Grab your wickets and head to the pitch: The third Central America Cricket Championships are coming to town next month.
The Los Reyes Polo Club grounds near La Guácima de Alajuela, northwest of San José, will host the tournament, which will run from April 4 to 6 and feature national teams from Belize, Mexico, Panama and El Salvador, as well as Costa Rica.
“That’s quite something,” says Costa Rica Cricket Association (CRCA) President Richard Illingworth of the tournament, which CRCA is putting together on its own, with some assistance from the International Cricket Council (ICC). The tournament will be “ICC-friendly, following most council rules and employing council umpires,” Illingworth says, but won’t follow the usual sevenyear residency qualification restrictions.
“There’s a large expat presence,” explains Illingworth, who has lived in Costa Rica for 25 years.
Host countries have traditionally done well in past Central America championships. Belize, a former British colony, hosted and won the first championship in 2006, while Mexico did the same in 2007.
Cricket has a long history in Costa Rica. It first emerged in the late 1800s among Jamaican immigrant railroad workers in the Caribbean province of Limón, and flourished there between 1910 and 1940 among workers of the United Fruit Company before “petering out” during World War II, Illingworth says.
At the turn of the 21st century, Illingworth and a group of fellow cricket aficionados set about to revitalize the game (TT, Oct. 15, 2004).
“We’re trying to restore it to its former position,” he says.
Costa Rica joined the ICC in 2002 as an affiliate member, and now has several club teams throughout the country.
For more information about the upcoming championship or cricket in Costa Rica, contact Illingworth at 2268-2903, CRCA Secretary Penny Houghton at 8320-0823, or event manager Sam Arthur at 8858-3097.