|Regional Four Day Competition|
|Administrator||West Indies Cricket Board|
|Format||First Class (4-day)|
|Tournament format||Round Robin, Semi-finals|
|Number of teams||8|
|Most successful||Barbados – 19 titles (plus 1 shared)|
|2012–13 Regional Four Day Competition|
The Regional Four Day Competition, formerly known as Shell Shield and Carib Beer Cup, is the first class cricket competition in the West Indies, it is administered by the West Indies Cricket Board. The winners of the tournament are awarded the George Headley/Everton Weekes trophy.
The competition is contested between seven Caribbean teams and, on occasion, touring sides from other countries. Four of the Caribbean teams, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, come from individual countries while two teams, the Leeward Islands and the Windward Islands, which previously competed together as the Combined Islands, are each from multiple countries and territories. Since the 2007–08 season the Combined Campuses and Colleges cricket team have been included in the competition.
The current structure of the tournament is a round-robin league system followed by semi-finals and a final. In the past there was no knock-out stage and it was possible for the winners to share the trophy. Barbados, the current champions, have won the most titles, with twenty (and one shared), while Jamaica have won the most consecutive titles (five).
The following teams have competed in every tournament since the 2007–08 season:
- Leeward Islands
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Windward Islands
- Combined Campuses and Colleges
The following teams have also made appearances in the competition:
- England Lions – 2000–01 (as England A), 2010–11
- West Indies B – 2000–01, 2001–02, 2002–03, 2003–04
- Bangladesh A – 2001–02
- India A – 2002–03
- Kenya – 2003–04
First-class cricket has been played in the West Indies since 1865, when Barbados beat Demerara (in what is now Guyana) at Bridgetown. Matches were played intermittently in the 1860s, 1870s and 1880s, with Demerara being the centre – Jamaica did not play first class games until 1895, while the first Barbados v Trinidad match took place in 1891. Because of the distances involved and travelling costs, there were only three teams in the Inter-Colonial Tournament, which began in 1891 and had 28 instalments until it was finally discontinued in 1939. All three teams, Barbados, British Guiana (now Guyana) and Trinidad won more than five times. Jamaica had first-class status, but played few games (22 in their first 30 years), though they usually played touring teams from England, and when the West Indies got Test status in 1928 that increased the amount of games played by Jamaica as well.
In the World War II years, there was no official Inter-Colonial tournament, but matches were still played between the three teams who had competed for it, and this continued after the war – but now with Jamaica joining in, too. In 1956, British Guiana hosted a four-team knock-out tournament, and this was repeated five years later but now with the Combined Islands joining in. The final unofficial tournament (which does not appear on records in Wisden Cricketers' Almanack or Cricinfo) was held in 1964, with Barbados, British Guiana, Jamaica and Trinidad competing in a league, which British Guiana won.
History of the competition
The regular competition began in the 1965–66, named the Shell Shield (after sponsors Royal Dutch Shell), and the five teams that had contested the 1961 knock-out competed in a round-robin league, with two home matches and two away matches for each team. This format and name remained until 1981–82, when the Combined Islands were split by the West Indies Cricket Board, but that only meant that the season was lengthened to five games a team. Barbados won most of the early tournaments, with nine titles of a possible 14 from 1965–66 to 1979–80, before the Combined Islands won their first title in 1980–81 after four runners-up spots in the preceding six seasons – becoming the last of the five teams to win a title.
Barbados won three more titles before the tournament was restricted in the 1986–87 season – instead of a round robin league, there were now two round robin groups, determined by geography. The league was back for the next season, however, renamed to Red Stripe Cup (from the beer brand Red Stripe). Leeward Islands won their first title in 1989–90, winning all five games in the league, but Barbados were back on top for the following season. No team managed to win for two seasons in a row for the next fourteen seasons, though Leeward Islands and Barbados exchanged the trophy for six seasons between 1993–94 and 1998–99. The WICB experimented with the format in these seasons – the 1995–96 saw a final match being played, while 1996–97 had a home-and-away round robin format (so ten matches in total). The following season, the Red Stripe withdrew as sponsor, and the tournament had to be renamed the President's Cup – and cut down to five matches a team once again. For 1998–99, the soft drink Busta came in as the tournament became the Busta Cup, and the tournament now got a semi-final and a final appended after the round robin.
Barbados and Jamaica dominated the 2000s, as they have shared the first six titles of the millennium – Barbados becoming the first team to defend their title since Jamaica did it in 1989. The 2000s also saw attempts to include teams from other nations, as England A, Bangladesh A, India A and Kenya all competed (in chronological order, one team each season), along with a university side known as West Indies B. The semi-finals were removed for the 2004–05 as was the West Indies B team and the tournament returned to a six-team league – this time with home and away matches, so a ten-game league with a final match between the top two teams. In the 2005–06 season the league returned to one round robin series so teams play five games before the top two play the Final.
Since the 2010–11 season the teams have played each other once in a round-robin format followed by semi-finals which are contested between the top four teams of the league stage.
Points are awarded as follows:
- Outright win – 12
- Loser if 1st Innings lead obtained – 4
- Loser if tie on 1st Innings – 3
- Loser if 1st Innings also lost – 0
- Tie – 8
- 1st Innings lead – 6
- 1st Innings loss – 3
- Tie on 1st innings – 4
Score Equal in a Drawn Match
- Team batting on the 4th innings – 8
- Team fielding on the 4th innings if that team has lead on 1st inning – 6
- If scores tied on 1st innings – 4
- If team has lost on 1st innings – 3
In the event of a match being abandoned without any play having taken place, or in the event of there being no 1st innings decision, three (3) points each.
|1969–70||Trinidad and Tobago|
|1970–71||Trinidad and Tobago|
|1975–76||Trinidad and Tobago shared with Barbados|
|1984–85||Trinidad and Tobago|
|1997–98||Leeward Islands shared with Guyana|
|2005–06||Trinidad and Tobago|
The above winners are of the league phase, since 2005/06 there has been a knock-out tournament (Carib Beer International Challenge) with qualification based on league position. In 2005/06 four teams progressed to the knock-out phase, initial league winners Trinidad and Tobago won the final against Barbados. In 2006/07 only the top two teams qualified, Barbados (as league champions) and Trinidad and Tobago (as league runners-up). The league form was reversed as Trinidad and Tobago defended their title with a 49 run win. Trinidad and Tobago reached their third successive final in 2007/08, this time losing to Jamaica. In 2008/09 the knock-out Carib Beer Challenge was discontinued.
Number of wins by team (since 1965–66)
|Barbados||20 (plus 1 shared)|
|Guyana||5 (plus 1 shared)|
|Trinidad and Tobago||4 (plus 1 shared)|
|Leeward Islands||3 (plus 1 shared)|
- A brief history of West Indies domestic cricket
- Competition Format of 2005–06 Carib Beer Series (pdf-file)