Club Cricket Conference

Wednesday, 22nd May 2024

MCC making first venture into Central America

By Charles Randall

16 March 2015

The MCC, captained by the Churt CC batsman Jonathan Rea-Palmer, have started the club's first tour of Surinam and Panama.

They opened the tour at Paramaribo, in Surinam, before their scheduled T20 matches in the Central American Championship in Panama City this week. Rea-Palmer's side compete in a group with Peru, Belize and Brazil to heighten interest at the Pacifico venue, a former American Army base. Though the MCC's opposition is unlikely to be formidable, Brazil are captained by the former Bromley and Kent Board batsman Matt Featherstone. The other four countries involved are Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico and El Salvador.

In Surinam the MCC players are scheduled to hold coaching sessions for aspiring young cricketers without access to quality equipment or tuition. The MCC's presence will be welcomed in Panama, Associate members of the ICC since 2002. Cricket has begun to flourish there through Indian players, but the sport has struggled financially, resulting in the loss of grounds to football. A long, eight-month rainy season tends to hinder coaching and development.

John Stephenson, MCC head of cricket, said: “Overseas tours form a significant part of MCC’s work, and this trip to Surinam and Panama provides an exciting start to the 2015 programme. We carefully select our players based on their ability to represent the club and the Spirit of Cricket both on and off the field, and this group fits that bill. The number of great Central American nations taking part in this tournament shows the increasing popularity of the sport in the region, and hopefully we can continue that growth on our visit.”

The South American visit is the first of five MCC tours in 2015. The next tour is Denmark in July, followed by Menorca in September, Nepal in October and South Africa in December. In planning these trips, the MCC work closely with the International Cricket Council to help maximise increasing cricket's international appeal and assisting national teams' move towards international status.

MCC squad to Surinam and Panama
Jonathan Rea-Palmer (captain, Churt)
David Atkin (Chester Boughton Hall)
Anand Ashok (Ealing)
Thomas Wainwright (Bournemouth)
Neil Pollard (Bristol)
Martin Donald (Kenilworth Wardens)
Rupert Swetman (Old Bristolians Westbury)
Luke Blackaby (Sevenoaks Vine)
Malith Madurasinghe (Chepstow)
George Tidbury (Richmond)
Harry Smallwood (Bradford & Bingley)
Chris Watling (Aston Rowant)

Manager: Ajaz Akhtar (Peterborough Town)
Umpire: Roger Tolchard

Central American Championships (Panama)
19 March: MCC v Peru
20 March: MCC v Belize
21 March: MCC v Brazil
22 March: Semi-finals and final.