Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Charles Griffith, speaking at the launch of the training course for groundsmen, today at the National Sports Council. To the left is BCA President, Conde Riley while to the right is Head Instructor of the course, Neil Newton. (Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment)

Fifty groundsmen will participate in a training course which was officially launched today at the National Sports Council (NSC), at Blenheim, My Lord’s Hill, St. Michael.

The initiative is a partnership between the NSC and the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA).

Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Charles Griffith, speaking at the launch of the training course, noted that the initiative was part of the Ministry’s “proactive approach to ensuring that sports continue in the country”.

“I’m sure that he (Conde Riley) will be pleased to know that we will have persons on the ground who will be able to produce pitches and produce grounds that cricket should be proud of,” Minister Griffith told those gathered.

He acknowledged that government could not be expected to employ every participant, and proffered that many “may find work in [the] private sector as well”.

President of the BCA, Conde Riley, revealed that opportunities were there for the 50 participants to be employed within the Herman Griffith tournament, as there were pitches and grounds at primary schools that needed attention.

Mr. Riley continued: “We have a memorandum of understanding with Lancashire in England, and I sincerely hope that at the end of all of this, and going forward, that we will be able to have some of our people go for the experience and have some of them come to Barbados, different conditions and so on in terms of preparation.”

The BCA President also revealed that there were inquiries from other nations in terms of cricket development.  “We received a letter from the High Commissioner to Ghana, as well as Kenya and they want us to help them to develop their cricket in Africa.  So, all these are opportunities for you….  I hope you enjoy the 10 sessions; get certified and help us to continue to develop cricket in Barbados,” he stated.

NSC groundsman, Paul Spooner, said he is excited about the course, since he was never formally trained.  “It will further my knowledge on how to prepare the wicket, marking out the crease and taking care of the outfield.  I do believe it will be a good experience for people now entering into the profession,” he said.

Mr. Spooner also spoke of his expectations after completing the course.  “We can take it to another level; we can work for the [Kensington] Oval or even attend UWI. We might even be considered to start working on international pitches, or even share knowledge with people who want to learn.”

The sessions will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. every Monday and Tuesday, until July 12.

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