Plans for a Caribbean Cricket Tour by the Falkland Islands Cricket Team are well underway. The 15 strong team plans to travel to Belize, Barbados and Jamaica in November and December this year.
Belize will be the first country to be visited during the Falklands Team’s 3rd International Tour (previously travelled to Mexico and Costa Rica) where the team will play the Belize National Under 19 XI and the Belize National Senior XI with Andrew Brownlee as Falklands Team Captain. The prospect of playing the Belize National Team and world class players is one that the Falklands players are relishing and are particularly excited about.
The visit to Barbados is still to be confirmed but it is hoped that the Falklands will play two local teams with Craig Paice as Falklands Team Captain.
Ian Betts (Falkland Islands Football League Chairman and long-time player for the Falklands 1st Team) will Captain the Falklands in Jamaica as they play Clarendon Masters and Jamaica Invitational Masters.
Falklands Team Manager, Steve Fowmes, explained that the idea of having three Captains was to allow more players the chance to be Captain and to share some of the responsibilities.
Cricket has a long history in the Falklands despite the fact that the Falklands Islands Cricket Association (FICA) was only founded in 2004. The Association has been affiliated to the International Cricket Council (ICC) since 2004. The outdoor league is generally played between September to April each year on the Stanley football pitch and at the Mount Pleasant Military Base. The outdoor league has just begun with the first match being played at Mount Pleasant. During the outdoor league, matches typically take place every two weeks.
In winter indoor league matches take place every week. The outdoor practice nets are used throughout the year. The team has also been taking part in circuit training in preparation for the upcoming tour.
There are approximately 40 first team players currently involved with FICA. Getting young members of the community involved is important to FICA. They were delighted that the under 16s entered their own team in the winter league. There are usually 12-15 young players in attendance at matches although on occasions there have been up to 20 players which is an excellent number in such a small community.
FICA is very keen for the junior players to continue their involvement in the club and include two juniors within the Cricket Team touring the Caribbean. A local fishing company, Fortuna Limited, is kindly sponsoring the flights and accommodation.
Travelling outside of the Falklands is expensive and a Caribbean Tour such as the one planned will not come cheap. Each player is contributing £1,200 towards their own costs and another local company, Stanley Services Limited, is sponsoring the team’s kit.
The tour will not only benefit the players involved and provide excellent PR for the Falklands but will also be a way of fundraising for a charity in each country visited. The team is aiming to raise £1,000 each for Liberty Children’s Charity in Belize, Sport For Life in Barbados and the Courtney Walsh Foundation in Jamaica. To raise this money the team plan on receiving sponsorship and undertaking a physical challenge by running, swimming, cycling and rowing the equivalent distance of the Falklands to the Caribbean. Other fundraising events such as a Caribbean themed quiz are also in the pipeline.
By Roxanne King, SeAledPR, Stanley