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Last Updated: Friday, 8 July, 2005, 13:54 GMT 14:54 UK
Bermuda in the big league
By Oliver Brett

Bermuda captain Clay Smith
Bermuda made light of the early loss of captain Clay Smith

If every citizen of Bermuda sat down for a match at the world's biggest cricket stadium - Eden Gardens in Calcutta - the arena would barely be half full.

So the tiny Atlantic island's feat in qualifying for the 2007 World Cup is something that can be applauded as warmly as Bangladesh's recent defeat of Australia.

Bermuda did not have things entirely their own way in the ICC Trophy in Ireland.

They avoided the group of death - which included Scotland, Canada and Holland - but came up against the Irish in their first match.

The hosts scored more than 300 and in the Bermudan reply skipper Clay Smith pulled a hamstring which kept him out of the next four matches.

But they responded with victories against the UAE, Denmark and last year's Champions Trophy debutants the USA to gain a vital spot in the semi-finals.

Coached by Gus Logie, the former West Indies batsman and coach, Bermuda can now start planning for cricket's biggest tournament.

Team manager Elvin James told BBC Sport: "We are ecstatic. It's really exciting and the guys cheered with joy after we beat the USA.

The Queen visiting Bermuda, still British owned, in 1994
Bermuda is still a Crown colony, wholly owned by Great Britain

"The crowning glory was when one of the ICC officials put his hand on my shoulder and told me: 'You're on the way to the World Cup'.

"We are going to enjoy the drive down to Dublin for the semi-finals now, because the enormity of what we have achieved is beginning to sink in."

Introduced by English settlers, cricket has a long history in Bermuda.

Since 1901, the East have played the West in an annual match on a two-day public holiday that celebrates the emancipation from slavery on the island.

For James, qualifying for the World Cup is more than just looking forward to a jamboree of cricket in the neighbouring Caribbean.

He said: "We know how big an incentive it is for young people in Bermuda and for cricket in the island.

"It is something so big for a little country that is not competing on the international stage.

"And with the funding from the ICC we are expecting to play in some more international tournaments now."

We have a number of guys who can come in and snatch one or two wickets and our batting goes right down to number 10
Elvin James

Bermuda's hero in Ireland was Janeiro Tucker, who scored runs throughout the tournament, including a big century in the crucial match against the USA.

Spinners Dwayne Leverock and Delyone Borden also performed well and James says one of the key's to his team's success was their preponderance of all-rounders.

"We have a number of guys who can come in and snatch one or two wickets and our batting goes right down to number 10," he says.

And he had an interesting observation to make about the Ireland and Middlesex star Ed Joyce.

"He's a great player. I was more impressed with the fellow Eoin Morgan though, in that particular match."

Whatever Bermuda achieve in the 2007 World Cup - a tournament which will also feature Ireland, Scotland and Canada - they know they can mix it well with likes of Joyce.

And they have already made their 65,000 fellow countrymen exceptionally proud.


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