By Brandon Corlette
The word ‘busy’ usually conjures up images of activities taking place in metropolises, and even in the capital city of Georgetown in relation to the traffic. By contrast, the ancient county of Berbice gets ‘busy’ when cricket season gets underway.
Under the Hilbert Foster-led administration, the Berbice Cricket Board (BCB) has been engaging in non-stop cricket activities, and cricket in Berbice remains at its peak. Of the eight Guyanese drafted into the Guyana Amazon Warriors (GAW) squad, five of them unsurprisingly are from Berbice: Shimron Hetmyer, Romario Shepherd, Anthony Bramble, Veerasammy Permaul and Clinton Pestano. And before any of these players had gone on to play cricket at a higher level, they had all played matches that were organised by the Berbice Cricket Board (BCB) at some point under its perpetual cricket season.
Hetmyer, the lone Guyanese in the West Indies World Cup squad, had, at the beginning of the year, led the Young Warriors Cricket Club to a First Division title against the Rose Hall Town Gizmos and Gadgets team in the BCB/Ivan Madray 100 Ball First Division competition. Pestano and Shepherd have also played First Division cricket, for Rose Hall Town and Tucber Park respectively; and the Albion Cricket Club duo of Bramble and Permaul have also been frequent members of their First Division teams when they are not playing Regional cricket.
With continuous cricket being played and developmental programmes seemingly always ongoing, the BCB has, over the years, produced unique players who have done Guyana proud. Young players Kevlon Anderson and Kelvin Umroa have earned selection for the West Indies U-19 Team, and National teammates Alex Algoo and Junior Sinclair are coming through the ranks and making a name for themselves in dominating the junior levels.
Berbice has not completed victory in all its inter-county tournaments in 2019, but its players keep attaining selection to represent Guyana at any level. The Tremayne Smartt-led Berbice female team have been winners of their inter-county titles, and eight Berbicians have been in the Guyana senior female team.
Only one Guyanese is currently in the West Indies Women’s team, Shemaine Campbelle; who has excelled at cricket thanks to the exposure she gained from playing with the males in numerous Berbice tournaments.
The U-15 level has seen future West Indies U-16 prospects Rampertab Ramnauth of Port Mourant Cricket Club and Isai Thorne from Rose Hall, Canje showing great promise. These youngsters are the products of the great amount of cricket being played in Berbice and the developmental programmes being put in place.
All junior BCB cricketers are given opportunity to participate in programmes such as batting clinics, where CWI level three coaches Julian Moore and Winston Smith take charge. The resources are never short, as past and present National and International players Devandra Bishoo, Shimron Hetmyer and Andre Percival often give the youths invaluable advice on the game of cricket.
There are so many star players at all levels in Berbice cricket who have progressed nicely. Kevin Sinclair, an Academy player, is also a promising Berbician who is seeking opportunity at the senior Regional level.
There are many players from Berbice in the limelight, but there is yet very little inter-county and even Regional cricket being played.