Gareth Davis Sr, Gleaner Writer
Whenever the game cricket is mentioned in Portland, it is more than likely that the first name to pop up 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 the sport of his choice by assisting youngsters to learn a game, which is the pride and joy of the West Indies.
From the days of playing Headly Cup cricket for Happy Grove to Titchfield High in Portland, then on to England, where he played league cricket with some of the game's best, including Darren Gough, Michael Vaughn (both played for England), Simon Doyle (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 Headly Cup cricket for Happy Grove and Titchfield in 1981-1983, I made the All-Headly 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."
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 one of the communities of Hectors River, bowls left-hand and orthodox spin and batted right handed at number 3. He would spend the next 17 years playing cricket in several counties in England, scoring century after century, while earning financially in a career that started in Jamaica at the school level.
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 even 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, for 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."