Partnership between the Barbados Cricket Association and the LCB enters its 5th Year
The summer of 2014 sees the partnership between the LCB and the BCA enter its 5th year with Aaron Jones and Jerome Jones, the joint winners of the BCA’s prestigious Lord Gavron Scholarship Award  for Under 19’s cricketers, making the journey to Liverpool from Barbados to experience a season of cricket in the UK as part of their Award.
Although not related Aaron, who lives in the parish of St Philip, and Jerome, who lives near to Bridgetown in St Michael, attend the same secondary school, Christchurch Foundation School, one that has dominated Barbados Schools Cricket in recent years. Jerome, who stands at 6 feet 4 inches, is a left arm fast bowler who, in Bajan cricket, is seen as a lower order batsman, whilst Aaron, standing at 5 foot 5 inches is a right handed top order batter who is also a more than talented leg spin bowler.
Both have represented Barbados at Under 15’s and 19’s age group as well as playing together for the Guardian General Barbados Youth side in the BCA’s Elite Cricket Competitions. Jerome has also represented Barbados at Under 17’s as well as being a member of the West Indies Under 19’s squad since playing at Under 17’s level having played in a number of International Tournaments including the 2013 Under 19’s World Cup. It would seem that Aaron was very unlucky not to make this squad following his performance in domestic and inter island Under 19’s cricket.
The project is managed in Lancashire by Dave Goodall, Liverpool Community Cricket Development Co-ordinator, who was involved in the initial discussions with the BCA, who approached him about the scholarship programme whilst on a cricketing holiday on the island, and who brought back the request to the LCB in December 2009. Dave, having coordinated the communications between the 2 Boards, was asked by the LCB to take the lead on its planning, delivery, review and reporting by the LCB.
The players are based in Liverpool and get their cricketing experiences through their involvement in the Liverpool & District Cricket Competition playing for Sefton Park and Wavertree CC’s where they are also involved in supporting the Junior Sections along with the adult training sessions to add to their experiences. In the school terms, between their arrival in early May and late July, they work alongside Dave in his Chance to Shine based coaching in some of the primary and secondary schools in the city, often taking advantage of the facilities available at the Secondary schools, St Margaret’s Academy and St Francis Xavier’s College, to have an end of day net. They have also assisted in the delivery of Young Leaders Courses in the secondary sector along with assisting Dave deliver the ECB KWIK Cricket tournaments in Liverpool as well as supporting LCB staff in running the respective County Finals days. This summer has also seen them take on the role of assistant coaches with the Liverpool City Under 15’s squad in the Inter-District tournament whilst Jerome assisted Dave with the Merseyside Under 13’s squad during the Spring half term Festival (Aaron was in London completing his ‘A’ Level exams at the Barbados High Commission at that time). In previous years the players would have been involved with the Merseyside Under 16’s 1-day Festival squad and the South West Lancashire Under 16’s 2-days squad in the respective Festivals.
The players have several meetings with the BCA staff and members ahead of the trip where ‘expectations’ are discussed and agreed. One such is that they maintain a professional approach and attitude to the ‘learning and development’ placement both maintaining a fitness programme that includes a regular gym based component, along with managing their diets, things that were not addressed by the players in the first years of this partnership.
Through John Stanworth, the LCCC Academy Coach, Jerome was invited to join the net bowling team when England practiced ahead of the May ODI vs Sri Lanka whilst both of them have had significant involvement heading up to and prior to days 1 and 2 of the Test vs India, bowling to players from both squads.
Dave Goodall endeavours to get them additional games of cricket during their stay having established a positive relationship with Northern Nomads CC who enjoy having the Bajan Scholarship players as guest players during their short season of mid-week fixtures whilst the past 3-seasons has seen the players invited to be part of the celebratory fixture hosted by Formby CC who have hosted Lashings twice and this year an ‘International XI’ with Aaron playing for the latter squad and Jerome a guest player in the enhanced Formby CC team on the day. Paralleling this Dave also tries to spend some time with them during the week reflecting on their experiences in playing in very different British conditions and learning from them to spending time with them working on their skills.
The BCA request that the players gain experience of living with a UK family as part of their personal development. This was initially a challenge in finding a family with 2 bedrooms that are available to rent for the whole summer. The past 4-years have seen the scholarship players living in a large family house in the Fairfield area of the city, within easy reach of the 2 clubs, the city centre and their mentor/supervisor where they have had their own space.
Aaron and Jerome are the 5th pair of players to come to the UK via this partnership with the LCB.
Miguel Cummins, who came as a late replacement and unknown player in 2010 has taken his career forward and is now a regular member of the Barbados squads whilst also having played West Indies ‘A’ and then making his ODI debut against Ireland in 2014. He is currently playing in the Caribbean Premier League for Antigua Hawksbills having played for the Trinidad based franchise in 2013.
Shane Dowrich, who was over in 2012, is now established as the number 1 wicketkeeper in Barbados in all formats, with these skills added to by his more than competent batting. Shane is a regular player for the West Indies ‘A’ team whilst 2014 saw him make his CPL debut for the Barbados Tridents.
Jamel Warrican, one of the 2011 cohort, was selected for the West Indies High performance Centre in 2012. He is part of the BCA squads awaiting his opportunity whilst he continues to excel in Barbados Elite cricket as a bowler with his club, Empire CC.
Rashidi Boucher, who came in 2010 along with Miguel Cummins, was the opening bat for Barbados in all formats in 2013 whilst continuing to play for his club Spartan CC where he scores runs freely.
In 2013 Sefton Park CC and Wavertree CC gained promotion from Division 2 of the Liverpool & District Cricket Competition with significant input from Justin Greaves, a former West Indies Under 19’s player, and Craig St Hill. 2014 sees Justin back in the UK playing in Essex with Frinton-on-Sea CC whilst Craig is balancing his University work with the challenges of Elite Cricket playing alongside some very talented players, including Tino Best, at Pickwick CC.
The BCA have expressed their delight and satisfaction regarding the experiences that their young players have had in Liverpool whilst on placement with the LCB recognising how they have developed both as players and people on their return to Barbados each September. It is the hope that this working partnership might be further developed to incorporate collaboration in other aspects of cricket between the 2 Boards that might include LCCC players and staff making use of the facilities in Barbados, especially at the Kensington Oval, as part of their pre-season programmes.
Aaron and Jerome will return to Barbados at the end of the current season, flying back on Monday 22nd September, hopefully having enriched their lives on many levels providing a platform for their ongoing development. The programme will be reviewed by the LCB and BCA in December ahead of planning for 2015.
 The Lord Gavron Scholarship Award is made to an Under 19’s age group player(s) at the end of each domestic season “who has/have been outstanding on the field of play, has displayed the correct attitude and shown progress in his/their technical and tactical awareness”. Find out more at: www.bcacricket.org/2010/articles.php?live=4122.