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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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