Patrick Rampersad's legacy lives on, Merry Boys aim to rise again

FLASHBACK: In this May 5, 2017 file photo, Merry Boys celebrate after beating Central Sports in the TT Cricket Board T20 final, at the Brian Lara cricket Academy, Tarouba.  - Newsday
FLASHBACK: In this May 5, 2017 file photo, Merry Boys celebrate after beating Central Sports in the TT Cricket Board T20 final, at the Brian Lara cricket Academy, Tarouba. - Newsday

MONDAY marks the fourth anniversary of the death of former Merry Boys president Patrick Rampersad.

Rampersad was the heart and soul of the club. He was an involved president as he was one of the few owners you could call to get cricket scores.

This reporter, who entered the media in 2013, would call Rampersad for scores and he would always be ready to provide them. 678-1016 was a number I knew by heart.

He was always pleasant and accommodating to the media and would give the scores so quickly you had to learn to write fast to keep up.

Rampersad was instrumental in TT cricket as he served as a TT Cricket Board executive member until his death.

Merry Boys have been a powerhouse winning multiple titles as the Diego Martin-based club won the National League in back-to-back years in 2002 and 2003.

In 2008, Merry Boys lifted the crown again and this reporter had the pleasure of covering the team’s title-winning season in 2014.

Rampersad, a well-known and charismatic businessman, kept the club afloat.

New president Sebastian Edwards and captain/coach Mario Belcon believe in the potential of the club and are determined to see it reach the pinnacle again.


“It has been very harsh to call it nicely since Patrick has died,” Belcon said.

“A lot of times players take things for granted. (I am) not saying that we took him for granted, but now we see the importance of him being around, waking up early eight o’clock every day (and) not like owners who would just pay somebody to do that. He was a hands-on man…he governed it with love and responsibility.”

Belcon said Rampersad knew how to run a club.

“As a prominent businessman he also knew how to make the dollars and cents work and now that he is gone we not starved for talent, but no kind of funding (is coming)…input from the business community of Diego Martin is very rough.”

Belcon said Edwards is doing his “best” to fill the void.

Attracting sponsorship has had its challenges, Belcon said.

“We have been around begging for sponsorship. A lot has been promised, (but) little has been given. We still thankful for the little that was given and we hope that in the near future somebody get involved and see that this is not just helping a big name in cricket stay alive, but also protecting a community and giving opportunities to youngsters who could be lost in the system.”

Discussing the loss of Rampersad, Edwards said, “For me personally it was tough, it has been really tough. The club has gotten by with help from a few friends of mine who have made some contributions just to keep things going on a daily basis.”

Edwards said it has been tough to pay players their match fees.

In this May 19 file photo, president of Merry Boys Cricket Club Sebastian Edwards (L) and captain Mario Belcon speak at the Diego Martin Sporting Complex in Diego Martin. - AYANNA KINSALE

“Cricket is an expensive sport. I have gotten a couple people to sponsor one or two guys some gears, but it is really just a drop in the bucket.”


The Patrick Rampersad Academy is expected to be launched in 2022 with the aim of developing junior cricketers, especially in Diego Martin.

“In a very short time we are going to be launching the Patrick Rampersad Cricket Academy because we have a lot of youngsters around the area,” Edwards said.

“Sometimes we take boys from Diego Martin North Secondary. They come into our practice sessions (and) they get coached by the senior players. On any given day we would have 20, 30 youngsters here practising with the senior team.”

Diego Martin North Secondary is walking distance from the Diego Martin Sporting Complex where Merry Boys train.

Edwards has the vision that players in the youth academy will graduate to the senior team.

Belcon, who lives a stone’s throw away from the Diego Martin Sporting Complex, said, “I think the Patrick Rampersad Academy is a very good idea in terms of trying to bring young talent to the club. Instead of spending money (to buy senior players)…we could actually have a nursery.”

Belcon said the development of an academy is an expensive venture and financial backing is required.

“I know the economy took a hit with this lockdown…I am not asking anyone for a million dollars, but if everyone chip together (it can happen). Diego Martin is a big business community. It has Factory Road with a dozen companies.”

Belcon said the club has dropped letters to businesses in the area in hope of support.

“I don’t know what businessman won’t be happy to say that they was involved in creating the next Brian Lara or the next Curtly Ambrose.”


Merry Boys had an impressive 2022 season playing unbeaten before losing in two finals.

The club lost in the Premier II North 50-over final and the Premier II T20 final.

Belcon wants to see Merry Boys competing in the top flight again.

“I started playing national one (league) cricket at the age of 16 and this is the first time I am actually competing in premier II for any lengthy period.

“When I came into Merry Boys that’s where we were at national one competing at the highest level, so I intend to do all I can to make sure that we back at that spot competing for trophies and doing all we can do. After Queen’s Park (Cricket Club) in the west Merry Boys is known as one of the most competitive clubs.”

Edwards said the season was a success. “We had a fairly good first part of the season. Getting into two finals is not an easy feat, but that being said getting to two finals is not the end of the road. I believe we let ourselves down a bit in the finals. We had nobody to blame, but ourselves.”

Edwards said drop catches and batting errors cost Merry Boys in the finals.

He has handed the Prime Minister a business plan in an effort to see the club bounce back.

“We actually presented the Prime Minister with a business plan for the club that shows any potential sponsor what we will need to get the club back to where we want to be. There a lot of things in the plan that we hope to achieve within the next two to three years. I don’t think Merry Boys will stay in premier II for too long based on the season we had this season. We could only get better from here.”


Merry Boys are operating without a full-time coach as experienced players Belcon and Daron Cruickshank stepped up to the plate and have been coaching the team.

Edwards said, “Mario Belcon and Daron Cruickshank have done a stellar job with the guys because we still don’t have a full-time coach.”

Merry Boys had a coach for part of the 2020 season before it ended early because of the covid19 pandemic. After no cricket was played in 2021 because of the pandemic, Belcon and Cruickshank took up the responsibility of coaching this season.

Edwards said the pair of Belcon and Cruickshank added a “refreshing vibe” to the club.

“It was almost back to the days when Patrick was here…the vibes among the players, the camaraderie (was great),” Edwards said.

Belcon has accepted his added role with open arms.

“I grew accustom to this job now in terms of the coaching role. To me is not even seen as a coaching (job). It is just to give the guys a little inspiration and show them technically where I see they going wrong and give them that inspiration to go and express themselves and enjoy the cricket.”


"Patrick Rampersad’s legacy lives on, Merry Boys aim to rise again"

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