From Black Rock boy to world class cricketer
Tribute by Minister of Sports John King on the passing of Seymour Nurse.
SEYMOUR MacDONALD NURSE was born on November 10, 1933, at Jack-My-Nanny Gap, Black Rock, St Michael, in humble circumstances to his mother, a domestic, and his father, a carpenter.
He was the youngest of four children, two boys and two girls. He was educated at St Stephen’s Boys’ School where he excelled in both football and cricket.
He ultimately chose cricket after a severe leg injury ended his football career. He then heeded the advice of his father: “Stay in cricket and quit football; otherwise you are on your own.”
Nurse started his cricketing career like many Barbadian cricketers – in the Barbados Cricket League. He played for the Bay Street Boys’ Club, the same club where Sir Garfield Sobers played as a young man.
Nurse emerged as a heavy scorer in the Barbados Cricket League in the 1950s and moved to the famous Empire Cricket Club where his form and strokeplay blossomed.
He was named Wisden Cricketer Of The Year in 1967 for his exploits in the summer of 1966. On the 1968-1969 tour of New Zealand, Nurse scored 558 runs in three Tests, including a century and a double century.
His last innings of 258 saw him retire from international cricket after that tour, but he continued to play for Empire and Barbados for a number of seasons in the 1970s.
Nurse was a “wristy, stylish and classy batsman”; he was a joy to watch. It was often said that the master batsman made batting look easy and many of the game’s aficionados often commented that he played strokes with the authority of the men who invented them.
He was employed as a full-time coach at the National Sports Council in 1978. The players coached by Nurse include Malcolm Marshall, Wayne Daniel, Joel Garner, Thelston Payne, Carlisle Best, Desmond Haynes, Roland Holder, Patterson Thompson, Courtney Browne, Ian Bradshaw and Sherwin Campbell.
Among his other accomplishments, Nurse had been an honorary life member of the Marylebone Cricket Club since the 1970s; he worked at the National Sports Council as a coach and senior sports administrator for 33 years, rising to the position of acting assistant director of sports; and served as liaison officer for many teams including the Australia and West Indies Test teams.
He also served as a manager to the Barbados and West Indies cricket teams. Additionally, it should be noted that this master batsman played masters cricket for Empire in the 1970s and batted without being dismissed for two seasons.
Nurse was a mentor and hero to many of our past West Indian greats and exemplified the power of sports, rising from humble beginnings to become a world class cricketer and indeed a Barbadian hero.
He was an exemplary cricketer and person and will be missed by the entire cricketing world.
As minister with responsibility for sports, I wish to extend sincere condolences to his family on behalf of my ministry and the people of Barbados.
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