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Commonwealth Games 2002
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Cycling Saturday, 27 July, 2002, 15:35 GMT 16:35 UK
Cardigan warms to Anguillan task
Anguilla team manager Cardigan Connor
Cardigan Connor is proud to help Anguilla's athletes

Cricket has always been the Caribbean's favourite sport but it has had added benefits for Anguilla's Commonwealth Games challenge in the shape of Cardigan Connor.

The former Hampshire fast bowler arrived back on British shores as the Chef de Mission - the team manager - of the tiny Caribbean island's five-strong challenge in Manchester.

He is providing a little local knowledge, a lot of leadership - and a helping hand down at the cycling.

"Because Anguilla is new to the Commonwealth Games Federation we have limited spaces available - so it was a case of sending the ones we felt could probably do us justice," Connor said.

Connor, who played first class county cricket with Hampshire for 15 years, was in Rivington on Saturday overseeing the majority of his team compete in the men's road time trial.

Brothers Ronnie and Charles Bryan, and Kris Pradel all acquitted themselves well over the 46.8km, four-lap course, although Charles Bryan admitted that the threesome will be more at home in next Saturday's road race.

"Cycling is a new sport on the island but a very successful one," Connor said. "The whole thing is going well, especially today because the cyclists are doing very well.

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The people of Anguilla feel that I'm the one who they'd like to say is the team leader
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Cardigan Connor

"The girls who are competing in the 100m and the 200m (Desiree Cocks and Shyrone Hughes) have spent time in the United States on scholarships so they are also very well prepared."

According to Connor, cycling caught on in Anguilla after a former governor - a keen amateur cyclist - suggested that a club should be formed for the island's budding cyclists.

But how does a retired cricketer end up carrying his country's flag in the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games?

"It's a small island and Anguilla hasn't had too many sporting individuals who have achieved abroad," Connor added.

After my 15 years at Hampshire and the time I've spent back in Anguilla, the people of the island feel that I'm the one who they'd like to say is the team leader - it's something I'm very proud of."



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