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Passage to better things


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IF THE opposing teams and coaches of champions Fusionz Boutique Passage United believe that winning the first two editions of the Inspire Under-13 tournaments has dulled the Richard Clarke-coached squad from going after the next title, then such teams and coaches need to wake up.
The passion and drive for excellence is burning even brighter at Passage where Clarke and his support staff spend every Wednesday and Thursday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. nurturing and honing the skills of the next generation of cricketers. 
Of course, the times mentioned are just a formality as Clarke is often at the ground earlier or later than that trying to work out any problems one of his young charges might be experiencing.
The formal staff at Passage United includes technical director Alfred Campbell, assisant coach Gregory Gaskin, manager Shernelle Boucher, scorer Aysha Nakhuda, president Ronald “Briggs” Drakes, groundsman Trevor Ifill and sponsor Abrahim Adams of Passage United.
The unofficial staff is the 30-plus parents, guardians and supporters who follow Passage United throughout the lengths and breadths of Barbados, outnumbering the home fans at grounds like Market Hill, Hoytes Village and even Carlton, to cheer on their team to another victory and title.
Level 2 coach
Clarke, the man who saw the women’s softball cricket to regional success, is a qualified Level 2 coach who dreams of propelling many of Barbados’ youngsters to excellence in the game. 
From Wesley Hall Primary School and Passage United, Clarke has graduated the likes of Roston Chase, Kyle Mayers, Ravindra Persaud, Jared Bernadin, Athelbert Brathwaite, Larando Best, Andre Roach, Kareen Currency and Randal Hoyte. Persaud is the only non-Wesley Hall student.
After taking the inaugural Inspire championship in 2008 with Carlos Maynard leading the way with the sole century (108 not out), Clarke and Passage United returned for an encore last year with Akil Greendige smashing an unbeaten 105. 
This year, five of Clarke’s students returned from the National Sports Council’s tour of St Kitts which was dominated by Greenidge and included Leniko Boucher, Deswin Currency, Dominic Drakes and Hasan Newton.
Every year, Passage United have also been including a highly talented girl in their team with Shaquanna Quintyne excelling last year, while also helping her Garrison School to win the Under-15 title; and this year Hayley Matthews earned a spot in Passage United while opening the batting and bowling spin for Under-13 champions Harrison College.
Clarke’s dream for the youth is not reserved for just Passage United or Wesley Hall who he led to the Herman Griffith Cup in 2008. 
This is seen where pint-sized spinner from YMPC Shermar Persaud is genuinely accepted for training at Passage United although it is likely that he might be the trigger for YMPC’s or Bay Primary’s victory over one of Clarke’s teams in the future.
And anyone who still has doubts about Clarke’s 25 years of commitment to his players just has to tell him where one of his graduates will be batting or bowling in any remote part of Barbados. 
Clarke will be the first to take up the front seat like a classical master to focus on whether that student is playing the correct notes.