July 7, 2007


Cuba's cricket uprising

Will Luke

It was over a year ago that we reported a cricket resurgence in Cuba and, according to yesterday’s Guardian, the movement continues unabated following the news that Cuba would join 19 other teams for the month-long Stanford 20/20 tournament to be held in January 2008.

Leona Ford was born in 1943, in Guantanamo. She is a second-generation Cuban; her father Leonard Ford came to the Cuban sugar plantations from Barbados. Leonard was the founder of the Guantanamo Cricket Club.

"The club meetings were held at my home, and when I was little I used to hear about it a lot. There were cricket photographs all over the house," Leona remembers now. After a lifetime spent working as an English professor, she decided to write a history of Cuban cricket in her retirement. The details above are only widely available because of her work. She was increasingly drawn towards the idea of re-establishing the game.

In 1998 she presented a paper on the subject at the annual meeting of the West Indian Welfare Association. In the crowd was a man named Sir Howard Cooke. Cooke was Governor General of Jamaica. What was more, he had captained one of the Jamaican teams that had visited Guantanamo CC in 1955, and remembered playing against Leona's father.

Read the full, fascinating article.


Will Luke is assistant editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Will Luke
Assistant editor Will opted against a lifetime of head-bangingly dull administration in the NHS, where he had served for two years. In 2005 came a break at Cricinfo where he slotted right in as a ferociously enthusiastic tea drinker and maker, with a penchant for using "frankly" and "marvellous". He also runs The Corridor, a cricket blog where he can be found ranting and raving about all things - some even involving the sport. He is a great-great nephew of Sir Jack Newman, the former Wellingtonian bowler who took two wickets at 127 apiece for New Zealand.

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