William Dobson is the founder of The St. George's Cricket Club based in Beirut, the Capital City of Lebanon. William has been playing Cricket from long, but because of limited facilities now, lately his Cricket has slowed down. St. George's Cricket Club has hosted number of Cricket tournaments and this has brought significant growth in the Cricket scenario of the City. In the interview, William has mentioned several incidents which has affected Cricket a lot and continues to do so. William feels that better funding from Government and Sponsors can pave the way for Cricket, which is still an alien sport for the rest of Lebanon Community.
1. Tell us about you?
Full Name: William Dobson
Date of Birth: 11/03/1986
Playing Role: All-Rounder
2. At Present: Are you a Coach? A cricket player? A cricket related business? A club Owner? A cricket Fan? Mention your work profile (if anything else).
I'm a school teacher, also I am founder of The St. George's Cricket Club of Beirut, a very small club in Lebanon, made up predominantly of English ex-pats.
3. Are you playing cricket currently? If Yes - Since how long are you playing cricket? What level of cricket have you played so far in your country?
I have been playing cricket all my life (including three first class games while at university) but now I am limited to playing tennis ball cricket in a car park in Beirut as the country doesn't have the facilities or space for anything more.
4. Do you play for any club or a team? Mention their names? When was it founded? Where are you working currently?
The St. George's Cricket Club of Beirut was founded in 2013 and have hosted a number of cricket tournaments in which our team has competed (although hasn't actually won a game yet).
5. Where do you and your team see yourself in coming 5 years? Where do you want to focus in order to improve your cricket?
To be honest, as a group of itinerant individuals, with people coming and going the whole time, our focus isn't on improving our own cricket but using cricket to improve the lives of migrant workers living in the country. Routinely subjected to living in conditions which are far from ideal and pushed to the periphery of society, we want to use cricket as a medium to promote the culture of South Asia and bring together the different strata of society.
6. Do your club/association have any website or Facebook page? Mention their links.
7. Any recent achievements/activities that you had. (It could be organising a small camp, or just playing a match or organising a cricket camp or playing a tournament series) Do mention the date.
We have had three tournaments in the last year and a half, raising over $3,000 for the migrant communities here, and showcasing the culture of cricket playing nations through food, dance and music. Furthermore, last September, ICC360 were due to film a short documentary about cricket in Lebanon. However, we were hindered by the fact that prevailing racist attitudes still exist here and, at the last minute, we were denied permission to use the car park in which we usually play and the documentary has been postponed indefinitely. We are hoping to rectify the situation and host another event in August.
8. Would you like to come to India for a tournament or a coaching camp? Or do you want to travel any other country (if Yes, please mention the name)?
While I personally feel my days of playing cricket at a serious level are over, I am sure there are plenty of people here who would love to attend a tournament or training camp in India at some point in the future.
9. What are the challenges you are facing in your country's cricket? If any, how do you feel to overcome those challenges?
The challenges are manifold. We have very few places in which to actually play. Furthermore, because migrants are often treated as second class citizens here the opportunities we do have to play, raise money and enjoy the sport are often hindered by racist attitudes and, in addition, a lack of interest or knowledge both of the sport and the cultures of those who play as well. Indeed, apart from the most recent setback mention previously, in the past, migrants have been arrested at gun point while playing cricket and had their papers checked to make sure they are not living here illegally. This is something we have started to change through hosting tournaments, being featured in newspapers and magazines and by providing a spectacle, not just in terms of cricket itself, but other colourful aspects of South Asian culture such as food, music, dance and joie de vivre.
10. One thing that you instantly need that would boost the involvement of people in your country's cricket?
We need greater organisation from a top down level, perhaps even governmental support (which we would probably never get) to make sure we have a place where we can play without issue and without legal ramifications. Furthermore, funding for our tournaments would be hugely beneficial as, currently, we rely on sponsorship, which is very hard to come by in a country where people know little about the sport, or our own money.
11. Name any 3 active Cricket Clubs from your locality, Country. Also mention the name and email id of these 3 clubs.
Nomads Cricket Club
Mkalles Cricket Club
12. Would you like to nominate any club from your country for a free website from Global Cricket Community? If Yes, Why?
Yes - Nomads as they have been playing here for over 20 years without any support or outside help. A website would be a great boost to them and help spread the word about cricket in Lebanon further.