Fri | Dec 2, 2016

Campion proves you can score in class and on the pitch

Published:Tuesday | April 21, 2015 | 12:00 AMJulian Robinson

I am grateful to Dr Lascelve 'Muggy' Graham for his article in the Observer of March 30, 2015, highlighting the success of Campion College in winning the 2015 Corporate Area Grace Shield for cricket.

Campion College, today, is well known for its success in producing students of outstanding academic standards, but less so for its achievements in the traditional sports such as football and cricket. However, the school has a very rich tradition of success in cricket, with 18 titles - including Under-14, Under-16 and Under-19 - between 1979 and 2015.

There are a number of points I wish to make in relation to the debate around balancing academic excellence and sporting success. First, the successes that Campion achieved in cricket have all been done without any compromise in academic standards, special arrangements for student/athletes or any need to recruit players from other schools.

young players

Second, in highlighting the relatively young average age of the players who played on the winning U-19 teams (seven of the 11 players on the 1987 and 1988 victorious Sunlight Cup teams were under 16), this demonstrates the importance of exposing and developing student athletes from an early stage to competition, and building and nurturing that talent.

This shows that a deliberate policy of developing young talent can lead to success at the senior levels without the need for recruiting outside talent. In 1988, Campion won all the Corporate Area cricket trophies.

The third point I wish to make is the important role that a coach plays in building and developing a programme around which success can be achieved. Without a doubt, Campion had outstanding individual players, but the person who held the cricket programme together at the school for more than 30 years deserves most of the credit for the school's success. That person is Wilbert Parkes.

little-known fact

Finally, I wish to highlight a little-known fact. In 1989, Carlton Carter Jr, at age 16, became the youngest player ever to represent Jamaica at the senior level in cricket when he played for Jamaica against the visiting English Test cricket team. That same year, he captained Campion to victory in the Under-16 Colts Cup.

He is also responsible for arguably the greatest all-round performance by a schoolboy in cricket. In the 1988 Sunlight Cup finals against St Jago, he made 125 not out and shared in a record 109-run partnership for the last wicket, of which his batting partner made only nine. He came back and took 9-46 with his leg spin. An outstanding footballer as well, Carter took up a football scholarship to St John's University in New York, effectively ending his promising cricket career.

- Julian J. Robinson is a state minister and represented Campion College in both football and cricket at all levels from 1983-1990. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.