Bridgetown, Barbados – The Digicel Grassroots Cricket Programme has taken root in Barbados and several participants are reaping the enormous benefits.
The members of the Isolation Cavaliers Club and the Alfallah Academy have been part of the outreach programme and have seen the sport grow in just a short period of time.
Kevin Vaughan, President of Isolation Cavaliers, and Mohmad Pandor, Head of Alfallah, have both said big "thank yous" to Digicel and the West Indies Cricket Board for the visionary development programme.
The two Barbadian club administrators were joined by members of their organisations at Kensington Oval as they watched the West Indies and India play in the Second Digicel Test. They also got the opportunity to interact with the players on both sides.
Isolation Cavaliers is a small, community-based club in the rural village of Lakes in the parish of St Andrew, on the north-east coast of the island. They are presently leading their zone in the Intermediate Division of the Barbados Cricket Association’s 2011 season. The club has produced two First Class cricketers – Dale Richards, the right-handed opener who played three Tests for West Indies, and Jonathan Carter, the Barbadian left-handed middle-order batsman.
Earlier this year the club was one of the beneficiaries of financial aid through the Digicel Grassroots Programme. The funds went towards improving training facilities and other infrastructure.
"The people at Isolation Cavaliers are extremely thankful to the Digicel Grassroots Programme for the assistance. We are a closely-knit, thriving club, we take great pride in what we do and everyone has a passion for the game of cricket," Vaughan said.
"It was also great that we could get a chance to interact and rub shoulders with Manager Richie Richardson and other members of the West Indies team. That was great and I really enjoyed it."
Alfallah, is based in Bridgetown, and do most of their training at the Passage Road Ground in the City. Pandor has developed a comprehensive coaching programme for close to 50 players in Under-13, Under-15 and Under-17. They train every Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm.
"The players are very keen and they are always excited to play cricket. Before, it was hard to get balls and equipment, but now with the funding from the Digicel Grassroots Programme we are better able to do a lot more and things have been coming along very well," Pandor said.
"We came to watch every day of the match and we had a great time. The boys have dreams of playing for West Indies and they were happy to meet and talk to the players of the West Indies and India teams."