Bermuda - year in review
The year got off to the worst possible start on a tour to the UAE. With the UAE finishing sixth in the 2005 ICC Trophy, Bermuda would have been favourites for the series, but they lost all five matches against a resurgent UAE side which would go on to defeat all-comers in Asian regional competition in 2006.
Bermuda visited Trinidad in May for an ODI tri-series against Canada and Zimbabwe. Bermuda's first ODI against Canada finished in triumph when they won by 3 wickets, becoming just the fourth team to win their first ODI. The joy of this win was short lived however, as Bermuda went down to Zimbabwe in their next two matches by big margins.
The work Bermuda need to do before the World Cup was highlighted when they visited the British Isles. Their tour started with a seven wicket defeat at the hands of the Sussex Second XI. This was followed by a trip to Guernsey, on which Bermuda won both matches against the national side, but didn't exactly play to their potential. They won both games (by five wickets and 47 runs) but played poorly, and would probably have lost the second game had it not been for a Guernsey batting collapse.
August saw Bermuda participate in the first Stanford 20/20 tournament in Antigua, but they were eliminated in the first round by Jamaica. Canada was the next destination for Bermuda in August, and it started badly with a nine wicket loss in a high scoring Intercontinental Cup game. Bermuda did however win both ODIs, with Irving Romaine scoring their first ODI century in the second. This was followed by the Americas Championship tournament, which Bermuda won for the first time.
September saw Bermuda's women play their first international in a regional world cup qualifying series against Canada on Vancouver Island. They lost the first match of the series, but recovered to win the remaining two, qualifying for the final qualifying tournament in Pakistan, scheduled for sometime in 2007. The top two in that tournament will qualify for the 2009 World Cup in Australia, but that won't be the only prize on offer, as the top four teams will get Test and ODI status for the following four years.
October saw no international action for Bermuda, but there was some serious behind the scenes problems. George O'Brien had his contract terminated owing to a lack of commitment on his part, there was a contract dispute and a top player was accused of financial dishonesty. All this hampered the Bermuda team's preperation for their African tour in November, which was to see the debut of Glamorgan batsman David Hemp, who was born in Hamilton.
The Kenya leg of the tour started with an Intercontinental Cup match, which was drawn after two days of rain. Bermuda then lost all three ODIs, and Hemp was not performing as was expected. This soon changed though with a record-breaking Intercontinental Cup match against the Netherlands in South Africa. The match was drawn, but Bermuda made a huge total of 620 in their first innings, featuring 247 from Hemp, which was the highest score in Intercontinental Cup history, although that record was gone in two weeks, broken by Dutchman Ryan ten Doeschate.
The following ODI tri-series against the Netherlands and Canada was pretty much a disaster for Bermuda. Their three match winning streak against Canada was ended after losing both matches against a weakened Canadian side, and the only win came against the Netherlands when the Dutch already had the tournament secured.
The Bermudians have played three Intercontinental Cup games in 2006, drawing two and losing the other. The twelve ODIs over the year saw Bermuda win four and lose eight.
Bermuda's 2007 starts at the end of January with the ICC World Cricket League Division One tournament in Nairobi where they will take on their fellow ODI status countries. A big improvement is needed for success in this tournament. This is then followed by a triangular series against Bangladesh and Canada in Antigua prior to the big event of Bermuda's 2007.
The World Cup in the West Indies is the biggest event in the history of Bermudian cricket. They will play in the same group as India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Bermuda may be better suited to local conditions than those three sides, but they will make for formidable opposition. Bermuda will look to emulate Canada in the 2003 World Cup and pull of an upset over Bangladesh.
The rest of 2007 sees ODIs and Intercontinental Cup games in Ireland, the Netherlands and Kenya. There are still no games at home for Bermuda, though they are pencilled in for 2008. The pitch at the National Stadium in Hamilton was described by an ICC pitch inspector as being better suited for growing carrots than for international cricket early in 2006 and work needs to be done. The ground staff at the venue are experimenting with glued pitches, and cricket was played there in October this year, and the pitch seemed to hold up fine. Another ICC inspection will take place sometime in 2007.