Coaches Winston Smith (right) and Michael Hyles-Franco (left) strike a pose with the participants prior to the start of the academy on Monday morning at the Area H ground (Photo: Avenash Ramzan)
By Avenash Ramzan
The Area H ground was a hive of activity on Monday morning when the Rose Hall Town Youth and Sports Club (RHTY&SC) commenced its 16th annual cricket academy with 50 young aspiring cricketers, including two females, being part of the two-week activity.
The RHTY&SC has teamed up with Trinidad Cement Limited (TCL), who is on board for the second successive year, to stage the academy, which will focus on the basics of cricket, among other areas.
While coaches Winston Smith, Michael Hyles-Franco and Renwick Batson will centre on instilling the fundamentals of cricket to the youngsters, other resource personnel will lecture the youngsters on a series of important topics, including HIV/AIDS, drug abuse, history of cricket, importance of education and personal hygiene.
Sessions are being held from 09:00h to 14:00h each day. The academy, which will conclude next Friday with the presentation of certificates, has attracted youths from Rose Hall Town and surrounding areas.
Secretary/CEO of the RHTY&SC, Hilbert Foster, in an invited comment, said the academy has served the club, Berbice, Guyana and by extension West Indies cricket well since its inception several years ago.
He said the activity has recorded tremendous success over the past decade and a half, moulding several raw talents into quality players.
Among the leading players who passed through the programme are Test batsman Assad Fudadin, West Indies ODI all-rounder Royston Crandon, wicketkeeper/batsman Delbert Hicks, West Indies female cricketers Shemaine Campbell and Erva Giddings, and national youth players Clinton Pestano, Dominic Rikhi and Shawn Perriera.
Meanwhile, at the launch of the academy last month, Plant Manager at TCL, Mark Bender, said his company, when approached by Foster, did not hesitate to come on board for the second year in a row.
His company has invested $200,000 into the activity and the sum would be used for the purchase of cricket balls, paying coaches, refreshments and stationery during the event.
Bender said TCL Guyana Inc. embraces the idea of using cricket as a medium to tackle social ills, noting that by doing such, the RHY&SC is playing an active role in shaping a better society.
The plant manager added that by encouraging youngsters to participate in the academy, the club is subtly driving them away from a life of crime and unwholesome activities.