Saturday, April 29, 2006

World Classic Final

So the inaugural Cricket Classic in Bermuda has finished.

I did a report for Cricinfo on the tournament which you can read here. Bermuda is a great destination for this kind of tournament; laid back, good facilities, warm weather but the beer is still expensive.

One of the week's highlights was the sight of Bermuda's star bowler (of spin) Dwayne Leverock. Weighing in at 19 stone he is the character of the team and will no doubt get some press come the World Cup next year, such is his stature.

I spoke to organiser and former cricketer Keith Pont throughout the tournament and all being well there will be an annual fixture for the legends. I'm not sure if I hold as much faith to be honest, even though I will be writing only positive thoughts for its future.

Anyway, read all about my week here with the posts below.

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.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Our man in Bermuda

Rod Gilmour kicks off the first installment of his Bermuda diaries by taking a look at island life, although for one Australian it hasn't been all that rosy.

Before setting off by plane from New York to the capital Hamilton on Friday, I was still unsure as exactly where Bermuda was.

It sounds distinctly Caribbean and I was always thought it an offshoot of one of the Windward Islands. But it seems my geography is not entirely useless as not even the experts can make their minds up as to where the island lies.

According to one of the island's papers, the Royal Gazette, the Encyclopaedia Britannica says Bermuda is 570 miles east of Cape Hateras, the World Almanac states 580 miles east of North Carolina, while the American Automobile Association figures it at 650 miles and 753 miles miles southeast of New York City.


April is a great time to be here if you are a sports enthusiast. The Bermuda Squash open has just been hosted, with the world's top players in attendance, while the island's tennis Open was completed today.

And SW19 may be a long way from Bermuda, but the island's distinct Britishness landed Mark Philippoussis, the Australian Scud, into trouble during the week when he turned up in a bright yellow shirt.

The Coral Beach Club's all-white policy led to some ruffled feathers although the Aussie was eventually allowed on court, after he promised to abide by club rules in the next match. He didn't need to; he lost.


Bermuda Day will be celebrated 18 days early in the UK this year when island legend and perhaps its biggest export, Shaun Goater, plays the final game of his career on 6 May.

The Goat is currently plying his trade at Southend United, with the Shrimpers final home game against Bristol City set to be a Bermuda extravaganza. The Island is flying over a traditional Gombey troupe dance band while the club will hold a best Bermudan shorts competition for the sell-out crowd.


The Get Fit Foundation, the organisers behind the World Cricket Classic, are keen to promote everything the charity's name suggests this week.

So it was with some amusement when I walked through the health village to get to the ground to overhear a family conversation. The husband, looking around at the activities, asked his slightly portly wife if she would be staying healthy today. She replied: "I'm at da cricket, and when I'm at da cricket, I want to drink my beers and eat bad food."


Spot of the day: Former England batsman Robin Smith snoozing in the pavillion prior to opening the batting against India.

The Bermuda blogs form the inaugural World Cricket Classic (for over-35s) which will run all week.