25 cricketers benefit from Basil Butcher Cricket Development Programme

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Twenty-five junior cricketers drawn from six clubs on Saturday became the first recipients of cricket gear from the 2020 edition of the Basil Butcher Cricket Development Programme, organised by the 10 cricket teams of the Rose Hall Town Youth and Sports Club (RHTY&SC), MS, with support from the Berbice Cricket Board (BCB).

The players were drawn from the RHTY&SC, Albion, Port Mourant, Rose Hall Canje, Blairmont and West Berbice cricket teams. The simple presentation ceremony was done at the Area ‘H’ Ground in the presence of BCB and RHTY&SC officials and parents of the players.

Club Secretary/CEO and BCB President, Hilbert Foster, hailed the project as another red letter day in the ongoing development of Berbice Cricket and signals the commitment of both the club and Board to work beyond the call of duty to make sure that the rich tradition of the county game is kept alive.

Foster disclosed that a total of 87 players would receive a pair of cricket equipment under the project in observance of the legendary player’s 87th anniversary, which would be celebrated on September 3.

Butcher, who was born in 1933, played 44 Test matches for the West Indies, scoring 3,104 runs at an average of 43.11 with seven centuries and 16 half-centuries.

Foster, who was accompanied by BCB Assistant Secretary Ameer Rahaman, BCB Public Relations Officer Simon Naidu and executives of the RHTY&SC, MS, urged the attentive players to emulate the hard work, dedication and positive attitude of the late Butcher.

The BCB President spoke widely of the importance of education, faith in God and discipline. A clearly emotional Foster also urged the players to reject racism and to be the agents of change in Guyana.

The young players were told that the two organisations were committed to investing in their future, but they would have to take advantage of the opportunities given to them.

He stated that the coronavirus has curtailed a lot of the BCB plans for 2020, including at least 20 tournaments, a professional first division league, numerous coaching programmes including a cricket academy and personal developmental sessions.

Despite the pandemic, the two organisations have successfully completed several programmes including sharing out 2,500 food hampers, donating face masks and cleaning items across the county. The BCB has also been quite busy hosting its annual Mother of the Year, Father of the year award programmes, while clubs have benefited from donations of cricket balls, cricket gear, scorebooks, youth information booklets among other items.

Additionally, the BCB has used the break period to obtain a second sponsorship for a two-day first division tournament, which would start as soon as the Banks DIH sponsored tournament is completed.

The board has also acquired its own pitch covers and would shortly receive a second coaching set for its coaches from an overseas-based Berbician. Foster expressed disappointment that over the last three decades, former players and officials who now reside overseas have forgotten their roots and the game that had made them household names.

He stated that giving back to society is one of the best things that a human can have and urged the former players to get on board the development train in the Ancient County.

BCB Public Relationship Officer and RHTY&SC Assistant Secretary/CEO, Simon Naidu, who is overseeing the project, stated that over the next month, another 62 youths would receive cricket gear, while food hampers, 100 gallons of cleaning detergents, bicycles, scorebooks and school bags would be distributed to clubs, schools, Town Councils and Government institutions like police stations, post offices and fire stations.

The two organisations would like to express thanks to all the donors of the Basil Butcher GoFundMe account and others like Bissoondyal Singh, former national player Sheik Mohamed, Papie Jafarally, Kevin Sinclair, Poonai Bhigroog, C and K Pharmacy, Dennis Deroop, Hand in Hand Insurance, Roland Williams, Deonarine Shane and national player Guadakesh Motie.

A special visit would also be made to Linden where Butcher lived most of his adult life to hand over gear and bicycles to youths.

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