Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home News UK

Harry's batting skills get thumbs up from cricketing greats

Published 21/11/2016

Prince Harry, presents a gift to the His Excellency Sir Rodney Williams during a welcome reception hosted at Clarence House, Antigua
Prince Harry, presents a gift to the His Excellency Sir Rodney Williams during a welcome reception hosted at Clarence House, Antigua

Prince Harry has shown off his batting skills under the watchful eye of cricketing royalty - and was given the thumbs up.

As three legends of world cricket - Sir Viv Richards, Sir Curtly Ambrose and Sir Andy Roberts - looked on, Harry joined a group of youngsters playing a match and impressed with his display of strokes.

The event was staged at an Antiguan stadium named after Sir Viv - famed for his explosive and aggressive batting - where different activities were showcased to highlight the benefits of sport to young people.

As Harry walked around the grounds he was mobbed by schoolgirls who asked for selfies and one netball player Harmony Edwards, 14, hugged the royal visitor.

At the start of the visit Harry quipped he should be kneeling at the feet of Sir Viv and he later tried to emulate him when he picked up a bat to play with the group of youngsters.

Sir Viv said later: "It was fantastic that the prince has come to Antigua. We are very grateful to him - he was so down to earth."

When Harry stepped up to the crease he made a run with his first shot but almost got himself run out the following ball, as he was eager to get back down to the batsman's end.

The prince is known to be a passionate rugby fan but he played, with his brother the Duke of Cambridge, in a charity cricket match two years ago staged in Windsor Great Park.

In the stadium he showed off a range of shots and hit a couple of powerful drives before the game ended with Harry high-fiving the youngsters.

He was watched by the Antiguan cricket legends Sir Viv, Sir Andy and Sir Curtly, who took up places in the slips but seemed more intent on sharing a joke with the prince than looking to catch him out.

They were members of a formidable West Indies cricket team which regularly beat arch rivals England during Caribbean cricket's golden period that lasted from the mid-1970s to mid-1980s.

Former West Indies captain Sir Viv was one of the most compelling and destructive batsmen of his generation - who intimidated bowlers with his aggressive batting especially in one-day matches.

His fellow Antiguans Sir Andy and Sir Curtly were deadly fast bowlers who were part of a renown pace attack that regularly ripped through their opponents.

Sir Curtly said after Harry's batting performance: "He's a wonderful guy, so down to earth, I've been to Buckingham Palace twice so I've met the Queen but I've never met Prince Harry before so it was really a pleasure.

"He said to me that I've shrunk a bit since he last saw me, but he was good fun, he really enjoyed himself and for me it was a real honour to meet him.

"He did ok, it seemed to me like he's played cricket before - watching his stance and the way he hit the ball it looked to me like he'd played some sort of cricket."

Harry, dressed casually in a shirt, trousers and trainers, also tried his hand at volleyball and energetically moved around the makeshift court.

Harry was presented with a bat signed by the three Antiguan knights of cricket when he arrived at the stadium, and when he left young cricketers created an arch with their blades for the royal to walk through.

During the visit, there was displays of boxing, the Prince tried playing tennis and his presence attracted dozens of young children involved in the event who came forward to pose for pictures with the royal.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne's four-year-old son, Prince, also ran up to take a picture with Harry and said he was excited to meet "a real prince".

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph