A former Guyana cricket official has written an excellent book on the history of Berbice cricket. The classic publication highlighting events from 1939 to present day would be available at month end when the Berbice Cricket Board (BCB) launches its 75th anniversary celebrations at Rose Hall on the Corentyne.
Mortimer George, who was involved in Berbice cricket for five decades did an excellent job in publishing 75 years of Berbice Cricket: The Diamond Jubilee. It is his third on cricket in the ancient county. Its scope is extremely wide covering groundsmen, coaches, administrators, players, domestic cricket, inter-county tournaments as well as international games.
He highlights the18 Berbicians who have played Test cricket from John Trim in 1948 to the most recent,Veerasammy Permaul (2010) and he gives details of the outstanding players Rohan Kanhai, Basil Butcher, Joe Solomon, Roy Fredericks, Alvin Kalicharran, Ivan Madray, Leonard Baichan, and others, as well as the administrators including the first President Duncan McGregor Stewart, and other long serving presidents including Lennox Phillips, Leslie Amsterdam, Ancel Hazel, ‘Crod’ Ramanand and others.
He also highlights the secretaries. I was among them – being the youngest – who assisted in fighting the British Guiana (Guyana) Cricket Board for more representation from Berbice on the Board. George writes about the injustice and discrimination suffered by Berbicians to gain selection in the national side and highlights the important role Clyde Walcott, and Robert Christiani played in the 1950s and early 1960s, touching on the lows and highs, defeats and ultimate victories of the BCB during the 75-year period. Professor Winston Mc Gowan who wrote the Foreword described George’s work as the most informative publication on a major aspect of Guyana cricket including women’s cricket, under 19 cricket and the various local cup competitions – Davsons Cup, first division cricket, Flood Cup, Kawall Cup, and the inter-county tournaments.
The book features what is described as the ‘Phenomenal Five Best Cricketers from British Guiana’ with four of them from Port Mourant estate – Kanhai, Butcher, Solomon and Madray – and the fifth, Lance Gibbs, from Georgetown. They all made their Test debut between 1957 and 1958, within an amazing short period of 19 months, with two of them going on to become the best in the world.
They were all inducted into the BCB Hall of Fame along with Lloyd Andrews/Benjamin. administrators Amsterdam, Phillips, Hazel, Vic Umraow and Mortimer George, the author.
The current President of the BCB is Keith Foster who has been in office since 2009. He and executive members of the Board, including Public Relations Officer Hilbert Foster, First Vice President Anil Beharry and Secretary Angela Haniff are working extremely hard in planning a 30 day programme to mark the 75th anniversary celebrations starting on August 31 with a dinner and presentation ceremony.
The former Test players and executive members are expected to attend.