Gareth Davis Sr, Gleaner Writer
Portland:Whenever the game of cricket is mentioned in Portland, it is more than likely that the first name to pop up in minds would be that of Carl Brissett, international cricketer and now coach of the national Under-15 team.
To many in the parish and elsewhere, Brissett is merely giving back to a sport of his choice by assisting youngsters to learn the game.
From the days of playing Headley Cup cricket for Happy Grove High then Titchfield High in Portland, before moving on to England where he played league cricket with some of the game's best, including Darren Gough and Michael Vaughn, who both played for England); Simon Doyle (who played for New Zealand); former West Indies great Collis King; Stuart Williams; and Corey Collymore, Brissett has gained valuable experience at the international level.
"The experience was great," commented Brissett.
He added, "After playing Headley Cup cricket for Happy Grove and Titchfield in 1981-83, I made the All-Headley Cup team, where we played an All-Sunlight Cup team, which, at that time, also included cricket legend Courtney Walsh.
"I left for England in 1985-86, where I started my international career in cricket. I first played for an all-black team, but struggled during the first season. However, my second season was great and the patrons started coming out to the games just to see this new overseas player."
LOVE FOR CRICKET
According to Brissett, his love for cricket allowed him to perform well and shortly after, he started playing league cricket for Yorkshire, where he played with some great players who later went on to represent their respective countries at the international level.
Brissett, who hails from a depressed community, Hectors River, bowls left-hand orthodox spin and batted right-handed at No. 3. He would spend the next 17 years playing cricket across several counties in England, scoring century after century.
The cricketer recounted that while in Jamaica, he was invited to national trials on several occasions where he topped the bowling average and was third in the batting on just about every occasion, but was still unable to make the national squad.
Continuing, Brissett added: "I also played with Marlon Tucker, who at the time was captain of Lucas in the Senior Cup and also captain of the Jamaica team. He, too, was baffled that I was unable to make the national team.
"Today, I realise that my non-inclusion in the national team opened a way for me internationally, to which I am forever grateful. I have retired from international cricket, but today I am passing on my experience to the youth, who are the future of this country."
Today, Brissett also coaches Port Antonio High in cricket and football, and is the proud holder of Level I and II certificates in cricket which were attained in England, along with advanced Level I and II certificates in football.