Sammy gets rousing welcome in Hartford
An overflowing crowd showed up at the Sportmen’s Athletic Club on Friday, October 27, to payrespects to Darren Sammy, former captain of the West Indian cricket team. Sammy the only captain to have won World T20 twice was there as the guest of the Connecticut Cricket League (CCL) who was staging their presentation of trophies following the conclusion of their 2017 competitions.
He was accompanied by ESPN representative Alexis Nunes and Richard Berridges, Chief Operating Officer of the St. Kitts-Nevis (SKN) Patriots team who participates in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) tournament. Sammy, who was paying his first visit to the area, had earlier been taken on brief tours of the ESPN facilities in Bristol, Connecticut, and the Cricket Hall of Fame, which was next door to Sportmen’s.
Somewhat overwhelmed by the reception that he was getting from the attendees, many ofwhom wanted to take pictures with him or to get his autograph, the organizers decided to have him respond to questions posed by Kevin Hussain, president of the CCL rather than to have him give a speech.
In his response, he spoke about his involvement with the game and the teams that he played for and a foundation that he has established in his homeland St. Lucia that is geared to help youngsters improve their game. The main purpose of his foundation, he said, was to help the youngsters especially the under-privileged, some who have already received scholarships, to improve their education. Before the end of the function, members of the audience surprised him by coming forward to donate funds to his foundation. He thanked them for their efforts and said that he was glad that he came here.
In regards to the current situation with the West Indies Test team, he said that we need to strengthen our game. We are just not strong enough. Our guys take much longer to mature. We come into Test cricket with less experience than most of the other teams. The talent is there, but we need to be more consistent in our performances.
Stating that she was the only member from the Caribbean on the ESPN team, Nunes said that USA cricket enthusiasts seem to be putting the right structures in place to get the sport moving. Getting it in the schools still has a long road ahead. They need to find a way to get the youngsters involved.
Berridges, whose concentration is in marketing, pointed out that the CPL is a good tournament. However, he said that despite its efforts to stage games in Florida, the U.S. market which is second to that of India is difficult to crack. You need to get the people to develop a passion for the game.
Cash is the cause for the downfall in WI cricket
By STAN WALKER
Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies declared at a book signing at the second launching of his new book “Cricket Without A Cause”, which was staged at the Sportmen’s Athletic Club in Hartford, Connecticut, on Tuesday, October 31, that cash wasthe cause for the downfall in West Indies Test cricket.
The book is his analysis of the status of West Indies cricket and the factors which have caused the regional team to fall close to the bottom of the International Test rankings.
Sir Hilary, who served as a member of the former West Indies Cricket Board during the Julien Hunte administration, began his address by telling the group that turned up at the signing that although the book is about cricket, as an academic he was writing more about Caribbean people and their relationship to the world.
Stating that he considered the book as his most important work to date, he said that the crisis facing West Indies cricket was one that was deeper than just cricket. It is a reflection of the crisis facing Caribbean society.
“Cricket is a stage in which we (Caribbean people) perform,” he said. “It is a stage in which Caribbean drama is told. Our young men have lost its cause and the purpose that it was set for.”
Offering a critique with a view of finding out what is responsible for our loss of excellence in the sport, he pointed to several aspects which he said that we will have to do to get it back.
In speaking about some of the reasons that led to the downfall of our cricket team from ‘awesome to awful’, he said that for instance all of the people in the Caribbean were against apartheid, but the team at that time snubbed South African president Nelson Mandella, when he invited them to come to his country. They would not go because they wanted a raise in their salaries.
“Our young men have lost their way. They are doing it without a purpose. Within the new culture of ‘cash before country’ is to be found the root cause of the fall from Test excellence,” he said.
Sir Hilary mentioned the period and the success of the Sagicor high performance center (HPC) which was set up at the UWI Cave Hill campus in Barbados with him (Sir Hilary) as its chairman, and gave the impression that it is what is needed to get the West Indian Test cricketers back on track. Pointing out that nine of the present crop of players in the team came out of that program and their performance in the recent Test series against England, he said, “We are back. “I believe that within the next three years we will be back among the top Test teams in the world.”
THE CRICKET HALL OF FAME
invites you to attend a book signing
of Sir Hilary Beckles’ new book
“CRICKET WITHOUT A CAUSE:
The Fall and Rise of the Mighty West Indian Test Cricketers”
It is his view of how West Indies cricket ‘lost its soul.’
Sir Hilary said that the crisis facing West Indies cricket was deeper than just cricket. It is the reflection of the crisis facing Caribbean society. Although the book is about cricket, he urged readers not to approach it as just a cricket book.
Sir Hilary, Vice Chancellor of the UWI,
will be present
SPORTMEN’S ATHLETIC CLUB
2976 Main Street, Hartford, CT
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2017
AT 6 P.M.
You may purchase the book now for $30
Top umpire pledges to help lift up U.S cricket standards
Former international cricket umpire Stephen Bucknor promised to help lift up the standard of cricket umpiring and the sport in the USA following his induction into the Cricket Hall of Fame at ceremony which was held at the Sheraton Hotel, Windsor Locks, Connecticut on Saturday, October 7.
Bucknor, who holds the record for umpiring in the most Test matches throughout the world, topped this year’s class of inductees which included Clement “Busta” Lawrence (posthumously), Earl Daley, Cliff Roye, Clement Thompson, Charles Simpson, Syed Balkhi and Stanford Walker.
Bucknor, who is widely known for his long deliberations before making a decision, for which he was nicknamed “Slow Death”, said that he hopes that he will be able to live up to his promise to not only help to improve the standard of umpiring of cricket in the U.S. but also the sport itself. “I am going to work very hard towards getting the game and its umpiring standards better in the country,” he said.
One of the biggest surprises of the evening was the induction of Walker, who is also the Public Relations Director of the institution. In thanking the committee for recognizing him, Walker spoke of how surprised and shocked he was when he was called up as one of the inductees. This was something he never expected, he said, but that he was happy that they had decided to do this before waiting until the day of his funeral.
The late Busta Lawrence from Jamaica, who got involved with the game from an early age, was honored for the outstanding contributions that he gave to the game in New York. He migrated to the U.S. at the age of 17 and not only impressed with his ability as a player but also his role as an administrator.
Daley, also from Jamaica, established himself as a top class cricketer before migrating to the U.S. However, it was here in the U.S. that he made outstanding contributions to the growth and development of the sport serving in many capacities which included as an administrator, player and coach. He is a former player of the U.S. national team who has a lot of playing and coaching experience.
After coming to the U.S. also from Jamaica, Roye hooked up with Westbury Cricket Club in New York, where he served as player, president and vice-president for many years. He served in similar positions with Villagers Cricket Club. He is now the President of the Metropolitan Cricket League, a post which he has held for several years. He played an integral part in the development of Women’s Cricket in its initial stages in the U.S.
Thompson, who developed his cricket skills in his homeland Jamaica, was not only involved in a variety of the sport’s activities there, but went on to play professionally in England for Durham, Newcastle and in the Central Lancashire League for Norden Cricket Club, while still representing Jamaica in the Shell Shield. He migrated to the U.S. in 1986 where he immediately began a new chapter in his cricket career. He became a founding member of Mid-Island Cricket Club where along with his playing held numerous leadership positions in the organization including captain, manager coach and president.
Simpson, a lifelong sports aficionada chalked up notice as an outstanding all-round athlete and sportsman before leaving Jamaica for the U.S. A former member of the Jamaica Defense Force (JDF), he represented the Force in cricket, soccer, field hockey and dance. For over 40 years he has been associated with the Metropolitan Cricket League in New York as a player, umpire and administrator. After 30 years in the U.S. he returned to Jamaica and got involved with two cricket leagues which have produced players who have made the West Indies cricket team.
Balkhi, a promoter and Adviser for the Cricket Council USA in Florida is an award winning entrepreneur. Born in Pakistan, he was exposed to cricket from the very early days. He migrated to the U.S. at the age of 12 and joined the Florida Cricket League. At the end of high school, he gave up playing and went on to pursue a career in marketing. His marketing vision is to make cricket mainstream in the U.S. and is working with CCUSA to create a premier league in the U.S. with the goal of having regional teams with a similar format as the NFL, NBA or MLS.
At the ceremony two stalwarts of the game writer Tony Becker and Lloyd George Dixon, who has served the sport well in his community were presented with Lifetime Awards. Receiving Presidential Awards were well-known Master of Ceremony Edwin Carty, Leeroy Campbell, who usually makes videos of the ceremony and the Rev. Michette Burke. Well-known businessman and community leader, who is also the founder of the International Foundation for the Exoneration of Marcus Garvey, Dermoth Brown, was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation.
2017 Inductees: From left are Earl Daley, Clement Thompson, Cliff Roye, Stephen Bucknor and Syed Balkhi. Missing is Charles Simpson and Stanford Walker.
Former umpire Steve Bucknor tops 2017’s class of inductees
By STAN WALKER
One of cricket's best-known umpires Stephen Anthony Bucknor, OJ, born May 31, 1946 in Montego Bay, Jamaica, tops this year’s Cricket Hall of Fame’s class of inductees. Bucknor the most experienced umpire in International Cricket Council’s elite panel until his retirement in 2009, has officiated in a record 128 Test matches between 1989 and 2009, and 181 One Day Internationals during this period, including five consecutive Cricket World Cup finals from 1992 to 2007.
He will be inducted along with six other individuals: Clement “Busta” Lawrence (posthumously), Earl Daley, Cliff Roye, Clement Thompson, Charles Simpson and Syed Balkhi at the annual Induction Ceremony which will be held at Hartford’s Sheraton Hotel, Windsor Locks, Connecticut, on Saturday, October 7. Bucknor was also a FIFA referee in World Cup soccer qualifiers.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Daley, a former U.S. player who has a lot of playing and coaching experience, had established himself as a top class cricketer before migrating to the U.S. While in Jamaica, he played Senior Cup for the St. Catherine and Melbourne cricket clubs. At that time, he was the only opening batsman and bowler in any of the competitions’ teams in the country...
He also was involved in the highest runs partnership, 313 runs, with Errol Brown, while representing Jamaica in the national Red Stripe sponsored tournament which was held in the West Indies several years ago. The record still stands.
Lawrence who was born in Mountainside, St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, got involved with the game at an early age. Because of his outstanding ability that he showed while playing the game, he was elevated to the captaincy of his school teams. At the age of 16, “Busta” as he was affectionately called was selected to represent his parish St Elizabeth in one of the top cricket tournaments held in the island at that time, the Nethersole Cup Parish Competition.
Cliff Roye’s love for cricket began at the early age of five in his parent’s garage with his older brothers. Cricket was his number one sport throughout his school days in Jamaica. After graduating from school, he joined the Jamaica Defense Force (JDF) and began playing in the Junior Cup competition. In 1988, he started playing Senior Cup for the JDF and in his first game made 198 runs, the highest individual score ever made by any player for that year, earning him the “Ken Weeks” Cup.In December 1991, Roye migrated to the USA. In 1992 he joined the Westbury Cricket Club under the leadership of the late Roy Sweeney. His contributions to the team led to the club winning the Busta Lawrence Trophy that year. Roye’s journey at Westbury lasted for 17 years where he was instrumental in the team winning 11 championships. He held the Metropolitan Cricket League’s (MCL) record for making three consecutive centuries until 2016.
Ever since arriving in New York, Thompson has always been a visible presence on the cricket scene as a player, coach, selector, manager and volunteer. Along the way, he acquired two coaching certificates: a Coaching Certificate Course in England in 1981 and a Level 2 Certificate Course in 2013. Because of his coaching skills, he was a Selector and Coach for the New York Cricket Region for seven years. He was the Selector/Coach for the Metropolitan Giants Cricket team to the US cricket Open in Fort Lauderdale for two years.
A lifelong sports aficionado, Simpson joined the Jamaica Defense Force (JDF) in 1963. Prior to that, he was already chalking up notice as an outstanding all-round athlete and sportsman. In fact, he represented Jamaica as the goalkeeper in its Under-19 team. For over 40 years, Simpson has been associated with New York Metropolitan Cricket League as a player, captain, umpire, administrator, winner of MVP awards, and comeback player of the year after a serious back injury. He is regarded by many as one of the finest all-round player to ever play in the New York Metropolitan Cricket League.
Cricket Promoter and Adviser at Cricket Council USA, Syed Balkhi, is an award winning entrepreneur with a die-hard passion for cricket. Born in Karachi, Pakistan, Syed was exposed to cricket from the very early days. He participated in his schools’ cricket teams since age six and played in several local tournaments.
At age 12, Syed’s family migrated to United States. His passion for cricket led him to join the South Florida Cricket League where he played as a right arm fast bowler throughout high school. At the end of high school, Syed gave up playing cricket and went on to pursue his career at University of Florida where he started one of his many software companies. Today his software is used on over 2 million websites serving billions of impressions monthly.
Cricket Hall of Fame’s Induction Ceremony a big hit
By STAN WALKER
This year’s (2016) Cricket Hall of Fame’s Induction Ceremony proved to be one of the most exciting and according to many of the attendees should be a very memorable day for the institution.
The celebration started with a Women’s Six-a-Side tournament in Keney Park, Hartford, which had as many as 20 women from New Jersey and New York participating. The event was sponsored by Cricket Council USA (CCUSA), a sports and management company out of Florida, the Sportmen’s Athletic Club and the Connecticut Cricket League.
Topping the list of inductees was former West Indian Test Players Jeffrey Dujon, John Shepherd and Roselyn Emmanuel. The others were P. K. Guha, a strong promoter of the game in the U.S., Ivy Mahabir, a founder of women’s cricket in the U.S., Bassett Thompson, and Lorna Austin, who are involved with New York City’s school cricket program.
Each of the inductees was well received. They mixed their acceptance speeches with a certain amount of humor and some of their experiences both behind and in front of the scenes when they entered the international arena. Dujon, in particular, who was on the West Indian team which dominated the sport in the 1980s, likened himself to the outcast Mexican character in the movie “The Magnificent Seven.” He said that when he joined the team, while sitting in the dressing room with all the stars around him, he began to wonder whathe wasdoing there. It however, motivated him to perform so magnificently behind the stumps that today he is recognized as one of the five best wicket-keepers ever to play the game throughout the world.
Another highlight of the ceremony was the attendance of Shepherd’s 94-year-old mother, who took the opportunity to present him with his Hall of Fame ring. It was also revealed that as a youngster she was the one who got him started in the game by throwing a ball at him which he tried to hit with a “coucou stick” (the tool that is used to stir the pot when they are cooking turn-cornmeal, a well known Barbadian dish).
One other feature of the ceremony was the presentation of a bible with blessings and prayers from the Hall by the Rev. Hugh Hamilton for improvement to the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and team to the Board’s president David Cameron, who was present. Cameron was also presented witha Certification of Appreciation in recognition of his helpin establishing a professional league, the first of its kind in the West Indies.
According to Hall of Fame’s president Michael Chambers, Cameron’s presence made the program much richer. Not often do you get to welcome the president of any of the world’s cricket board at the Hall of Fame, he said, and thanked him (Cameron) for assisting the 90 male and 15 women players who now have professional contracts in the West Indies, which he said is an accomplishment that is hard to duplicate.
Cameron informed the group that he was pleased to see so many women attending a cricket ceremony and revealed that the Board has purchased the Sticky Wicket Hall of Fame in Antigua and are planning to reopen it by next year.
Cricket Hall of Fame’s accomplishments are world-class
By STAN WALKER
The accomplishments of the Cricket Hall of Fame are world-class, Dr. Geoff Edwards, former president of the Canadian Cricket Association (CCA) said as he responded to his induction into the institution.
Dr. Edwards was among a group of six individuals which included Godfrey Mitchell, Lionel Bedessee, Petal Samuels, Neville Flowers and Linval DaCosta, who were honored for their contributions to the growth and development of the game in the U.S. at the Hall Fame’s annual Induction Ceremony, which was held Saturday, October 3, at the Sheraton Hotel, Bradley International Airport, Windsor Locks, Connecticut.
Referring to the present state of the game in the U.S. and Canada, Dr. Edwards said that the International Cricket Council (ICC) should concentrate on supporting the game in these regions rather than trying to run it.
“The reasons why more youths are not gravitating to the game here in the U.S. is because they are not able to obtain scholarships like are available in most of the other sports,” he said, adding that for instance in the West Indies where the sport is more popular youths are not able to obtain scholarships from the University of the West Indies (UWI).
Dr. Edwards, who obtained support for the introduction of women’s cricket from CCA in 2001-2003, said that we need to try and get more women participating in the sport.
Mitchell, one who has been at the forefront of the game in the New York region for several years, was admired for the tireless and unselfish work that he gives in the development of the game in the area. He drew a big round of applause during his presentation which featured a video from present West Indian batting star Christopher Gayle congratulating him for his achievement and paying tribute to him for the yeoman services that he has given to the leagues throughout the northeast region.
Another highlight of the ceremony was the tribute paid to Bedessee by one of his grandsons, who responded for him following his induction, by speaking about the outstanding role that his grand-dad has played in the development of the game in Canada and the U.S. Responsible for building his humble business into an empire, Bedessee’s company has been involved with the sponsorship of several teams and cricket programs in New York, which includes the popular Inter-League tournament.
Samuels, the only female in the group is known in the U.S. cricket community as a competent cricketer, scorer, umpire and coach. She is the founder and president of the Georgia Women’s Cricket Association. The organizer of cricket development camps, coaching clinics and tournaments, she is regarded as one of the driving forces in the development of women’s cricket in the U.S.
A formidable cricketer, Flowers, in his early years excelled in both soccer and cricket. A Physical Therapist by profession, he has made contributions to many cricket clubs in New York and the Caribbean. He has volunteered his services to the New York Red Stripe Cup teams, the U.S. Masters Team tour to Jamaica, Barbados, Antigua, and Grenada. Every year, he contributes to the Michael Holding Masters scholarship awards in Jamaica.
DaCosta, who came to the U.S. at the age of 12, is a foundation and lifetime member of the Wembley Athletic Club, formerly one of the top cricket organizations in New York. He has made some useful contributions to the development of the sport in the area by serving in several positions in the New York Cricket League, which included Vice-President and Trustee.
During the program presidential awards were handed out to Maurice G. Lindsay, a radio and television host in Springfield, Massachusetts, and Bishop Michael Mitchell Sr., pastor and founder of King’s Chapel Church of God. Certificate of Appreciation Award went to David J. Jorgensen, Chairman of the Board of the Police Athletic League (PAL) of Hartford for the outstanding contributions that he is making in the community. Sgt. Louis Luiz, Supervisor of PAL, who was absent at the ceremony, also was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation by Hall of Fame’s director George Steir on the following Tuesday at the gym where the program takes place.
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