June 6, 1999

Havana International CC set up as cricket returns to Cuba

Competitive cricket was played regularly in Cuba before the Revolution, by both expatriate teams and by the extensive Jamaican community who had migrated to work in the sugar industry in the 1920's

Competitive cricket was played regularly in Cuba before the Revolution, by both expatriate teams and by the extensive Jamaican community who had migrated to work in the sugar industry in the 1920's. By 1980, all activity had stopped apart from casual games at village level by the Jamaicans and by 1990 even this had expired due to lack of equipment and pitches.

In September 1995, a touring team from the United Kingdom - the Old Bedfordians - from Fleet Street, requested a game through contacts of Richard Bebbington, Honorary Consul of Finland to Cuba. As a result, a Havana International Cricket Club was founded, drawing on players from diplomatic missions and the few foreign business and press people.

The pitch was improvised in a baseball stadium and persistent rain during the game made it a lottery, but the visitors overcame this to score a notable victory.

As a result of this, the Havana Club determined to establish a regular pitch and seek games with teams active in the Caribbean.

It has held regular games with the Village Greenies, from the neighbouring island of Grand Cayman.

This team also generously donated key equipment and the H.I.C.C. has been able to practice, albeit irregularly, as the sports stadium where it plays has been under extensive restoration.

The H.I.C.C. has also hosted a team representing the British High Commission in Jamaica.

The club's record to date is: Games played 10, Won 2, Lost 8, Draws 0.

The player strength varies depending on the vagaries of diplomatic postings etc., however the HICC has hopes of incorporating some of the young Cuban/Jamaican youngsters who it has helped get started in the game in Havana.

They are being actively supported by the recently opened Jamaican Embassy and the H.I.C.C. hopes that cricket will re-establish itself in Cuba, to provide an alternative to the omnipresent baseball, the Cuban national game.