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History of cricket in Turks and Caicos Islands
The history of the game of cricket in the Turks and Caicos Islands dates back to well before the 1960s. Cricket is the national sport of the country as it is in many parts of the wider Caribbean.
Cricket was the only sport played throughout the year in the islands of Grand Turk and South Caicos where it was popular. It was played among the local schools where there were organised competitions. Usually one of the older boys would give advice in how to bat and bowl. There would also be matches played on Saturdays and holidays. During those times, Grand Turk would make regular visits to South Caicos for matches.
During the 1980s, there were visiting teams from New Zealand and also visiting British warships would play matches during their regular visits. It was also during the 1980s that the Turks and Caicos Islands Cricket Association was formed.
There was also an inter-island Cup organised by the Turks and Caicos Islands Cricket Association. This Cup was sponsored by the Goldblatt Company.
There were also regular organized competitions on the island of Grand Turk during the ?80s. It was on this island that the game was most popular.
During the late 1990s, the game begun to evolve on the island of Providenciales where the expat population began to expand and there was a league organised by the newly-formed Providenciales Cricket Association. There were lots of exchange visits between Grand Turk and Providenciales.
The TCICA joined the ICC in 2002 as an Affiliate Member.
In 2002, the Turks and Caicos Islands Cricket Association was included in the ICC Americas tournament in Jamaica. During this tournament, it did not fare as well as expected but gained a lot of experience from this tour.
In 2004, the TCI participated in the Division 3 tournament in Panama finishing third out of four teams.
2006 saw the TCI obtaining its best result thus far when it finished second in the ICC Americas Division 3 tournament, behind hosts Suriname.
That feat was eclipsed in 2008 when TCI won the Americas Division 3 and was promoted to Division 2 where it did not perform well ? losing all three games.
Back in Divison 3 for the 2010 edition in the Bahamas, TCI had another disappointing campaign when its only victory came against rock-bottom Brazil.
In addition to playing in the Americas Region tournament, it is one of the few countries to send its national team to tour Cuba.
Presently, there are two leagues in Grand Turk and Providenciales. The league in Grand Turk has three teams as well as the league in Providenciales. Where there are at least two tournaments played. These are mostly 35 overs-per-side competitions. The two associations of Grand Turk and Providenciales are experimenting with the Twenty20 format since this is a new form of the game which is gaining popularity.
With the support of ICC Americas office, the national association is planning an umpires coaching seminar to develop the standards of local officials.
A successful event to raise awareness of the game on the islands came when West Indies captain Chris Gayle and former WI batsman Keith Arthurton conducted a three-day coaching clinic in September 2009 that was attended by around 200 school children.