Republic Bank ‘Five for Fun’ cricket sparks interest at grassroots level
During the third One-Day International (ODI) between West Indies and Bangladesh at the National Stadium, Providence, on July 16, a number of primary school students took to the field at the innings break to display their newly learnt cricket skills acquired through the Republic Bank ‘Five for Fun’ Cricket programme.
The ‘Five for Fun programme which was launched in Guyana on June 21, is a collaboration between Cricket West Indies (CWI) and Republic Bank Limited aimed at re-engaging children in the game at the grassroots level, and encouraging fun and all-inclusive participation.
As one of the programme’s annual slated events, the ‘Five for Fun’ Interval Display saw over 100 enthusiastic young boys and girls taking the field of play at the Guyana National Stadium ground to participate in the on-field skills display, which featured the new exciting ‘Five for Fun’ format of cricket which is fast-paced, exciting and engaging.
According to a press release, the aspiring young cricketers, who showed off their skills, came from Parika Salem Primary, Christiansburg Primary, One Mile Primary, St. Aidan’s Primary, Regma Primary, Sheet Anchor Primary, Vreed-en-Hoop Primary, Leonora Primary and St. Pius Primary Schools.
CWI’s Director of Cricket stated, Jimmy Adams, stated, “through a challenging two-year period where children all over the region have been faced with the lack of recreational activity and sports, CWI is committed to ensuring that we get kids back to cricket in a safe and responsible manner.
Adams said the activities for the young children will be done in keeping with the mandate of fun, gender inclusion and inculcating a love for the game at the forefront, especially at this age group level.
“We are extremely happy and proud to partner with Republic Bank on this important initiative as we share a common goal and approach to invest in the development of children.”
The Director of Cricket further contended the activity not only gives the children a chance to see their cricket heroes in action but also the exposure of being part of an international cricket atmosphere from a young age.
Additionally, Stephen Grell, Managing Director, Republic Bank (Guyana) Limited felt “It is the first of its kind, welcoming a notable diversity of participation and positioning young cricket enthusiasts for stardom. We’re particularly heartened that this comes at a time when we’re encouraging students to return to school after such an extended time away from the classroom; and it presents an opportunity for recreational, developmental, physically invigorating activity, discipline and togetherness”.
In an invited comment, GCB President Bissoondyal Singh remarked, “the Guyana Cricket Board is pleased to partner with Republic Bank Limited and Cricket West Indies on this very important age group cricket programme, which is critical in setting a strong foundation for our national cricket development pathway in Guyana.”
“We are extremely happy to play a part in the organization and execution of this programme and also to ensure that children get an opportunity to play cricket and experience activities such as the lunchtime interval displays at international matches, like this one between the West Indies and Bangladesh. These activities afford many pupils the opportunity to showcase their talents and also to see the West Indies players who they look up to in action, including our local West Indies stars Shimron Hetmyer Gudakesh Motie, Keemo Paul, Romario Shepherd and Veerasammy Permaul. This has indeed been an awesome and memorable opportunity for the students and their accompanying teachers.”
The GCB President further commended Republic Bank for seeing the potential in talent and expressed a desire to further collaborate with the financial institution on more developmental activities for both boys and girls.
Currently, there is nationwide training of teachers and coaches in preparation for the launch of several ‘Five for Fun’ summer cricket hubs across the three counties which will host boys and girls from the programme which has in excess of 75 schools.
The ‘Five for Fun’ zonal county matches are scheduled for September to November 2022, and county final matches will follow this and a national final hosted in Georgetown.
The national execution of the ‘Five for Fun’ programme is supported by the Guyana Cricket Board, the Ministry of Education (Allied Arts Unit) and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport.