By Neto Baptiste
Former president of the Antigua and Barbuda Softball Cricket Association (ABSCA), Henderson Bass, believes there needs to be a unified approach throughout the region if the sport is to gain recognition on an international scale.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show Bass, who first served as head of the association in 1979 and spent several years at the helm before leaving the post, said attempts were made back in late 80s and early 90s to have the sport gain international status but that following the departure of Trinidadian Anthony Harford from All Sports Promotions, it all fell apart.
“From our perspective everything had changed course particularly in sports in Antigua and when we found out that Mr. Harford may not have continued having the tournament, we planned to do a Leeward Islands tournament to which we would have invited Barbados and Trinidad because we developed some very close relationships with those teams,” he said.
“Unfortunately, during my time it just didn’t happen and it fell apart. I don’t know what efforts have been made since to get it back on [track] but it just never happened,” he added.
Bass, who spent most of his playing days with the Santos cricket team here in Antigua, pointed to the fact that a number of changes had to be made to the way the game is played throughout the region before it could gain international status and that the transition may have proven a bit much for some.
“When Mr. Anthony Harford created the Caribbean tournament, the intention was to get wind-ball recognized at the level of the West Indies Cricket Board because he had connections there and so he thought that was one of the things we would wish to see and so [but] we had to bowl [the proper way] so we created a bowling part of the competition so you had a fun part where they were allowed to shy and you had the bowling section where you bowled because of the recognition issue,” he said.
“It wasn’t achieved because during the period, there was a time when and this is after 1994, I think they had to go to Barbados and somehow the Barbados facility wasn’t available and they World Cup football came along and because they were involved in that as well I don’t think they bothered to host that tournament and since then, there wasn’t much going on after that,” he added.
The former administrator believes the goal could still be achieved but would require some level of commitment and dedication from those in authority.
“Nobody seemed to be willing to take on the responsibility after All Sports Promotions and that is why we [Antigua] wanted to start something in the Leeward Islands and then it could have been expanded because we had all the models and so on that All Sports used in terms of organisation and so forth but it was a question of leadership, basically,” he said.
Following his first stint which started in 1979, bass returned on two separate occasions to serve two-year terms, giving some 12 years in total to the association.