Chris Gayle Nursery set for opening
ST CATHERINE, JAMAICA - The opening of the nursery in honour of West Indies batman Christopher Gayle is set for October, according to Lucas Cricket Club first vice-president Brian Breese.
Breese told the Jamaica Observer that concrete strips have been laid at the Preston Road-based club to provide batting practice for members and added that clay is to be delivered from Innswood in St Catherine.
"The Chris Gayle Nursery is to be opened after he returns (from the ICC Twenty20 World Cup) in late October. We are still working on it and waiting on clay to be delivered here (at Lucas) and then we will put in the nets and the fencing.
"Chris is a current member of Lucas and putting in these pitches is important to the club. We are putting in three practice pitches. Two are concrete and the other one will be a regular clay pitch," he said recently.
He added that the implementation of artificial lights is also in the pipeline and explained the need for the improved facilities at the club, which was formed in 1895.
"Eventually we hope to get it lighted so we can practice at various times. There has been a swell of membership over the last couple of months. We want to maximise on the membership that we have. Obviously we can't get them all practicing one time out in the middle. With the plans that we have we will be better able to hone the skills of the youngsters," Breese said.
The upgrade of the infrastructure at Lucas coincides with Saturday's culmination of the 'Lucas Week', which included the unveiling of a bust in recognition of West Indies legend George Headley, the mounting of an honour roll board and other activities aimed at rejuvenating the club.
Breese said he was fairly satisfied despite a "low-key" turn out.
"It was low-key in terms of turn out, perhaps because there was little advertising. We had the unveiling of George Headley's bust and also the honour board. It was good. I would say the week was successful and when you look at us trying to keep the legacy of Lucas, having this was very important. We want to have Lucas Week every year," he said.
Lucas Cricket Club is known for being the first in Jamaica to admit black cricketers as members. It is said that Headley, who scored 2190 runs and averaged 60.83 in 22 Tests, joined the club in 1929.
Despite the outstanding history, the club has fallen on hard times and last won the national Senior Cup title in 1999.
That team included former Jamaica players Delroy Morgan, Andre Coley, Gareth Breese as well as the explosive Gayle.
Breese shared that with the help of corporate companies and club members, the renovation process has been going on in earnest.
"Lucas almost died as a club. We didn't play any matches at home last season. We suffered from having football played here so the field was run down. We kind of stopped the football and we have grass again," he said.