NAB lauds cricket legends
The National Assistance Board (NAB) paid tribute to a number of special Barbadians yesterday during Senior Citizens Month.
The 3Ws Oval of the University of the West Indies (UWI) evolved into a who’s who of Barbados cricket, when the NAB staged a special commemoration and cricket match.
But it wasn’t the cricket that kept the fans on their feet. It was the cricketing stories.
In addition, a number of former stars, including Sir Everton Weekes, Sir Wes Hall, Charlie Griffith, Seymour Nurse, and Peter Lashley were all presented with special tokens for their sterling contribution to cricket over more than half a century.
In addition, the NAB took the opportunity to host a reception to look back at the 1967 Barbados team, which played a Rest of the World side in a historic match at Kensington Oval.
Minister of Social Care and Constituency Empowerment, Steve Blackett, under whose portfolio the NAB falls, was on hand yesterday to meet team members and also hear scores of cricket stories from the living legends.
The minister acknowledged that at the time, Barbados was equivalent to a global powerhouse on the field.
“Cricketing enthusiasts just have to recall the famous cricket match of the year 1967 where Barbados fielded a cricket team which was powerful and competent enough to compete against a Rest of the World Eleven Team,” Blackett noted.
“Some members of that outstanding and world class Barbados team are in attendance here today. During this period, cricketers representing Barbados, and the Caribbean were formidable and paved the way for the West Indies to be empowered to defeat other Test teams such as Australia and England which previously appeared to be invincible. Other opposing Test teams were easily conquered and decimated by the West Indies team of that era,” the minister said proudly.
“The purists and even critics of the day applaud you, the vintage players, who exhibited such graceful, stylish and classy stroke-making. Added to that was your fiery, hostile and intimidating fast bowling as well as the penetrative and deceptive medium-paced bowling and the guile of the slow and spin bowling.
“The above was followed by your immaculate, stupendous and breath-taking catching and fielding and next, the great wicket keeping. You were a complete and compact outfit. It is debatable whether your tremendous feats on the field of play will ever be duplicated or replicated even though some of today’s cricketers recognise you as mentors and as such, attempt to emulate you.”
Blackett said that many who were on hand yesterday could concur that those players were the early ambassadors of both Barbados and West Indies cricket and have left their legacy and an indelible mark in the sport.
“You have represented your country with distinction and thus enabled us to feel proud of our Caribbean identity, especially when we defeated those who invented the wonderful game of cricket. Cognisant of the impact, role and importance of cricket to Barbadians and West Indians alike, the Ministry of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development in collaboration with the National Assistance Board has conceived of the idea of hosting this cricket match today.
“It was felt that this would present the opportune moment to help bridge the generation gap in terms of having cricketers of different generations come together to showcase skills which they have perfected over the years.”
In the special Twenty20 match played at the venue, a select Combined Schools team played a select UWI team, but it was really off the field where fans enjoyed themselves, listening to those on hand tell their cricket folk stories. (BA)