Cricket and Portugal

sar0001.jpgAs an impoverished student in Oporto in 1976, I had two priceless letters of introduction: one to the Sandeman company, and one to the British Consul.  The former led to a series of visits to each of the major port houses in Vila Nova de Gaia; the latter led to an afternoon at the Oporto Cricket and Lawn Tennis Club.  We spent no time watching tennis.

 The last reference to cricket in Portugal in Wisden dates back to the 2003 edition.  Cricket was in a parlous state in Lisbon, with one ground, which had hosted eight clubs, now seeing only four playing regularly.  “My” club, in Oporto, was far too expensive for most cricketers to join, stifling the game in the north of the country and contributing to its national decline.

 It would be nice to think that HRH Dom Duarte Pio João Miguel Gabriel Rafael, Duke of Bragança, Grand Master of the Order of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception of Vila Viçosa and Grand Master of the Royal Order of St Michael, the rightful King of Portugal, might show some interest in this deplorable state of affairs.  Cricket, like monarchy, is a unifying force.  Come on, Sir!

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