– Hooper, Hicks, Mahadeo & Ivan aiming high
Over the last decade the Rose Hall Town Youth & Sports Club (RHTY&SC), which was formed in 1990 has along with Albion Cricket Club, dominated cricket in the Ancient County at the junior and senior levels.
Widely regarded as Guyana’s leading youth & sports club, RHTY&SC won the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) team of the year award in 2004, 2005, 2009 and 2010 and has a reputation for producing outstanding cricketers for Berbice and Guyana ever since Neil Williams in 1994 became the first club member to play for Berbice.
The Club’s Gizmos & Gadgets First Division Cricket team has played uneaten to date and four of its cricketers are determined to make their mark for Berbice and Guyana in the near future; based on their performances to date in 2011 they are well on their way to fulfilling their aims. The quartet of Eon Hooper, Delbert Hicks, Khemraj Mahadeo and Rajiv Ivan are all permanent members of the First Division team and have been the backbone of the club’s success over the past few months.
Twenty-five-year-old Rajiv Ivan joined the Club earlier this year after playing for the Port Mourant Cricket Club his entire career. He has described the move as the best decision he has ever made.
Ivan described the atmosphere at the RHTY&SC as one of a united family while praising the clubs’ management for its constant encouragement to players for them to always excel. Ivan has to date scored a total of 505 runs for the club this season from 13 matches at an average of 45.90, he has also taken 23 wickets at an average of 9.26.
He won back to back man-of-the-finals awards for the BCB Ramcharitar Construction Services 50 overs and Busta Champion of Champions competitions. One of the best qualities of Ivan’s batting is his ability to hit the ball clean and his dismissal of Narsingh Deonarine in the Ramcharitar final underlines his ability as an off spinner.
Ivan has played for Berbice in the Hits & Jams and the Inter County 50 overs competitions. His current aim is to make the Berbice Twenty20 team and the Guyana side level next year.
Former Berbice and Guyana Under-19 all rounder Khemraj Mahadeo admits that work commitment over the last four years has affected his game as he was unable to practice regularly but in 2011 he has decided to concentrate on cricket fully.
The 26-six-year Mahadeo who was on the verge of opening his own business disclosed that his wife Shivania who is expecting has rekindled his passion to focus on the game again and aim to play at the highest level.
This year, Mahadeo has scored a total of 525 runs in 12 matches at an average of 52.5. He has stroked seven half centuries with a top scored of 85. He recently won the man-of-the-final award for the New Amsterdam Lions Club Twenty20 tournament with a high class innings of 67 not out off 33 balls and 3 for 14 against Young Warriors.
He has also taken 14 wickets at an average of 6.50 with his off spin and taken eight catches. Mahadeo hopes that his outstanding performances would find favour with the Berbice selectors for the County’s T20 and four day teams.
Twenty-one-year old Eon Hooper, over the past three years has quietly developed into a star performer for the RHTY&SC with both bat and ball. Hooper represented Berbice at the Under-15, 19 and A levels over the years as an opening batsman and off spinner and also played in one of the Berbice’s T20 teams last year in the Digicel nationwide tournament.
In eleven matches this year he has scored 247 runs at an average of 22.45 while his improving off spin has claimed a club high 28 wickets at an average of 9.21 each including three four wicket hauls.
Spell’s of 3 for 21 off 7 overs in the Ramcharitar 50 over game against Albion and 2 for 12 off 6.5 overs against Port Mourant in the Busta Champion of Champions final were crucial to his team’s success.
A clever use of flight in his bowling, Hooper is one of the few off spinners in Berbice who has extracted spin and bounce on any wicket. His only disappointment in 2011 is that batting at No. 7 in the powerful Rose Hall Town Gizmos & Gadgets side has limited his opportunities in the middle.
Hooper’s aim is to make the Inter County T20 team and eventually the Guyana side; he plans to continue performing well with both bat and ball.
Disappointment is one of the facets of being a professional cricketer and 28-year-old Delbert Hicks knows that feeling all too well. The former national wicket keeper/batsman has been ignored by the Berbice selectors over the last year despite outstanding performances for his club and never failing for the County at any level with bat and gloves.
One of the hardest hitters of the cricket ball in Guyana, Hicks has scored 287 runs at an average of 31.89 in 10 matches with a top score of 82 while behind the stumps he has claimed 22 catches and effected six stumpings.
He would be the first to admit that in the past his wicket-keeping was the weak link of his game but hard work and practice has corrected that situation. His brilliant stumping of Veerapen Permaul in the Ramcharitar final off Shailendra Shameer and his catch to dismiss David Latchaya in the same match off Clinton Pestano are indications of the improvement behind the stumps over the last two years.
He has played for Guyana at both the junior and senior levels, and has matured as an individual and cricketer and believes that a second chance would come his way in the upcoming Guyana T20 Inter County tournament. A strong believer in faith, he stated that his inspiration is former West Indies Keeper Ridley Jacobs who after making his debut in his 30s went on to notch up success at the International level.
The players’ only disappointment was the non-attendance of the senior selection committee of the Berbice Cricket Board at most matches. They praised the Board for organising cricket on a regular basis but would like to see the selectors present at matches to see players perform for possible selection to Berbice teams.
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