Cyprus Cricket Takes Shape
The Cyprus Cricket Association has recently set its stall out to develop into one of the leading Affiliate nations in Europe thanks to the energy and vision of its new Chairman (Steve Carr) and his newly elected steering committee, which involves 10 people from different backgrounds all of whom have the best interests of Cyprus Cricket at heart. They are tasked with forming a Cyprus Cricket Board involving interested parties, and formulating short-, medium-, and long-term Development Plans that sit alongside a simple constitution & committee structure, as well as a business plan to incorporate financial needs to grow the game and a personnel plan to support the need for administrators, players and coaches. They will also progressively activate and revisit the areas of military facilities v civilian facilities, adult cricket and touring teams, Cypriot-based youth development, media relations and core training needs. The first steps have already been taken and further information can be found on the Cyprus Cricket website at www.cypruscricket.com. The last CCA AGM also agreed a number of initiatives including the running of an Introductory Coaching Course, investigations into the feasibility of playing cricket at the Elias Beach Hotel and Country Club Grounds, the formation of a weekend Cricket League with possible sponsor and, the hosting of a major European cricket event in the near future. With this in mind the European Development Program agreed for Richard Cox to revisit the country to help in these aspirations and support a programme of activity which will cover the next 12 months as the first stage of the Development Plan
Introductory Coaching Course
Cyprus recorded its wettest ever January since records began 100 years ago, so it was with great relief that the Cyprus Cricket Association watched the storm clouds clear just in time for the weekend of 7-8 February - the date of the Introductory Coaching Course to be held on the excellent sports fields on the British Forces Military Base at Happy Valley, Episkopi.
The two-day (12-hour) course, run by European Development Program coach Richard Cox, was held at Happy Valley near Akrotiri as a first stage of building the coaching base on the island. The timetable allowed the 16 candidates to understand Cyprus’s status within European cricket and get an understanding of the European coaching programme that lies ahead if they are to progress the indigenous Cypriot youngsters within cricket. This was followed by a series of group coaching sessions on batting (grip, stance, backswing and step; forward and back defence; the drive off front and back foot; and the pull shot), bowling (grips plus five basic bowling positions including the run-up and bound; side-on and front-on actions as well as a discussion on mixed actions; off and leg spin), fielding (attacking and defensive; catching) and wicketkeeping. All of these drills and routines were backed up with games and a series of resource packs to reinforce knowledge.
The course was well attended by 16 eager fledgling coaches who were a mixture of military personnel and local residents. The participants were unanimous in their praise for the fun way the course was presented, with participation in various games making it a strenuous but enjoyable way to learn how to pass on cricket skills to young people. The CCA’s new coaches will soon have the opportunity to put their new skills to good use as this year’s youth cricket in Cyprus is due to start in March. Over 100 youngsters have taken part in previous years, and it is hoped that this year’s sessions will be equally well attended. Unfortunately Cyprus will be without one of the coaches during the summer months due to a posting to Basra - could this lead to the start of cricket in Iraq?!
Thirteen of the participants have agreed to help with the Youth Development programme at Happy Valley, whilst the 3 Larnaca-based coaches will seek to replicate a programme locally. Perhaps more interestingly, many of the coaches expressed a desire to convert their 12 hours of work into a formal qualification ie some 10 further hours leading to an assessment and ECB/ECC Level 1 status thus putting things on a firmer footing for the future.
Elias Beach Hotel and Country Club
On a separate visit to the Limassol area, Richard Cox and Steve Carr took the opportunity to meet up with General Manager Christian Onoufriou at the site to inspect the facilities and put plans into motion. Christian Onoufriou, although a Greek Cypriot by birth, spent much of his formative years in the UK where Cricket was very much part of his sporting diet. His return to Cyprus to become involved in the family business means that he can devote more time to developing the sporting facilities 5km north of the hotel site. The proposed venture involves converting a grassed polo training area surrounded by an oval sand horse-training track into a cricket field with a Flicx Pitch or ultimately non-turf pitch in the centre. The Flicx pitch is already on site together with a roller and a part-built brick structure. Set in outstanding scenery alongside the Olympic Equestrian and Rifle Centre for Cyprus, and close to quality football pitches used by top European teams, this site is definitely worthy of greater cricket time and investment. Christian has also been appointed to the steering committee for Cyprus Cricket and therefore holds great hopes for this to be developed for indigenous Cypriots as well as touring teams. Initial discussions have centred around a Cricket Festival for European Spirit of Cricket Weekend on 1-2 May, which will involve local youngsters for coaching and a six-a-side tournament, as well as providing an opportunity to invite Government and sports representatives to discuss the project and to broaden the profile of Cyprus Cricket.
Weekend Cricket League
Further to the proposals set out in the initial report in 2003 Richard Steenhuis has manfully taken on the role of organising the 2004 league with help from fellow committee member Debbie Beasley. It is proposed that the League will start mid- April running through to September although it is possible to play outside of the traditional Northern Hemisphere “season”. The league is likely to comprise teams from Nicosia (2 - Americanos CC and Springboks CC), Limassol (3 – Moufflons CC, Himalayan CC and WSBA CC), Agias Nikalaos (1 – ESBA CC ) and Larnaca (2 – Civillians CC and Inter College CC). Already McDonald’s (Limassol) has shown interest in becoming a sponsor of Cyprus Cricket and the new league is due to be discussed with them along with youth initiatives and the European Spirit of Cricket Weekend.
Hosting a Major Cricket Event
Although Cyprus receives touring teams from time to time, it was felt that an event of “significance” is needed to place the country on the cricketing map. Whilst being aware of the emerging nature of the Committee and the associated playing programme, Cyprus Cricket is considering offering to host the European Management and Administration Seminar in 2005, using the links with the Elias Beach Hotel, which has ample conference and banqueting facilities and would no doubt prove to be a more-than-attractive venue to Europe’s cricketing fraternity!
Richard Cox was delighted with the progress achieved since his previous visit: “It has now been my privilege to work in 9 European countries and Cyprus definitely has what it takes to develop the game – facilities, enthusiasm from the indigenous population, an emerging infrastructure and financial plans and most of all sunshine – keep a close eye on the jewel in the European crown!”