Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Our man in Bermuda 2

Sitting next to the local radio broadcaster brought back sound memories for our man in Bermuda of some of England's previous encounters in the Caribbean.

In the early 90s, I remember listening to the BBC's commentary from the Caribbean when Robin Smith faced the chin music. He usually coped instead of copping it like his England colleagues and the locals took him in as one of their own.

So sitting next to the Bermuda Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) boys when Smith walked out to bat stirred the memories of previous England encounters abroad. Here's what the BBC's cricket man Cleon Scotland had to say about the island's airwaves.

"We cover matches all over and cricket is popular on radio here such is the public's enthusiasm for the game. It's great to see some of the greats here. I was virtually in awe when Robin Smith opened the innings for England the other day.

"I'm a supporter of West Indian cricket as well, and anyone who witnessed Smith playing against them - his approach for the game, the way he went about his business - was extremely lucky. I hope he will be able to pass on some tips to the Bermudan boys while he's here as well.

"It was incredible when the team came back from Ireland after qualifying for the 2007 World Cup through the ICC Trophy - the airport was like we had won the trophy!

"Bermuda has a rich cricketing history and perhaps we are the only country in the world which takes a two-day holiday for a cricket game. The Cup Match takes place each August and has to be seen to be believed; actually it was the public which in the end forced the government to declare it a holiday.

"Tony Cozier, the veteran Caribbean commentator, covered the Cup Match in the 80s and he said afterwards that he had never seen anything like it! People rent their space and create tents, there's the crown and anchor betting game and of course the Rum.

"We have other sports on the island which we cover; international race day, the marathon, some soccer matches, but when you talk about sports broadcasting on the island, then cricket is top of the tree."


South Africa, who posted the biggest total of the week yesterday, look a good bet to win this year's trophy - and it's not just down to the players.

Clive Rice is manager and 12th man this week and has been instilling all the discipline and competitive edge which he mustered during his Nottinghamshire days. There is a fines meeting after each game and he even talked up even winning the tournament's golf day this week.

The player's wives will have to be on their guard as well. A pre-tournament advice letter about the island warned that hotel telephone calls are through the roof, there's no car hire and topless sunbathing is strictly banned.