The world renowned Marylebone Cricket Club is touring the Cayman Islands this week and local fans are excited about the visit of such highly esteemed company.
Captained by Roland Horridge, the London-based team will have in its lineup the likes of former Test player Gavin Hamilton and several former first-class players, including Stephen Henderson and Richard Young. MCC will also bring experienced umpire John Holder to pass on tips.
MCC is one the world’s oldest cricket clubs, founded in 1787, based at the acknowledged home of the sport, Lord’s Cricket Ground in St. John’s Wood. Steeped in cricket history and tradition, MCC was formerly the sport’s governing body in England and Wales as well as worldwide.
Horridge said: “I have never been to the Caymans before. As someone in the departure lounge of his cricket career, I’m looking forward to visiting a new country – by all account a beautiful one – in a different part of the world, meeting some new people and having the privilege of representing the MCC and playing cricket at the same time.
“We haven’t toured the Caymans since 2003. We would normally make a return visit much earlier, and I have no idea why we have not been back within that time frame,” he added. “If, when we leave our hosts feel that the tour has been of benefit to them also, that will be a worthwhile legacy. It is important MCC does whatever it can to help smaller cricket nations in their quest to improve within the International Cricket Council structure.” The tourists arrive on Tuesday and have a full itinerary from the following day when they coach local talented youths at the Smith Road Oval in George Town.
Local players like Marlon Bryan, Ricardo Roach, Darren Cato, Kervin Ebanks, Ronald Ebanks, Omar Willis and Zachary McLaughlin, who all aspire to play at the pro level, will treat this visit as a steep learning curve. Experienced players like Franklin Hinds will be involved, too.
Theo Cuffy is technical director of the Cayman Islands Cricket Association. He said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for us.
“The fact that MCC will be giving coaching tips too helps and also the clinics for the youngsters,” he said. “This will be a tremendous boost to our development.”
Umpire John Holder said: “This will be my first visit to the Caymans which is eagerly anticipated. As someone from the Caribbean who is a keen traveller, it gives me to see a part of the region which I have never seen before. Additionally I am looking forward to passing on some of my extensive experience of umpiring to those in the Caymans who are interested in hearing.
“MCC is dedicated to promoting cricket worldwide and this is one of the aims of this tour.”
Lawrence Smith is totally immersed in Cayman cricket. He is an occasional player, umpire and groundsman at Smith Road Oval.
“Because the MCC is coming we have had a lot of work, but when you know what you’re doing it seems to be easy,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to the tour.
“I hope MCC can pass on their experience to the young Caymanian guys and really learn something from them.”