Photo Credit: Cricket West Indies
As the Republic Bank “Five for Fun” Cricket programme rolls closer to the County and Country Festival Finals scheduled for early March 2023, 75 primary schools from across the three counties all around Guyana continue cricket training to get their teams ready to face-off in the “Five for Fun” zonal preliminary round of matches.
The zonal preliminary matches will be started on 13 February and will run to 24 February, with five schools in each zone competing to emerge as zonal champions to secure a spot at the Republic Bank Five for Fun County Finals. The participating primary schools have been grouped into 15 zones which include Upper Corentyne, Lower Corentyne, West Berbice, New Amsterdam, Canje, Upper Demerara, East Bank Demerara, Georgetown, East Coast Demerara, West Demerara, Leguan, Wakenaam Island, South Essequibo Coast, East Bank Essequibo, South Essequibo Coast and North Essequibo Coast.
Republic Bank “Five for Fun” Cricket is part of CWI’s Future Stars Programme to introduce cricket to primary school-aged children. This new five-a-side format drives participation, activity and inclusivity with mixed teams of boys and girls.
Reon King, the former Guyana and West Indies player is the representative of Cricket West Indies (CWI) and the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) as the programme coordinator. He said:
“Over 1,000 primary school boys and girls have already been exposed to ‘Five for Fun’ cricket training enabling them the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of the game. From a cricket perspective, both CWI and GCB are excited about giving our children the opportunity to play and learn the game in fun, safe environments. From all feedback for coaches, teachers and some parents, the children are excited about the programme, and can’t wait to showcase their skills during the first stage of matches at the zonal preliminaries.
“This programme is critical to the foundation of the cricket development pathway, especially as we restart cricket post COVID-19, both recreationally and competitively in primary and secondary schools across Guyana. Since its launch in June 2022 to this point, the programme has offered over 30 existing cricket coaches the opportunity to complete refresher coaching courses, and has exposed schoolteachers to foundation level coach education training. We are extremely grateful for Republic Bank’s partnership on this initiative, with the support of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Sports to make this important initiative a reality.”
Dr. Ritesh Tularam, Deputy Chief Education Officer commented;
“The Ministry of Education is pleased to be a partner with Cricket West Indies, Republic Bank Limited and the Guyana Cricket Board on this timely cricket initiative at the primary schools’ level, which intersects and complements the Education Sector’s Plan for 2021-2025; Vision 2030. This initiative supports the plan’s core objective to ensure the well-rounded development of students through formal and informal education platforms such as sports. Cricket is one such medium, which is historic, usable, relatable, and relevant in our application to holistic education development.”
Dr Tularam continued:
“The Republic Bank Five for Fun Cricket programme will be key in allowing our children to build fundamental life skills, with the possibility of continuing their cricket craft as a career, which is something important and tangible. This is in keeping with the Honourable Minister of Education, Dr. Priya Manickchand’s vision to ensure that each child is exposed to one sport in school. We at the Ministry of Education stand committed to the programme. The school teams have been training diligently, and we can’t wait for the preliminary matches to bowl off.”
The next stage of the Republic Bank Five for Fun Cricket programme after the zonal preliminaries will be the County Festival Finals, hosted in Essequibo on Monday, 27 February, Berbice on Wednesday, 1 March and Demerara on Friday, 3 March (match venues to be confirmed).
This will be followed by the Republic Bank Five for Fun Country Festival Final hosted in Georgetown, Demerara on Monday 10 April (match venue to be confirmed). The Republic Bank Five For Fun Cricket Programme is a regional partnership between Republic Bank Limited and CWI, in collaboration with the GCB, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.