South Africa
The ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 tournament officially begins on March 11, 2007, with an opening ceremony held Trelawny Stadium in Jamaica, and ends with a final match on April 28 at the Kensington Oval in Barbados to determine the World Cup champions.