The parish of St Peter is blessed with an abundance of attractions, landmarks and defining characteristics. Its white sand beaches, including Mullins Bay, are enticing, its rolling hills and luring topography make the best artists proud and attractions such as St Nicholas Abbey and Farley Hill National Park are historic. And then there’s cricket, possibly the most endearing aspect of its history and its present. To say cricket is a popular sport in this northern parish is to recite a gross understatement.
It’s virtually part of the parish’s genes. And no community in the north has produced more top players than Boscobel and its surroundings.
The list of names is impressive: Keith Boyce from Castle, Pedro Collins, Fidel Edwards and Omar Phillips from Gay’s Village, Corey Collymore from The Mount. Each one has played for Barbados. Each one has represented the West Indies.
The wealth of cricketing talent was first exposed by the late Keith Boyce, described by another Barbados cricketer from Castle, St Peter, Emmerson Jordan as a “the leading light”. It was Boyce, Jordan recalled, who inspired him to get involved in the sport.
“When I played back then there was always a lot of talent in the parish and that in itself was a motivation. You have the late Keith Boyce, he would have been the first person from that area to play. He actually was the leading light I would say,” Jordan said. Jordan bursts with pride as a result of the number of players this parish of fewer than 12,000 people has produced. And he is certain there will be others. “It’s a great look for the parish. The guys are really proud. I believe that if you had to put out a St Peter team you would be able to be very competitive in the BCL division. “Presently the Boscobel team I have been following them and they have a really good side.
There are other guys that look good that I have been asking questions about. There is one guy Jadeja Edwards. I saw him make a 100 earlier this year and I was very impressed. I think he is going to go far,” Jordan predicted. The former cricketer wants to see Phillips back in the West Indies team and expects Jadeja Edwards to get a call anytime soon. He has advised them to use the former test players as motivation.
There is little doubt that the cricketers from the close-knit Boscobel community stick together and guide each other. Phillips currently uses his talents and free time to assist younger players to develop and hone their talents at the Boscobel Primary School. Barbados TODAY caught up with him just before one of his training sessions with the young primary school team. He said it meant a lot to him to able to help the youngsters find their way.
“I remember playing my first game for the West Indies, I actually bought a few kits and gave to the school because I remember being there and there wasn’t enough available. Also on evenings we have a coaching programme going on at the moment.
I also work with the senior side. It’s always good to help them to go one step further,” a proud Phillips said. He explained that he was simply giving back what he had so thankfully received when he was seeking to build his career. “Being guided by Corey [Collymore], he was the one who pushed me and encouraged me to keep at my cricket because at one point I started to get frustrated, but then having someone like a father figure to keep me going [was helpful].
“It was an honour to play for the West Indies because it was always my dream to do so. . . Growing up watching all the greats playing, every time you step in to the pitch it’s no greater feeling than looking back and seeing the public cheering you on. Shows you that you have a lot to play for,” he explained. As much as cricket is king in the northern parish – one of only two which stretch from the east coast to the west coast, the other being St Lucy – there is a lot more to it.
St Nicholas Abbey stands as a perfect example of architectural excellence. Described as one of the seven wonders of Barbados, its 350-year history is flaunted through its antiques and artifacts.
“Many tourist go exploring and just happen upon it. A lot come to Cherry Three Hill and they stop by to see it. We have had weddings here often now,” co owner Simon Warren told Barbados TODAY.
“We have a new distillery. We have the only rum in Barbados that is not blended,” he revealed. A stone’s throw away is the Wildlife Reserve, described by supervisor Betty Cumberbatch as one of St Peter’s hidden treasures. The reserve was opened in 1985 and is owned by Jon and Susan Baulu.
Cumberbatch told Barbados TODAY one of the main attractions was the feeding of the monkeys everyday at 2pm. A 10-minute drive west from the reserve is the quiet fishing village of Six Men’s. Richard McClean grew up in the area, left for a number of years and moved back permanently in 1998. He said much has changed. And he wants the village restored to its former glory. “The Six Men’s area has changed rapidly over the years.
Years ago they were much more houses out here. Where the marina is now, I used to play cricket and football out there.
s changed now. Used to have much more vendors out here. Most days are just dead.”
While describing Six Mens and Barbados on a whole as truly unique, McClean said his one wish was to see everyone come together and live as one. “I was born here so I decided to come back. Barbados is sweeter than anywhere else. You can’t find anywhere in the world like here. I wish that everyone would unite.” [email protected]