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Of dentists and dancing girls

When the suggestion of spending a day in the Trini Posse Stand arose, this particular rover accepted the challenge. It was a tough job, but someone had to do it.

Wisden CricInfo staff
by Christine Davey in Port-of-Spain
Monday, April 21, 2003
Contrary to popular belief, the daily grind of an intrepid Roving Reporter isn't all beer and skittles. We get to the ground early and leave late. We work hard, slaving over a hot laptop. And yes, we pose the questions the others are too afraid to ask. While many are content to sit in the comfort of the press box, ruminating over statistics and contentious lbw decisions, we rovers are out and about, pen and paper in hand, attempting to infiltrate cricket's dark places.
Needless to say, when the suggestion of spending a day in the Trini Posse Stand arose, this particular rover accepted the challenge. It was a tough job, but someone had to do it.
For those not familiar with Queen's Park Oval's Trini Posse, here's the lowdown. The stand is situated at square leg, and seats around 500 cricket fans. For the price of the US$30 ticket, punters receive a free T-shirt, a barrage of music, and all the food and alcohol they can consume. On designated match days, there are also local beer-sponsored dancing girls, who strut their semi-naked stuff between overs. Purists be warned. This is no place for the faint-hearted. The Trini Posse is brash, unadulterated gimmickry. But then again, that's the plan.
"Everyone has a wonderful time here," said Nigel Comacho, a local dentist who, along with eight colleagues, thought up the idea in 1991. "Numbers for Test cricket were falling, so we thought we'd add some spice. We put in a sound system, employed a DJ, introduced the dancing girls and received sponsorship. It's been building in popularity ever since."
If you're thinking this is an unusual enterprise for a dentist, you'd be right. Nigel, however, is far from the average tooth-filler. Wearing only a pair of board shorts and a lorry load of gold jewellery, he's acknowledged by all present as the Posse Stand's "main man". Even the locals appreciate his entrepreneurial spirit.
"We've been coming to the Posse for ten years," said Elone from St Vincent. "It gets a bit loud and out of control by the end of the day, but it's all in good fun. Nigel has done a great thing for Trinidad." Her friend Laverne agreed: "Today there are so many Australians, but even though we feel a bit outnumbered, we're having a wonderful time."
And outnumbered they were. The Aussies were there in force, and by 11am the excesses of the night before were wearing off. By midday, the majority were imbibing as if a hangover was an alien concept. "Does life get any better than this?" asked Kip from Newcastle (NSW), as he jiggled along with the day's 50th rendition of Rally Round The West Indies.
Not to be outdone by the ear-piercing bursts emanating from the speakers, Edward from Sydney had brought his own music. "You could never bring this into a cricket ground at home," he said, brandishing his trombone with pride. As Edward provided an almost recognisable version of the theme from F-Troop, the chants began. Cries of "Gilly", "Stevie" and "Magilla" rang out around the stand, much to the amusement of the locals.
"Australians can be strange," said Sam, who'd come dressed as Trinidad's answer to Rudolph Valentino. Swathed from head to foot in flags and scarves, he told all who would listen that counteracting heat-exhaustion was simple. "Go commando. Leave the underwear at home," he yelled over the day's 60th rendition Rally Round The West Indies.
By 3pm, the chants no longer made sense. For those present, however, sense had long since ceased to be relevant. As DJ Chris pumped up the musical volume and pace, and the Aussies waved plastic chairs in the air and sang every Cold Chisel song in existence, the police moved in.
"They're here to watch for trouble," said Port-of-Spaniard Peter Matthews, who'd successfully made wearing a blue-and-purple Dr Seuss hat a fashion statement as well as a sun-protection device. "Anyone who interrupts the flow of the game or stops enjoyment will be thrown out," he added, keeping an eye on the lads in the front row who, bored with throwing ice, were attempting to scale the fence. After a few quiet words from the boys in blue, all was forgiven. Peter smiled. "When everyone behaves themselves we all go home happy."
Everyone did go home happy. By stumps, the Trini Posse Stand may have resembled a pop festival, complete with upended chairs and semi-conscious revellers, but thanks to the good humour of participants, there hadn't been any need for the police to resort to strong-arm stuff. By 6pm, this intrepid reporter was back in the safety of the press box, slaving over a hot laptop and humming the day's 70th rendition of Rally Round The West Indies.
Christine Davey is a freelance writer based in Melbourne, Australia.