Cayman Islands cricket teams in the future will be able to hold their heads high because the best youths are developing into fine players.
Another sport decimated by Hurricane Ivan, schools cricket has been ignored until now.
Cayman Under-15s took on their Bahamian equivalents in a three-match series last week and handled the visitors with ease.
In the first game, played at the Smith Road Oval, Bahamas scored 61 all out and Cayman knocked up the runs easily to win by four wickets. Cayman players were mostly drawn from private schools for that match.
The next day, at the same venue Bahamas, who were technically better batsman but could not take the pace of the Cayman bowling, were dismissed for a mere 43 runs. Cayman won again by four wickets with a side this time drawn mostly from public schools.
In the final game, at the Jimmy Powell Oval, West Bay, the match was more competitive because it ran to two innings. Cayman amassed 159 runs.
In a nail-biting finish, Bahamas couldn’t quite reach the run tally needed in the final over and lost by five runs.
Star of the game was Cayman’s Giovanni Bush, 14, who smashed 52 runs in the second innings. He said: ‘Cricket is a family tradition and if I can, I wouldn’t mind being a full-time pro when I grow up. I’ve scored 213 this season now. Our coaches were good and helped us a lot. I love baseball, rugby and tennis too, but cricket’s my favourite.’
Also in the runs was Kody Bergstrom, who scored a steady 18. Like Bush, he hadn’t played much since Ivan and relished the chance to get international competition. ‘It feels good to beat Bahamas,’ he said. ‘I enjoy baseball, skateboarding, wave surfing, football as well and cricket is my favourite along with skateboarding.’ Kody got into cricket through his uncle John who is an avid West Indies fan. Both batsmen attend St Ignatius School.
Huge praise must go to Cayman coach Andy Myles who overseers the Under-19s as well. He said: ‘These boys have only been playing a short time and can only get better. I was pleased to see them doing so well and credit must go to not only Giovanni who got the best batsman’s award, but also Daegon McLaughlin (son of Alden, the Minister of Sport) and Payton White, who was the best fielder.’
The team’s technical director, Theo Cuffy, said: ‘By the third day we saw their confidence developing. They’ve still got a lot to learn, like not playing across the line and their running between wickets is still hesitant, but they’re improving.’