The International Cricket Council (ICC), the global authority of cricket, has chosen Costa Rica as the host country for the Pepsi ICC Americas Division 3 Cricket Championship, to be played March 14 to 18 at Los Reyes Polo Club near La Guácima de Alajuela, northwest of San José.
As the first official ICC tournament to be hosted by Costa Rica, “this will be the biggest event in Costa Rica’s 125 years of cricket history,” said Richard Illingworth, president of the Costa Rica Cricket Federation, the governing body for the sport of cricket here.
Six countries – Belize, Chile, Falkland Islands, Mexico, Peru and Costa Rica – will battle it out next week on Los Reyes’ expansive polo fields. Illingworth said he expects Chile to be the team to beat.
“Chile’s ICC development program for the past 10 years has been spectacular, and they have superior talent and training,” he said.
Belize and Mexico also are expected to field strong teams, he added.
Of the five teams Costa Rica will face in the tournament, it has played Mexico, Belize and the Falkland Islands, and beaten only the last. But Illingworth is confident his team will give a competitive showing in the tournament.
“I expect Costa Rica to give a good performance in which determination and competitive spirit will be in evidence,” he said. “We play with good team spirit, and we compete.”
The Costa Rican team is made up of expatriates from Britain, Pakistan, India, Australia and Guyana, and five Costa Ricans – three naturalized citizens from the U.K. and two native Costa Ricans from the Caribbean province of Limón, the birthplace of cricket in this country.
The sport first emerged in Limón in the late 1800s among Jamaican immigrant railroad workers. It flourished there between 1910 and 1940 among workers of the United Fruit Company before “petering out” during World War II, Illingworth said (TT, March 20, 2009).
At the turn of the 21st century, Illingworth and a group of fellow cricket aficionados set about to revitalize the game in Costa Rica, forming the Costa Rica Cricket Association in 2002 and joining the ICC as an affiliate member in 2003. In 2008, the association was upgraded to the Costa Rica Cricket Federation, with three associations as members.
Next week’s matches will be played between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., with an interval for lunch (see schedule box). Spectators are welcome. Entrance is free and refreshments will be available. For more information, visit www.costaricacricket.org or call 2268-2903.
ICC Americas Division 3 Tournament Schedule
9:30 a.m. Peru vs. Belize
Chile vs. Costa Rica
2 p.m. Falkland Islands vs. Belize
Chile vs. Peru
9:30 a.m. Mexico vs. Falkland Islands
2 p.m. Mexico vs. Chile
Falkland Islands vs. Costa Rica
9:30 a.m. Costa Rica vs. Peru
2 p.m. Falkland Islands vs. Chile
Mexico vs. Belize
9:30 a.m. Peru vs. Mexico
Costa Rica vs. Belize
2 p.m. Falkland Islands vs. Peru
9:30 a.m. Belize vs. Chile
Mexico vs. Costa Rica
Directions to Los Reyes Polo Club: From the Panasonic/El Rodeo intersection in Belén, head west 8 km, following signs to Los Reyes.