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Empire the cornerstone


Philip Hackett

Empire the cornerstone

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Relegation?of Empire Cricket Club from the Elite Division to Division One of the Barbados Cricket Association’s (BCA)?competition would be a devastating blow to cricket here.
That’s the view of Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, pro vice chancellor and principal of the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus.
Sir Hilary was speaking to MIDWEEK SPORT recently following a lecture at the Frank Collymore Hall on The Empire Club and Its Role in the Urban Community.
The lecture formed part of a week of activities organized by the Urban Development Commission (UDC) as it celebrated its 15th anniversary under the theme Reflections of an Urban era – 15 years of Change and Progress.
Sir Hilary was responding to a query about the possible threat to Empire’s current status given the small size of the ground and the new relegation policy.
“If the Empire Cricket Club is ever relegated in first division cricket in Barbados it would be the end of cricket culture in this country because Empire Cricket Club has all the ingredients for success,”?he said.
“They have the legacies, they have the traditions, they have the legends who are still very active.
“The culture is alive, the club is diversified. There is hockey, there is soccer, there are other sports as well, so Empire is doing quite a lot, much more indeed than many other clubs.
“In fact, I would say that the Empire Sports Club is one of the most dynamic sporting clubs in Barbados but what we need to see happening is for the cricket field to be fixed up into a world-class, elegant, beautiful little ground,” he added.
“All it needs is a little imagination, some architectural work, some agronomic work, some fixing of the field and so on.
“But all of that can be done for the centenary (in 2014), and I would like the university to be a part of that journey to help the Empire Cricket Club to achieve that objective of being the most beautiful little cricket ground in the Caribbean.”
Sir Hilary had earlier lauded the intense competitive atmosphere that existed at the club grounds in Bank Hall, something which he believed needed to be preserved.
“There is nothing more tragic than achieving excellence and losing it,” he said. “When you go to Empire, you feel as if you have walked into the lion’s den. It is a fierce identity.
“It is 98 years old and it must persist for evermore because you have to defend your turf and your principles and your values. I am a great believer in that.”

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