By Carole Beckford
On Saturday, May 4 when Kensington and Lucas Cricket Clubs take the field for a Junior Cup match; the game will not only have an important result for defending champions, Kensington, but will have an all-important historical context for the roles these two sporting/cricketing clubs continue to play in the Rollington Town community.
The cricket has been the core focus of the two clubs from as far back as 1879 and 1895 respectively; but when Kensington hosts its 140th year of existence this October, the weekend event will seek to do a few things:
identify the role cricket has played in the community;
show the impact all the great cricketers have had on the community, Jamaica, the West Indies and the world;
help to re-focus the community on how it can re-engage residents to continue the path to growth and development.
Rollington Town sits in the Eastern Kingston constituency and is surrounded by schools and other inner-city communities all with similar characteristics – close knit families; rich sporting history, once a quiet community, but now begs basic development to include the necessities for a place to live, grow families and so business. The accessories of the place, as it is, are not sufficient to transform the legacy of a community with that much history and more.
Kensington for instance has had outstanding personalities like JK Holt Jr, Chester Watson, Alf Valentine, Lawrence Rowe, Herbert Chang, Richard Austin, Basil Williams, Patrick Patterson, Uton Dowe, Robert Haynes, Laurie Williams, Wavell Hinds, Darren Powell and David Bernard Jr.
Lucas is the home of George Headley, Frank Worrell, Easton “Bull” McMorris, Everton Mattis, Gareth Breese and Chris Gayle. The immeasurable impact these men have had on cricket is what helps to consolidate the role of the game and how it may help to influence the community and cricket for the next generation.
Since 2012, Lucas has been the base of the Chris Gayle Foundation, an organization which has partnered with the England-based Cricket For Change. The resources from the partnership have been used to train at-risk young people while guiding them to become better employment prospects. Lucas is believed to have been the first club in Jamaica to admit black players in the late 1920s.
On the occasion of the 110th anniversary of the Senior Cup in Jamaica (2007), Historian Arnold Betram wrote this about Kensington Cricket Club:
The cricketers who registered Kensington Cricket Club in 1879 began as the St. Andrew Juniors, a group of students of St. George’s College who left with their headmaster, Father Jaeckel, to establish the Marie Villa School at 37 Duke Street, in September 1877.
Among these young cricketers were J.M. Burke, S.C. Cargill, Ernest DaCosta and Dr. J.F. Cargill, who gave a part of his property in Camperdown for their playing field. In 1881, the club moved to Emerald Park on North Street and Cosmo Lorenzo Dicks succeeded E.G. Orrett as captain. The Dicks family owned a property in St. Catherine called Kensington, hence the name change from St. Andrew Juniors to Kensington.
Coming into the competition, Kensington certainly had the most enthusiastic group of cricketers, including two of the finest young cricketers in the island, J.J. Cameron and G.V. Livingston.
In the two decades preceding the start of Senior Cup Cricket in 1897, the record shows that they played 202 matches, winning 125, losing 61 and drawing 16.
Wavell Hinds captains and coaches Kensington’s Junior Cup Team. His twin sons Alex and Corey play for this team (both attend Wolmer’s). He is surrounded by a set of youngsters all aimed at balancing their lives on and off the pitch.
Lucas will look to Brandon English, Shane Ricketts and Jaheem Rankine for leadership.
The 10 am match on Saturday, May 4 should deliver on its promises of an exciting match-up; and should spark an interesting conversation concerning the clubs’ history.
See you there!
This column was originally published by the author Carole Beckford in her blog, under the title Kensington and Lucas Cricket Clubs - representing Rollington Town
Carole has spent the last two decades in sport adminstration and sport marketing