While it is obvious that many clubs in Guyana have produced outstanding cricketers, such as Albion in Berbice and the Georgetown Cricket Club (GCC) in Demerara, I must recognize the little village of Reliance on the Essequibo Coast that perhaps has created history in producing the most national cricketers in a single village at various levels.
My interest in highlighting the village has arisen from reading Colin Croft’s regular articles, in one of which he glowingly wrote about the famous village of Unity on the East Coast of Demerara that produced the likes of himself, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Chetram Singh and President Jagdeo. The article was in recognition of Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s feat of becoming the most capped West Indian player.
It is a fact that Essequibo has not been a dominant force in cricket despite the abundance of rich talent. This, however is in contrast to the village of Reliance which has a population of approximately six hundred residents and is situated to the south of the Essequibo Coast. Indeed the residents can feel a real sense of pride and nostalgia in what the village has achieved.
The list is spearheaded by the current national under 19 captain Ronsford Beaton who has already gone on to play first-class cricket and whose name will soon be synonymous with the Senior West Indies team. Preceding his exploits were Balchand Shivambar, Rovendra Parasram and Lawrence Farnum at the under 15 level, followed by Rovindra Mandohlall, Shivanandan Mandohlall and Mahendra Boodram at the under 19 level. While Clain Williams was unfortunate not to have played for Guyana, he has for the United States of America and toured Dubai in 2009.
The same can be said of Alfred Maycock, the elegant left-hander whose heroic 94 against Colin Croft at Hampton Court is still talked about today. He played for a representative Guyana team in 1978 against the visiting Pakistan Airline team, thus qualifying him for national status. Others migrating include Mahendra Boodram who has now qualified to play for Suriname and will have the opportunity to feature on the international stage as Suriname prepares for qualification, while Lawrence Farnum continues his trade on the English circuit with plausible success. And to describe it all there is Ravindra Mandohlall who has represented Guyana in the commentary box and also with the pen for various newspapers. He has now migrated to Canada but has left an indelible mark on his village and country. Ironically though, the Reliance cricket ground is unplayable at the moment because of neglect, and so countless youths are defenceless although they are yearning for a positive direction.
The story of Reliance is indeed a significant piece of history that perhaps the Essequibo Cricket Board can reflect upon and try to replicate, so that many more national athletes can surface from different villages once there is a willingness to explore the untapped resources of what is the largest county in Guyana.
The proud village of Reliance has paved the way for our recognition globally and should stand as a catalyst for the county’s emergence as a future cricketing force.