Costa Rica hosts its first international cricket tournament

April 3, 2009

Overshadowed by soccer and other sports, the game of cricket has seemingly escaped the interests of the Americas.

Yet, with Costa Rica´s first international cricket tournament hosted in Los Reyes this past weekend and with an effort to introduce the sport at some local schools, a handful of foreigners are creating opportunities to play and watch the sport in this country.

“The idea is to bring cricket to Costa Rica,” said Richard Illingworth, president of the Costa Rica Cricket Association. “It used to be played here 120 years ago, mainly among the Jamaicans on the Caribbean coast in Limón…At the moment, most of our players are fairly old…and many have something to do British Commonwealth. We want to get Costa Ricans involved.”

According to Illingworth, cricket is the second most played and watched sport in the world and, if it weren´t for China, it would top the list.

Yet the home field advantage didn´t play in Costa Rica´s favor during this year´s championship. Despite several hard fought games from the players representing Costa Rica, the Panama team took home the trophy.

The six games were played in Los Reyes, just west of San José, where cricket players outlined a space on a private polo field. (See The Tico Times video report at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89d2j-1sPxA.)

In a three day tournament beginning April 4, teams from El Salvador, Belize, Panama, Mexico and Costa Rica competed in four games, lasting several hours each.

“The venue was well prepared and the matches went smoothly,” said Timothy Baker, a Costa Rica player. “Overall, it was a very successful event.”

See the April 17 print or digital edition of The Tico Times for more on this story.

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