‘Help Berbice cricket’, Devers urges

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Former national Under-19 and Berbice Inter-county off-spinner Sean Devers is encouraging other former Berbice players to contribute to cricket in his adopted county.

Devers, who represented Demerara at youth level and both Demerara and Berbice in senior cricket, on Sunday last made a donation of a pair of pads and gloves to 14-year-old Berbice Under-15 batsman Chandra Saffie.

Saffie, who lives in Blairmount on the West Bank of Berbice, is a right-handed batsman and has been selected in the 20-man national Under-15 squad preparing for next month Regional tournament in Jamaica.

“I have had the honour to represent Berbice by virtue of playing for Bermine and I wanted to make a contribution to Berbice cricket by donating cricket gear to a young player who had talent and could not afford to buy gear,” said Devers, now an International Radio Cricket Commentator and Sports Journalist.

“I asked the Berbice Under-17 Coach Andre Percival, my former Berbice team mate and Guyana Youth Selector Julian Moore, who I played with at Bermine, to help me find someone. I saw Saffie batting during his top score against Demerara on Sunday and I was told that he fitted my criteria,” Devers highlighted.     

Devers, who had a six-wicket haul when Essequibo were dismissed at Hampton Court in 1997 for the lowest total (31) ever made in Senior Inter-County four-day match, said that one of problems affecting Berbice cricket was funding for tournaments.

But with a new board he is seeing an injection of life in cricket in Berbice with many sponsors coming onboard, including former West Indies captain Ramnaresh Sarwan.

“Berbice has the most competitions in Guyana and while new President Hilbert Forster is fantastic in getting funding for cricket competitions, there are many young players with plenty of talent, but with little means of sustaining their cricket careers financially,” Devers stressed.

That is an area Devers, who had the most wickets (49) in 1997 Berbice first division season, feels needs urgent attention or else a lot of talent will go to waste.

“I grew up in a single parent home in West Ruimveldt which was described as a ghetto by some and was grateful to those who give me stuff for my cricket. Clyde Butts (Ex-West Indies off-spinner) give me my first real cricket shirt when I made the Guyana Under-19 team to go to Jamaica,” informed Devers, who played for Berbice with Test players Clayton Lambert, Mahendra Nagamootoo and Narsingh Deonarine.

Devers said that he knew that his former Bermine and Berbice teammate Luke Latiff, who now lives in Trinidad, has plans to help with uniforms and gear for Bermine while Anil Beharry, a former BCB President who Devers also played with, plans to provide some gear to the Rose Hall Canje players.    

“I will try to galvanise the help of former Berbice players living overseas to send gear for their clubs for use by the many players who can’t afford to buy gear. Being less fortunate financially should not deprive any boy or girl from living their dream of playing for their county, country or West Indies,” said the 48-year-old Devers, who survived a brain cancer surgery on October 2, 2012.     

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