Golden Oldies Cricket Festival launches
Reprinted from the Nationnews
AUSTRALIA will be leading the charge of overseas entries with 21 teams when Barbados plays host to the 2017 Golden Oldies World Cricket Festival in just a few months.
With over 600 visitors coming in from South Africa, United Kingdom, Canada, Sri Lanka, United States of America, 1 Trinidad and Tobago, Zimbabwe and New Zealand, along with the ‘Land Down Under’, just over 30 visiting teams will be going head-to-head with local XIs in 75 matches between May 7th and 14th.
With the festival being staged every two years since 1984 in places such as Adelaide and Sydney in Australia, Cape Town in South Africa, Vancouver in Canada, Birmingham in England and Auckland in New Zealand, 2017 marks the first time the event has ever come to the Caribbean. Vintage Sport and Leisure Ltd (VSL) acquired the franchise in 2008 and with a local delegation going to Cape Town in 2015, the bid for hosting this year’s festival was secured.
The second week in May will see the ‘Masters’ teams going at it on three match-days at over 20 venues across the island. With several leisure events scheduled for the off-days, one of the highlights is expected to be the special ‘Q in the Community’ at Dover on May 13th and the Finale Awards Dinner at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre which will see VSL arranging an auction with the proceeds going to a charitable organisation. They will also present gifts of cricketing equipment to the less-privileged clubs and school players.
Speaking during a media briefing held yesterday at Banks Breweries in Newton, Local Organiser Ricardo Clarke made a request to Barbadians from all walks of life to play their part in making the event a success. “The game of cricket has given us a lot to be proud of as a people. Let us welcome our Golden Oldies visitors during this week by hosting in the true Barbadian spirit and showcasing our small island which has produced more cricketers per square mile than any other nation on earth. This is a special plea for all various agencies, sponsors and cricketers of the vintage era in assisting us to showcase Barbados as a cricketing destination capable once again of hosting international events of this magnitude.” Clarke said.
Also speaking during the launch was Chairman of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. Alvin Jemmott and he drew attention to the fact that the festival, which was the biggest of its kind in the world for cricketers over the age of 35, was playing a major part in helping to pave the way forward for sports tourism in Barbados. ”This year, being dubbed the ‘Year of Sports Tourism’ for Barbados, this festival fits well into the plans of what we are doing in terms of moving our visitor numbers forward. Already discussions have begun with what we can do to bring other Golden Oldies festivals to Barbados. Such things as the Golden Oldies Hockey Festival, and though it is in the incubation stage, those discussions will heat up during this festival,” he said.
With a parade of nations expected to kick things off on May 7th at Kensington Oval, the festival will become a playground for some cricketing legends with the likes of former South Africa captain Mike Procter and former New Zealand captain Geoff Howarth among the list of those expected on-island.