Newcomer Hooper looking to grab opportunity
By Avenash Ramzan
Newcomer Eon Hooper is looking to grasp his opportunity should he debut for Guyana Jaguars on Friday in the opening round of the West Indies Cricket Board’s Professional Cricket League Four-day competition.
He is one of three spinners in the squad to face the Jamaica Scorpions at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence. The others are left-arm spinners Veerasammy Permaul and Gudakesh Motie.
Hooper, a slimly built right-arm off-spinner, was the leading wicket-taker in the first-ever Jaguars Franchise League Three-day tournament held this year, claiming 44 wickets for Upper Corentyne. He returned an astonishing five five-wicket hauls in seven games, including a best of 6-46 against Georgetown.
He followed up with a five-wicket haul in the Four-day warm-up game at the Everest ground prior to the selection of the Guyana Jaguars squad.
Although he was not in the original 13-man squad, Hooper, the cousin of former Guyana and West Indies Carl Hooper, gained the selectors nod after leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo was called up to West Indies duties with the one-day squad for the Tri-Nation series in Zimbabwe.
“I feel happy about it [being called up]. I have always looked forward for this to happen and now that I have the opportunity, I plan to make full use of it,” Hooper told News Room on the eve the match on Thursday.
The 25-year Hooper, who has been around senior cricket for a number of years, but surprisingly has never represented Guyana at the regional youth level, said he worked overtime at his home club, the Rose Hall Town Youth and Sports Club, to master the art of off-spin, something he said has now brought him the rewards of a place on the Guyana team.
“I just went home after each match [in the Jaguars Franchise League] and work hard on my game. I tried to continue hitting a spot using some cones in doing some spot bowling, and it paid off in the end,” Hooper revealed.
Hooper’s success did not come through a solo effort, but by having a very supportive network of persons who are constantly encouraging and motivating him to aim high. His goal is to make all those persons proud, as he sits on the brink of being the club’s next national cricketer.
He pointed out that Secretary/CEO of the Rose Hall Town Youth and Sports Club, Hilbert Foster, has played a pivotal role in keeping him grounded and motivated over the years, and he is forever grateful to him for his unwavering support.
“He would always talk to me and encourage me along and I want to thank him very much for that,” Hooper said.
Should Hooper make his debut for Guyana on Friday, he will become the seventh cricketer to represent the club in senior regional cricket, following in the footsteps of brothers Esaun and Royston Crandon, Assad Fudadin, Andre Percival, Delbert Hicks and Rajiv Ivan.
Meanwhile, the Patron, management and members of Guyana’s leading youth and sports organisation, the Rose Hall Town Youth and Sports Club, M.S., have extended heartfelt congratulation to Hooper on his call-up to the Guyana senior team.
See excerpts of the message below.
“The entire club would like to salute Eon Hooper on his well-earned selection and wish him well in the upcoming tournament. The 25-year-old all-rounder joined the RHTY&SC, M.S., in 2003 at the tender age of 12 years and over the years has represented the club at all levels.
Eon started his cricketing career as an opening batsman and part-time off-spinner. Over the years he successfully led the RHTY&SC Under-17, Under-19 and Under-23 to championship honours. In 2015, he was named as one of the top 25 cricketers produced by the club when it celebrated its Silver Jubilee celebration and has also won numerous awards at our annual awards ceremony.
Hooper is the fifth fully produced RHTY&SC, M.S., cricketer and the seventh overall to be selected to play for the national senior team. The others are Esaun Crandon, Assad Fudadin, Royston Crandon, Delbert Hicks, Rajiv Ivan and Andre Percival.
We at the club are very proud of the unbelievable success we have made in our short history and with upcoming cricketing stars like Kevin Sinclair, Kevlon Anderson, Junior Sinclair, Keith Simpson, Sylus Tyndall and Brandon Corlette we are confident that our cricketing legacy would continue in the future.
The management of the club would like to remind Eon that our success over the years has been due to a simple, but proven formula of sheer hard work, personal discipline, faith in the god we serve and dedication.
It is our hope that he would continue to follow the formula and make us proud when given the opportunity to play. Congrats and we are very proud of you.”