Manders determined to restore former glory
Arnold Manders vowed to “give it the best” he has to help restore local cricket to its glory days after being voted in as the Bermuda Cricket Board’s first vice-president.
The former Bermuda captain and BCB director of cricket decided to throw his hat into the ring at the rescheduled annual meeting at Warwick Workmen’s Club on Thursday because of a burning desire to halt the demise of the national sport.
“I am just trying to help out cricket to get it back to its glory days,” Manders said.
“It’s sliding and we have to try and stop that slide, and put us back to where we need to be.”
Asked what were some of his main areas of concern, Manders added: “It’s a lot of work that needs to be done and we have to start from the grass roots.
“We have to start from the bottom and work our way up, which is the youth programme, the coaching, improving the club structure that’s probably the worst it’s ever been, and high performance and governance and raising money so you can run first-class programmes.”
Manders fears cricket risks disappearing from plain view if the present trend continues.
“If we don’t address these matters, we can quickly become extinct,” he said.
“If you look at softball, we were the best in this region — the Big Blue Machine [Bermuda softball team] — and we don’t even play fast-pitch softball any more.
“Cricket, Cup Match, that’s Bermuda heritage and we need to try and fix it and bring it back. But it’s going to take not just me. It takes everybody, the community, clubs and government.
“We also can’t just rest on our laurels and depend on money from [government grants]. We have to try and help ourselves.
“We just need to put a strategic plan together and start working on improving this lovely game called cricket.
“It’s no small undertaking and it’s going to take a while.
“But I think I have the capability to assist in any way if it comes from the coaching part, governance or anything else.
“I am going to give it the best I have and hopefully the rest [fellow executives] can do the same because we need to work together to try to fix this.”
Manders comes on board at executive level at a good time for beleaguered president Lloyd Smith.
The BCB president was left reeling by the resignations of virtually his entire executive last week at the end of a special meeting called to probe his use of the corporate credit card in getting Jimmy Adams to be guest speaker at the end-of-season awards last November.
He survived an undisclosed motion by a narrow count of 6-4 with two abstentions, prompting first vice-president Mishael Paynter, treasurer Moses Mufandaedza, assistant treasurer/secretary Lorenzo Tucker, and club representatives Clay Smith, Michael Stovel and Kellie Smith to walk.
Cheryl-Ann Mapp had resigned as secretary on the day of the originally scheduled AGM on December 12.
“The clubs made their decision and we stick by what the clubs feel,” said Smith, after the board’s rescheduled annual meeting at Warwick Workmen’s Club on Thursday night.
“That’s a good vote of confidence, and also the turnout of people that want to be back on the board.”
Smith is in the final year of a three-year term, with this period being his most difficult.
“It has been a very trying time, not just for me, but for the board as well,” he said.
“People think the board only runs during the cricket season; the board runs all year long and we still have to respond to ICC and still have to submit reports. So to have all this what’s been going on for the last month and a half has not been easy.”
He added: “What kept me going, and is always why I elect to be president, is I love cricket.
“I want to see Bermuda cricket get back to the stage that it used to be.”
All but two of the vacant executive positions have been filled, Manders joined by Andrew Griffith as treasurer, and Irving Romaine, Peter Philpott and Dennis Williams as the three club representatives.
The secretary and assistant secretary/treasurer positions have yet to be filled.
“We have a very strong executive that has come on board,” Smith said.
“Obviously, we have a lot of new faces, but we have guys that have been around the board before, as well as people that suit the needs of the board.”
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