The first time Basketballers from Antigua and Barbuda played internationally in Guyana was August 1981, the occasion was the Inaugural Caricom Championship staged at the National Sports Hall.
The Antiguans first match resulted in a 94 to 84 loss to Barbados; Malcolm Stanton top scored for Barbados with 24 Points, Dennis Osbourne had 19 Points, for Antigua and Barbuda Noel Roberts scored a game high 26 Points, Wholly Abbott 12 Points. Antigua and Barbuda second game also resulted in a loss this time to host Guyana 86 to 75 the late Stanislaus (Knox) Hadmon top scored for Guyana with 24 Points, Compton (Lofty) Hinds 14 Points, Orin Cumberbatch 14 Points, and Skipper Hewley Harry 12 Points. For Antigua, Wayne Harris scored a game high 27 Points and Mark Christian 16 Points.
Antigua and Barbuda’s first victory in Guyana came in their third match when they defeated Dominica 88 to 65. Wayne Harris top scored with 23 Points, Carrie Knights 16 Points and Elton Thom 12 Points. For Dominica Oliver Burton scored 16 Points, Bernard Thomas 12 Points and Irvine Williams 10 Points.
The Antiguans next match was a blowout loss to Suriname. The Dutchmen won 109 to 67; Lucien Blaaker top scored for Suriname with 25 Points, Jerry Bleeggraat 16 Points and Jeffrey Straal 15 Points. For Antigua and Barbuda Wayne Harris scored 10 Points, Elton Thom 9 Points, T. Salmon 8 Points, Mark Christian 8 Points and L. Clarke 8 Points.
By only winning one of their four preliminary games the Antiguans failed to qualify for the semifinals. The prolific sharp shooter Wayne Harris was the lone Antiguan selected when the Inaugural Caricom All Star Team was announced.
Caricom All Star Team selected after the Inaugural Tournament:
Hewley Harry – Guyana
Stanislaus Hadmon – Guyana
James Brushe – Guyana
Wayne Harris – Antigua & Barbuda
Malcolm Stanton – Barbados
Michael Chase – Barbados
Frank Menke – Suriname
Dennis Spier – Suriname
Lennox Jervier – Dominica
Wayne Sappleton – Jamaica
Junior Foster – Jamaica
John Bailey – Jamaica
Brian John – Trinidad
Lennox Sobers – Trinidad
Victor O’Garro – Trinidad
The next time the Antiguans visited the land of the Majestic Kaieteur Falls was August 1988 for the 7thCaricom Championship and again the venue was the National Sports Hall. The boys from St. John’s started that tournament with a 75 to 67 loss to Regional Power House Bahamas. Denzil Swain led all scorers with 20 Points, Hilton Pinder 15 Points, Jeff (Cheese) Pinder 12 Points and 10 Rebounds; for Antigua and Barbuda Wayne Harris top scored with 14 Points, Deon Joseph 13 Points, and 11 rebounds, Keith Roy George 10 Points.
The Antiguans rebounded from the Bahamas loss by silencing a sellout Sports Hall with an emphatic blowout win over host Guyana 77 to 55. Wayne Harris 13 Points, Deon Joseph 13 Points and Carl Knights 13 Points led the visitors. Auric Tappin led all scorers with 25 Points, Skipper Leon Christian 8 Points and Gavin Cummings 8 Points supported for Guyana.
Bouyed by the blowout of host Guyana, the Antiguans destroyed Suriname 89 to 69 in their next encounter; Deon Joseph had a game high 20 Points, Keith Roy James 14 Points, Wayne Harris 14 Points. OverReem Relium scored 12 Points for Suriname.
Trinidad & Tobago halted the Antiguans run with a 73 to 55 victory as Patrick Joseph led all scorers with 22 Points, Lennox Sobers 16 Points and Bertrand James 16 Points for the winners. For Antigua, Wayne Harris scored 16 Points, Kenroy Jones 10 Points and Trevor Edwards 10 Points.
Barbados defeated Antigua for the third place and Bronze Medal. After the tournament two players from Antigua and Barbuda were selected on the Caricom All Star Team.
Selected after the 1988 Caricom Tournament:
Leon Christian – Guyana
Auric Tappin – Guyana
Deon Joseph – Antigua
Kenroy James – Antigua
Patrick Joseph – Trinidad
Garnett Stewart – Trinidad
Jeff Pinder – Bahamas
Denzil Swain – Bahamas
Dale Weekes – Barbados
Dave Johnson – Jamaica
Paul Farr – Jamaica
This time around the Antigua will be contesting only against their Guyanese rivals this is their first Goodwill tour, their two previous visits was for participation in Caricom Championships. Lets See who will emulate Wayne Harris, Deon Joseph, Kenroy James, Elton Thom and Carl Knights. We have waited a long time for an Antigua visit, it has been 27 years since the boys from the Island with 365 bleaches has visited the land of the Mighty Kaieteur Falls. (Charwayne Walker)
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