Virgin’s Cup and William Thornton Race | Women At The Helm

21 boats entered 2020 Virgin’s Cup and William Thornton Race on Saturday, October 24

Victoria Rowlette at the helm of “Whoop Whoop” defended her title in the 2020 Virgin’s Cup and William Thornton Race on Saturday, October 24.

21 boats entered the race ranging from the Corsair trimarans to 40ft cruising boats and 12 foot dinghies. The Virgin’s Cup, sponsored by the Willy T, is always a popular event, getting women on the helm and encouraging families to get out together on the race course and enjoy the party at the end,

After a week of very light winds Saturday dawned with cracking conditions and sunshine, and even the rain stayed away.

First away was the monohull fleet, their course taking them up the channel to Hog Valley Green, across to Deadchest and then passing Peter Island to starboard. Next around Pelican and the Indians before heading to the finish in the Bight. Linda Phillips on IC24 Latitude 18 nailed the best start and away they went.

A pre-start loss of steering aboard Tranquillo saw them start a little late under emergency tiller but that was not going to stop them! The team went on to finish fourth overall and win the best dressed crew award for showing true commitment with custom made event crew shirts.

Meagan Woodman’s sail training Beneteau 23 were also a little late for the start and opted to sail a ‘modified course’ taking a direct route to the Willy T.

Next up were four trimarans who delivered a spectacle and, after a quick line re-set, the dinghies were sent off on their more direct route, leaving the Indians to port before heading for the finish. First to arrive at the finish line was Colin Rathbun with his UFO and just over a minute behind him, Christian Thompson in the other. Still relatively new to the BVI, it seems the window for ideal foiling conditions is small.

Next in was Samuel Allen who took the Laser Radial win. The Bight is notorious for flukey wind and the first to struggle with the tricky gusts coming into the finish were Charlotte Matthews and Dwayne Palmer with Palmer coming out on top by just 3 seconds. Despite having the best start, Max Reshetiloff closed out the Radial fleet in fourth.

Liz Killeen and Rob Lind also had ‘some fun’ with the finish and only just edged out Stephen Ganga in the RSFevas. 10 year old Darcey Lilleyman sailing with dad Tom finished third in the Feva class to wrap up the dinghy fleets.

It was little surprise to see the bright orange hull of Whoop Whoop taking line honours for the big boats. At 13 years of age, Victoria Rowlette, defended her title from 2019, leading Ting a Ling, helmed by Candice Nichol, by six minutes. Next in was Sarah Ebrill with Airgasm to take third in class and third overall. Rounding out the trimaran fleet was Sam Brown at the helm of The Flying Pig.

The most remarkable finish was delivered by the Firewater team with Dee Bowden at the helm. While not their finest moment, they had still done enough for the Melges 24 to edge out the chasing IC24s. Coming in with just 37 seconds between them, Racing in Paradise and Latitude 18 were a delight to see on the race course again as neither one has raced since the hurricanes of 2017 with hopes that there will be more to come from them. RIP just took the edge with the helm shared between Claire Potter, Katie Westlake and 5 1/2 year old Rosie Wooldridge who also won the youngest competitor award. Linda Phillips and the Latitude 18 team came in third in racing and sixth overall.

First home in the cruising class and far enough ahead to hold off the chasing pack, was Odyssey, another boat where the helming duties were shared. Well done to Lisa Sutherland-Pilch, Claudia Delahoy and Judy Petz. Becky Paull skippering Aira were next home but second went to the Wicked Winch team helmed by Becca Brannigan. Finally, still looking good in their red shirts, was Tranquillo to take fourth.

The Royal BVI Yacht Club and event organising committee thanked Ewan Anderson and all the team at the Willy T for another great race wrap and the prizes. Thanks were also extended to PRO Bob Phillips and Leslie for race committee work and photography and to Julia, John and Mandi for providing safety cover for the dinghy fleet.

Talent BVI Elite Football Programme progresses with inter island matches

Talent BVI Elite Football programme progresses with matches between Virgin Gorda and Tortola on October 24, 2020. Photo: BVIFA

In trying to provide realistic game time for the U15 and U17 players in the BVI and as part of its ongoing Talent BVI Elite Football Programme, the BVI Football Association organized a series of matches between Virgin Gorda and Tortola based squads, on Saturday 24th October, 2020.

The first legs of the games were played at the national stadium venue in East End / Long Look and saw Tortola teams emerge victorious.

The U15’s played first, and Tortola won 3-1 with goals coming from Joharie Lacey, who opened the scoring on an assist by DeAndre Rogers. Rogers went on to score twice on assists from Lacey and Adrian Padilla, whilst Sammy Guilford was the scorer of the lone goal for Virgin Gorda.

The U17 game that followed shortly after was keenly contested with lots of good combination passing from both teams. Sheldon Harry broke the deadlock 5 minutes into the second half with a close-range effort and Miles Creque extended Tortola’s lead, breaking through the defense and slotting home past the keeper. Virgin Gorda pulled it back to 2-1 with the goal of the game coming from the boot of Kimbo Deming, who let fly from fully 25 yards out.

Virgin Gorda were unable to find the equalizer and the game ended at 2-1 but will take heart from their performance as the teams head back to Virgin Gorda for the second legs on October 31st.

According to Coach Tinnie Percival “Both games were played in good spirit but were extremely competitive. The kids showed good skills and positive attitudes. With constant training and regular games, I can only see these kids getting better and stronger.”

The BVIFA’s Talent BVI programme is designed to bridge the gap between grass roots football and national team training.

Players born between 2008 and 2003 who show a talent to potentially play in national teams are invited into the Talent BVI programme so they can develop and the BVIFA can continue to monitor their progress ahead of potential national team age group selection

The programme consists of two centres, one on Tortola and one on Virgin Gorda, with training taking place on a Saturday afternoon in Tortola and Saturday morning on Virgin Gorda.

For more information, contact the BVIFA at

Women’s Football League to kick off October 31

The BVI Football Association is preparing to launch its Women’s League on 31st October, 2020

Following the highly successful Women’s Festival Cup and the increasingly popular national team training programmes both on Tortola and Virgin Gorda, the BVI Football Association is now preparing to launch its Women’s League, with opening day scheduled for 31st October, 2020.

Floods, storms and pandemics may mean it is almost four years since the Ballstars were crowned “Champions” after seeing off the challenge of the youngsters from VG United, but it now will be the turn of the next generation to spearhead the resurgence of the women’s game.

Just this past weekend, the likes of Ariel Mohammed, Darci Reich and Tinia Van Zoost – all products of the BVIFA Schools’ Programme – took center stage as the national players took part in a training session and practice match.

“The future is looking great,” commented Wayne Phillip who is in charge of the programme along with Anna French of Virgin Gorda. “The energy and interest coming from the girls proves we are heading in the right direction and it is definitely exciting times.”

In the match, Team Mohammed beat Team Van Zoost 3-1 on goals from Reich (2) and Morgan Creque, whilst Kezia Gumbs was also on the scoresheet.

Although some of the more experienced players are still around to mentor the youngsters and challenge them to become even better, according to Phillip, 70% of the players are under 19.

Whilst the national team squad training takes place three times a week, the BVIFA’s plans will bring a competitive atmosphere to supplement the work of Phillips and French.

Each of the teams participating will be affiliated to a member club of the BVIFA and must include a qualified coach. They ideally will play in the same colours as the parent club and all players will be registered with the BVIFA.

Initially the games will be 5-a-side and take place to coincide with men’s games on Tortola and Virgin Gorda.

Four teams have already completed the registration process, The Wolues, the Avengers, the Panthers and VG Utd. The other clubs are putting together rosters and any females still not signed are encouraged to seek out a club or contact the BVIFA office.

FIFA awards clothing, equipment to BVIFA in recognition of continued development of football despite COVID-19 challenges

BVIFA awarded clothing & equipment from FIFA as it plans to launch Youth Academy Leagues as of 1st November 2020

As recognition for the work put in by the coaches and players in keeping the game going throughout the unheralded Covid 19 pandemic, the world governing body, FIFA’s, Technical Division has awarded the BVI Football Association a huge bundle of clothing and equipment.

In a letter to the BVIFA, Mr. Steven Martens, FIFA Technical Director, expressed his gratitude for the commitment, hard work and creativity shown by the coaches and demonstrated by the players as local football looks to overcome the many issues thrown up by the pandemic.

Most recently, following the protocols of the Government of the Virgin Islands which have allowed training and practice to resume under official guidelines, the BVIFA and its coaches were able to get youth programmes back up and running on Tortola, Virgin Gorda and Anegada.

According to Dan Neville, the FA’s Technical Director, Jost Van Dyke will soon follow and plans for a Youth Academy League can now also continue.

“We are delighted to be recognized for hard work in getting our programs up and running. The equipment FIFA have so kindly donated will have a huge impact on all players. A massive well done to all the BVIFA staff and a big thank you to Lenny, Jason, Andre and Gareth for their incredible ongoing support,” said Neville.

Apart from a supply of clothing, the shipment from FIFA includes, balls, boots, bibs and shin guards

Noting that now is the time for everyone to come together and live the FIFA values of Fair Play, Team Spirit, Transparency and Innovation, Martens hopes the token of appreciation will go along way to helping the BVIFA to continue it’s development programmes.

A hope shared by Neville, who confirmed the aim of the BVIFA “to put the equipment to good use and further enhance every aspect of football – youth, senior, male or female – in the islands”

The youth programmes are especially important to the BVIFA as well as the clubs as plans are progressing to launch Youth Academy Leagues as of 1st November 2020.

Each of the association’s member clubs have been approached to affiliate U17 and U13 squads of both boys and girls and appoint a qualified coach to run the teams that will then participate in a 5-a-side or 7-a-side League on Fridays and Saturdays.

So far 6 clubs have accepted the invitation, the Wolues, the Panthers, the Sugar Boys, Sea Argo, Old Madrid, VG United, Lion Heart, One Caribbean and the Rebels.

Once the BVIFA receives Government approval, schools’ programmes are also ready to be rolled out, so getting the youths back training across the Territory will be pivotal in the competitive future of the game.

Chalwell debuts in England FA Youth Cup

Luka Chalwell has become the fist BVIslander to play in one of the English Football Associations most prestigious competitions, the FA Youth Cup.

Luka Chalwell has become the fist BVIslander to play in one of the English Football Associations most prestigious competitions, the FA Youth Cup, which since its inception back in 1952, has now grown to over 400 clubs entering the competition hoping to lift the coveted trophy.

Chalwell, a shining light from the BVIFA’s Schools, Youth, Club and National Squad player pathways, joined the likes of David Beckham, George Best, John Barnes, Ryan Giggs, Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney, Paul Gascoigne and Gareth Bale who all have taken the opportunity afforded by the competition to go onto bigger and better things.

English Premier League giants, Liverpool are current Champions, Chelsea won the Cup the previous five times, Manchester United have lifted the Cup 10 times overall and it is the competition that launched their fabled “Class of ‘92” , so, whilst Chalwell’s debut may be with the slightly less renowned Poole Town FC , he is still rightly proud of his achievement.

“I am grateful to have been given this opportunity with Poole and even happier to have helped the team advance to the next round,” commented Chalwell after Poole had progressed with a 4-1 victory against Dorchester Town.

Meanwhile the BVIFA’s Technical Director, Dan Neville was equally as enthusiastic over the importance of Chalwell’s debut: “The FA Youth Cup is known around the world, so to have one of our young players involved is another milestone in the progress our players are making and the benefits our progammes are starting to produce.”

However, Neville also hopes Chalwell’s achievement is just the beginning. “It is very important we continue to provide our home-grown players with a variety of opportunities and competition in order for them to reach their full potential,” he said.

Neville also believes now is the time to create even more mile stones and memories, so maybe it wont be long until a BVIslander is not only playing in the FA Youth Cup, but also other major competitions in front of a full house at one of the world’s iconic football stadiums!

Reds are BVIFA U12 Youth Festival Cup Champions

Reds are the BVIFA U12 Youth Festival Cup Champions 2020

The Reds are the U12 Youth Festival Cup Champions after defeating the Blues 2-1 in the decisive game of the Championship which took place on Saturday August 15, 2020 at the National Stadium, East End / Long Look, Tortola.

Team Green and Team Orange were also in action, competing in round robin league playoffs to determine the positions for the Championship finals.

In the final, T’Andre Frett scored twice to secure the win, whilst Christian Vanterpool netted a consolation for the Blues.

On the way to the Championship game, the Reds were off and running with a 2-1 win over the Greens as goals by Othneal Gillings and Charlie Potgeiter sandwiched a strike by Latriel Williams, but were then held to a 0-0 draw by the Oranges and in the semi final they faced the Greens again, coming out comfortable 3-0 winners with eventual Golden Boot recipient, Gillings firing home a hat trick.

The Blues secured their place – bouncing back from losing 0-1 to team Orange on a goal by Quinn Poscoe – by holding the Reds to a stalemate and then beating the Greens 1-0 to reach a semi final against the Oranges, which they won 2-1 with Vanterpool scoring a brace, whilst Myles Penn netted for the Oranges.

The winning coach was Jeffrey Demming for the Red Team, Chelsea Edwards was judged as MVP, Othneal Gillings Golden Boot, Akeem Paddy best goalkeeper, Chelsea Edwards best defender, and Christian Vanterpool best midfielder

In the other games played, Green played Orange to a 1 – 1 draw with Latriel Williams and Sam Potgieter both finding the net and Orange redeemed themselves by defeating the Green team 2-1 to capture the third-place position.

BVIFA Youth Festival a success

More than 140 boys and girls attend BVIFA’s August Youth Festival 2020

The BVIFA Executive led by President, Mr. Andy Bickerton and all the Youth Coaches were left in no doubt they are doing the right things after more than 140 boys and girls turned out for the Youth Festival held on Saturday and Sunday August 15 and 16, 2020 at East End / Long Look, Tortola.

The levels of interest and participation across two distinct age groups – those born between 2008 and 2011 and those born between 2003 and 2007 – also showed that the hard work done by the coaching staff to bring back the youths to a competitive environment where they showcased impressive technical ability, is paying dividends.

“It was great to see so many turn out,” commented Bickerton. “The progress being made after the lock down, the level of competition, the technical standards across both age groups are all very encouraging”

Bickerton was also pleased to see that lots of overseas based students were home taking part and was quick to congratulate all the coaches and staff involved, “Tinnie Percival, Wayne Phillips, Richie Morton, Javon Carty, “Left”, Cassandra Gregg, Jermaine Abrams, Morris Mark, Darren, Julianna, the General Secretary and her Assistant, Jahtoya Rodriquez”.

Notable performances also came on the field with Bickerton presenting awards to MVP, Luka Chalwell, Best Goalkeeper, Ollie Henderson, Best Defender, Quelani Nickie, Best Midfielder, Johari Lacey and Top Scorer, Denvin Jones.

Whilst all the youth programmes on Tortola, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke will be continuing [after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted], the BVIFA also plans to move forward with adding a Youth League to its player pathways.

“The level of interest and enthusiasm shown over the weekend means we can be even more optimistic about the success of the National Youth League which the BVIFA is launching in September,” concluded Bickerton.

BVI to face ‘tough’ group in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers

BVI drawn to play in Group C of the first round of the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers for Qatar 2022

The Draw for the first round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying for Qatar 2022 took place in Zurich, Switzerland on August 19, 2020. The six highest ranked teams of were pre-seeded into groups A through F and revealed a number of exciting match-ups among the 30 teams.

The British Virgin Islands, led by 18-year-old Tyler Forbes, are in Group C and will look to rekindle the same fighting spirit they displayed in the CONCACAF Nations League Qualifiers. The BVI faces tough competition from Group C which includes Curacao, Guatemala, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Cuba.

“The team is very excited to play in this group especially with the talent we have and the growing bond we have together,” commented Forbes. “It won’t be easy, but we like a challenge and us underdogs we always seem to perform better like in the game against Martinique. I feel the BVI will be proud of us – and surprised too – when, hopefully, they get to see what we have to offer with some home games. After the hurricanes of 2017 and the Covid-19 pandemic, the team is hungry for success and ready to finally play in front of our home fans.”

BVIFA President, Andy Bickerton noted the World Cup Draw had thrown the BVI into a tough group and is hoping the pandemic won’t stop the opportunity of staging home games. “We have been drawn in a very strong group and have to hope that despite the COVID challenges we are able to play our home matches against Guatemala and Curacao in the BVI.”

Matches in the group are expected to take place from October 2020.

Full CONCACAF World Cup qualifying groups:

Group A: El Salvador, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Montserrat, United States Virgin Islands
Group B: Canada, Suriname, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Aruba
Group C: Curacao, Guatemala, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Cuba, British Virgin Islands
Group D: Panama, Dominican Republic, Barbados, Dominica, Anguilla

Free Basketball & Baseball Camp underway in Districts 7 & 8

(Standing Front L-R) Ephraim Penn, President, BVI Olympic Committee and Milton McLean founder of the Basketball & Baseball (B & B) youth Summer Camp which this year was sponsored by the BVIOC and was launched at Greenland, East End, Tortola on August 17, 2020

A two-week, free Basketball & Baseball (B & B) youth Summer Camp, sanctioned by the BVI Basketball Association and sponsored by the BVI Olympic Committee was launched at Greenland, East End, Tortola on Monday, August 17, 2020.

The summer camp is offering coaching in both basketball and baseball to all boys and girls aged 8 – 12 years residing in Districts 7 and 8. The initiative – now in its third year of community engagement – is managed by Mr. Milton McLean and Mr. Raymond “Chi Chi” Fonseca of the Sea Cow’s Bay Basketball Club (SCBBC). Mr. McLean founded the B & B group in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria bringing in Mr. Fonseca to help with the baseball programme.

“After the hurricanes of 2017 there was little or no activity in sports on Tortola. This prompted me to create the B & B group as an affiliate to the Sea Cow’s Bay Basketball Club,” said Mr. McLean. “The first B & B clinic took place in District 4 in July 2018 and we teamed up with YEP to host the programme in District 3 in 2019. This year, we have partnered with the BVI Olympic Committee to introduce the clinic in East End/Long Look, where I actually grew up. We can’t thank the BVIOC enough for their support as we could not have offered the camp otherwise.”

Basketball and baseball (with an option of softball for girls) are both offered in the Greenland field in District 7 while basketball camp is offered in District 8. Children residing in either district can be registered to attend any of the camps. The camps run from 9:00am – 3:00pm Mondays through Fridays.

“We are hoping to cater for 30-40 children, helping them to release some of that pent-up energy,” continued Mr. McLean. “The idea is to train the participants in the skills of both sports and organize them into teams of 12. We will work with the participating coaches in the districts for a couple of months after the camps so that they can continue to run a district B & B club throughout the year.”

The intent is to offer the B & B summer camp in Districts 1 and 2 in 2021 with the hopes that the grass roots programme will take off and eventually lead to Territory-wide basketball and baseball youth teams that can compete against each other.

The mutual goal of the B & B group and the BVIOC is to encourage younger children to become physically active with a view to tackling the growing problem of childhood obesity made worse by the impact of COVID-19 on sports. Both organisations also recognize the inextricable link between endorphins released through cardio-aerobic exercise, emotional well-being, improved self-esteem and social attitude.

“The BVIOC accepted the invitation to support the B & B initiative because it speaks directly to the Long Term Athlete Development and physical literacy programmes that we have been championing in the Virgin Islands since we launched the community-wide workshops in 2016,” said Mr. Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC.

The funding for the summer camps was sourced through Olympic Solidarity, which this year gave National Olympic Committees the discretion to support programmes that help to develop sports and encourage physical activity in the community.

“Typically, the bulk of the money from Olympic Solidarity is ear marked for national federation sports development and athlete or team activity in preparation for or participation in events and competitions that are part of the ladder to competing in major Games such as the CAC, Panam Games, and Olympic Games,” explained Mr. Penn. “With all competitions suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NOCs were invited to apply for funds to continue to build capacity and engage with the public to move and get physically active. As always, we are accountable to OS and are required to report on the activities which we fund.”

For more information on the B & B Summer Camps or to register a child, contact Mr. McLean on 345-0555 or Mr. Fonseca on 441-1435.

Virtual workshop on Building Your Athletic Brand

Join the BVIOC Athletes’ Commission on Tuesday, August 25 at 8:00pm for a live virtual workshop aimed at helping BVI athletes progress their careers.

The BVIOAC’s 2nd event this year will take a dive into building your athletic brand, using Social Media to your advantage, sharing your story and building a platform that can leverage financial opportunities.

Attendees will have the opportunity to gain insight from Panam Gold Medalist Chantel Malone and Panam Silver Medalist and Olympian, Priscilla Federick and hear from BVIOC PR Consultant, Sofia Fay, partner at Broadsword Communications Ltd.

We have all been negatively impacted by this ‘new normal’ – impacted financially, professionally, physically and mentally. The times – although challenging – are calling for us to innovate the way we position our athletes and take advantage of our brand. In this new reality, it’s more crucial than ever to redefine ourselves to create opportunities for visibility and career advancement.

The meeting, with a raffle and prizes, will also outline the AC Training and Equipment Grant – an opportunity that all athletes need to be aware of.

Click here to register for the virtual meeting. This workshop is for BVI athletes only.