Bermudians Feeling At Home At Handsworth

April 20, 2023

[Written by Stephen Wright]

On the fringes of Handsworth Park – two miles from the centre of Birmingham – sits a cricket club which has become a community hub for the growing number of Bermudians settling in the region.

The relationship between Handsworth Cricket Club, one of the last remaining Caribbean clubs in the Midlands, dates back several years to when Herbie Bascome, the former Bermuda all-rounder and head coach, moved to Birmingham to help further the cricketing and footballing ambitions of his talented sons.

Bascome, who lived a stone’s throw from the ground, enjoyed two successful seasons coaching the first XI, with several of his offspring playing for Handsworth’s various teams.

The link initially forged by the Bascome family has been strengthened in the subsequent years, with the number of Bermudians serving the club in various capacities growing every season.

Handsworth Cricket Club April 2023

Among the Bermudians calling the club home are Dennis Zuill, the vice-chairman and third XI coach; Justin Dembrook, the head groundsman and third XI captain; Leslie Ann Rochester, the assistant secretary and youth secretary; Gregg Foggo, the youth coach and third XI team vice-captain; Kamau Leverock, first XI all-rounder, Cameron Jeffers, first XI leg spinner; and Oyinde Bascome, a second XI all-rounder.

“Carla Bascome [Herbie’s wife] invited me to the club when I first moved to the UK,” said Zuill, a senior football coach for Sky Blues in the Community, the charity arm of Sky Bet Championship side Coventry City.

“Over the years, I’ve become friends with all the Bermudians in the area. I’ve met up with friends and family I’d not seen for years!

“Bermudians living in the region use this club as a community hub.

“There are four or five families just in my area of Smethwick [in Sandwell]. There are easily 50 families around these parts!”

Zuill, a former Bermuda national team footballer, believes it is vital that children born to Bermudian parents living in the UK maintain their heritage and culture.

“A lot of our kids are born British, but we want them to know and learn about the Bermudian culture,” said Zuill, who played cricket for Flatts Victoria and Young Men’s Socials Club.

“We’re growing in numbers in the UK, but we want to ensure our home has a place in our kids’ hearts.

“Our major aim is for the club to be a haven for the Caribbean community and the Bermudians who migrate here. They know they have somewhere to come and watch cricket and socialise.”

Handsworth CC, part of the Warwickshire Cricket Board’s African Cricket Engagement [ACE] Programme, can be an ideal launchpad for young Bermudian cricketers to further their development, according to Zuill.

“I’m looking to approach the Bermuda Cricket Board about linking up with Handsworth,” he added. “We’re a family club with a Caribbean and Bermudian flavour.

“We’d love for Bermuda teams to come and play here and have training camps. Young Bermudian players can also come and play a high standard of cricket.”

Recordo Gordon, the club chairman and former Warwickshire seam bowler, played under Bascome’s stewardship and is keen to enhance Handsworth’s relationship with Bermuda.

“The love has blossomed between Handsworth and Bermuda since Herbie’s days coaching the club,” said Gordon, who helped the first XI gain promotion to the Warwickshire League Premier Division last season.

“Bermuda may not be a Caribbean country, but the island has a Caribbean flavour.

“As one of the long-standing Caribbean clubs in England, it’s only natural for Bermudians to feel at home at the club.”

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  1. Recman says:

    What an oppoortunity this could be for Bermuda cricket…Herbie’s influence is widespread when it comes to cricket, in the UK, USA and the Caribbean…Nuff Respect for his and the Bermudian’s mentioned above contribution to the sport and to Bermuda cricket….