Old school tie
The school with arguably the richest cricket tradition in the island could create another significant piece of history today.
Combermere School, an institution that has produced countless national cricketers and won numerous trophies, have five former students in Barbados’ 13-man squad for their sixth-round WICB Regional Four-day match at Kensington Oval.
If all of them play – Kraigg Brathwaite, Shane Dowrich, Christopher Jordan, Carlos Brathwaite and Jomel Warrican – it is almost certain it will be a record for the highest number of players from one school in a Barbados team at the same time since regional first-class cricket was sponsored in 1966.
Kraigg Brathwaite, Dowrich and Jordan played in Barbados’ fifth-round match against Guyana, but Carlos Brathwaite has joined the four-day squad after recovering from a knee injury he sustained in the Caribbean Twenty20 almost two months ago, while Warrican has earned a senior call-up for the first time.
The quintet was beaming with pride when informed yesterday of the potential history and each of them lavished praise on the school’s long-standing cricket master Roddy Estwick.
“It speaks volumes for the school. I am sure that all five of us passed through Roddy Estwick. I’d like to say thanks to him and the programme at Combermere for producing five cricketers worthy of making the national team,” said Carlos Brathwaite.
“All schools practise and train hard but one of the main attributes we had was the fighting spirit to win at all costs. Even when we were behind and out of a game, we believed we could have won a game from whatever position we were in.”
Brathwaite, a fast bowling all-rounder, is eager to get back in the middle after his hiccup at the start of the year, while left-arm spinner Warrican will be looking to transfer his success from youth level.
“I’ve been working hard towards this and it has finally come through,” Warrican said.
“It makes me feel accomplished to be part of history. To be in the same team as four other Combermerians, it is a pleasure. You have to give credit to Mr Estwick. He is a wonderful coach, he knows how to motivate players. It is about work ethic. He emphasizes on working very hard and being disciplined.”
Checks by WEEKENDSPORT and consultations with other statisticians revealed that no more than four players from any school were in a Barbados team simultaneously in the past 45 years.
The last instance was in 2000 when former Ellerslie old boys – Philo Wallace, Dave Marshall, Sulieman Benn and Wayne Blackman – were in the national team that played against Leeward Islands at Kensington.
There were eight occasions between 1993 and 1998 when another Ellerslie quartet – Wallace, Marshall, Ottis Gibson and Sherwin Campbell – represented Barbados in the same match.
“It is an honour to be a Combermerian. I’m very proud of my school,” said wicketkeeper/batsman Dowrich. “Mr Estwick has been there for us. He is a great coach. He inspires the guys a lot. Technically he is very sound and he puts that self-belief in the guys.”
For fast-bowling all-rounder Jordan, it is a re-union of sorts after spending most of the last few years on the English county circuit.
“It’s just nice to be part of history. It speaks volumes about the work everyone at Combermere is doing in bringing young cricketers through,” he said.
Opening bat Kraigg Brathwaite is the only one of the five to have played Test cricket.
“Having grown up at Combermere with mates like Warrican and Dowrich, this is a very proud moment for me,” he said.