COSTA RICA CRICKET – THE LAST THIRTY YEARS

Cricket is the British national sport and has been played for more than five hundred years. Cricket is the second most played and watched sport in the World. There are 105 Cricket playing member countries in the global authority for the sport, International Cricket Council (ICC), with three levels of membership: Full (10), Associate (38) and Affiliate (57). It tends to be dominated by countries with historic ties to Great Britain, such as Australia, England, India, NZ and West Indies. Cricket World Cup dates from 1975, with Australia the current holder (2015). Women’s World Cup started in 1973, and was last won by Australia (2013). In ICC Americas Region, there are seventeen members: one Full (West Indies); six Associates (Argentina, Bermuda, Canada, Cayman Islands, Suriname and USA and ten Affiliates (Bahamas, Belize, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Falkland Islands, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Turks & Caicos). Cricket is recognised as an Olympic sport but has not competed in the Olympic Games since the Coubertin modern era Olympics in Paris in 1900, where Great Britain won the Gold, France the Silver Medal. Most famous Club is MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) founded in 1787, owner since 1814 of Lord’s ground in London the “Home of Cricket”, custodian of the Laws of Cricket, and has a waiting list for membership of 27 years.

Cricket came to Costa Rica (CR) in the 1880s with Jamaicans, building the railway from the port of Limon to the capital San José, who played it for recreation and to preserve their Caribbean culture. See our website for CR’s first Century ‘A Hundred Years of Costa Rican Cricket, 1890-1990’ by Tim Willasey-Wilsey.

Modern era CR Cricket dates from the 1980s as teams from Panama (1986), Cayman Islands (1988), New Zealand (1993) and California (2001) came to play. CR teams travelled to Panama and Nicaragua in 2002 and nationally a San José-Limon rivalry was maintained. Costa Rica Cricket Association was formed in 2000 and inscribed in the National Registry in 2003. It became Federación de Cricket de Costa Rica (Fedecric) in 2009, obtained National Representation in 2010, was awarded an office in the National Stadium and declared in the Public Interest in 2014. Cricket was recognized as an Olympic sport by the CR Olympic Committee in 2013. Fedecric has four associate members: founders Caribbean, Corsairs and Croquet & Cricket Club, joined by the Women’s Cricket Association, formed in 2014.

CR became an Affiliate member of ICC in 2002. Fedecric hosted ICC Americas Development Forum in 2005 and 2011 and has benefited from ICC technical courses at home as well as sending players to courses in the region. Individuals have received ICC Development awards and five ICC Centenary Gold Medals for Service to Cricket in 2009. Costa Rica has taken part in two official ICC Americas tournaments, as detailed below. Its overall ICC global development ranking has progressed steadily from #90 in 2011 to #72 in 2014.

The National Costa Rica Cricket League was established in 2005 with four teams, CCCCR, Corsairs, Limon and Raleigh, competing annually for the Lance Binns Cup; current holders are expansion Team Asia. League Cricket is played in Limon Province, Turrialba and the Central Valley. Costa Rica was a founder of the Central American Cricket Championships (CAC) in Belize in 2006, won by Belize with Mexico second, CR third. In 2007, 2CAC was held in Mexico, which won, with CR second, El Salvador third. 3CAC was played at Los Reyes Polo Club in Costa Rica in April 2009, where Panama, Mexico, Belize, CR and El Salvador took part, finishing in that order. 4CAC was played in 2013 at the Reforma Athletic Club in Mexico, which finished first, ahead of CR, Mexico B and guest entry Hollywood Golden Oldies. The highly successful 5CAC took place in March 2015 at Panama Pacifico International Park, eight teams finishing in the order: host Panama, guest touring team MCC, Panama A, Mexico, Peru, Costa Rica, Brasil and El Salvador. It was the biggest international cricket tournament to have been held, and the first in which MCC had competed, in Latin America. CR has also played informal matches in Colombia, El Salvador and Nicaragua. CR entered its first eligible team in 2010 in the official One-Day International, the Pepsi-ICC Americas Division 4 in Mexico City, against Falkland Islands and Mexico, which won, with CR in second. In 2011, Costa Rica was host at Los Reyes Polo Club for ICC Americas Division 3 T20 tournament, won by Belize, followed by Peru, Chile, Mexico, CR and Falkland Islands.

For the future of the sport in CR, the schools development programme has been growing exponentially, instilling cricket values, mainly in Limon the cradle of Costa Rican cricket, but also in most of the country. Since 2008, the number of schools and colleges where Cricket has been introduced, mainly by national PE instructors and now with Ministry of Education (MEP) authorisation, has increased from less than ten to more than one hundred. Boys and Girls teams competing in the annual Standford Barton inter-scholar tournaments have jumped from five to forty. The number of young people who have had a cricket experience has passed six thousand in 2014, up from fifty in 2008 and 380 in 2010. This has been achieved with funding from ICC and increasing amounts from CR sports authority ICODER, as well British Embassy backing and corporate and private sponsorship. Recent lead sponsors have also included global port developer APM Terminals, the Embassy of Trinidad & Tobago (T&T) and Bruce Burrell companies, as listed on the web site. In 2014, Fedecric received a generous donation of cricket equipment from Lords Taverners SOS Kit Aid.

An Intro & Coaching course for Limon province PE instructors was held in 2009 and replicated in 2010 as a four-day Seminar for twenty PE instructors, facilitated by MEP’s then Regional Director for Limon and delivered by then ICC Americas Regional Development Officer (RDO), Wendell Coppin. Week-long sleepover Cricket Instructional Camps, mostly financed by the British Embassy, were held at EARTH University in Limon: in 2012 for 24 youngsters, and two in 2013 first for 22 Boys, then for 18 PE teachers, all directed by RDO Coppin. In 2014, we put on our first Girls Camp at EARTH for 21 young girls, directed by Marjorie Thomas from Trinidad & Tobago, with assistance from its Embassy in CR.

From 2010 on, Fedecric has staged courses and workshops on a continuous basis in most of the country, including such institutions as Universities of Costa Rica (UCR), Nacional (UNA) and EARTH, and with support of MEP for colleges and schools in Alajuela, Cartago, Grecia, Guápiles, Heredia, Limón, Los Santos, Pérez Zeledón, Puriscal, Santa Cruz, Sarapiquí and Siquirres, reaching a high of thirty in 2014, among them attended by 400 PE teachers. Exhibitions have been given at CTP Pococi (1,200 students), in the Antonio Escarré national (U-19 Limon vs Central Valley) and Big Boy Baseball stadiums, in the National Gymnasium (U-19 and national teams) and at Limon City Hall. In 2013, Kumar Rampat, Caribbean Development Director from T&T, delivered a 3-day Basic Coaching course to 10 selected PE instructors and in 2014, ICC Americas new RDO, Tom Humphries, came to assist with development planning. Later the same year, CR Development Coordinator, after attending ICC courses in Lima, Peru, delivered an official ICC Level 1 Coaching course to five of our senior players. In May 2015, eighty people took part in the inaugural cricket Clinic of the Women’s Cricket Association in Antonio Escarré Stadium.

Our Mission is to establish Cricket as a non-traditional alternative sport to football (not to replace it) and, with continued and expanding finance, the future for Costa Rica Cricket is wide open.

For more information on Cricket in Costa Rica please visit the website: www.costaricacricket.org.
For more information on Cricket worldwide, please visit the website: www.icc-cricket.com.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cricketcostarica

 

For more information on Cricket in Costa Rica please visit the website: www.costaricacricket.org.
For more information on Cricket worldwide, please visit the website: www.icc-cricket.com.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cricketcostarica

CRICKET – CULTURE - CHARACTER

Richard Illingworth, President CRCF.                                     August 2015

CRI/280

 

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