In this week’s edition of In Search of West Indies Cricket Roger Seymour looks at the forgotten scoreboard from the 1981 Shell Shield Match between Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana. At first glance it looks like just another drawn Shell Shield game between Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana at Bourda. Closer perusal of the match reveals otherwise…
Friday, January 23, 1981. A Test match size crowd has gathered for the 11 am start. The weather forecaster’s prediction of scattered showers was met with a cloudless blue sky, gentle breeze and warm sunshine. It was Guyana’s first home game for the season, and the Test players Clive Lloyd, Alvin Kallicharran, Colin Croft and Faoud Bacchus were named in the 13-man squad published in the daily newspaper on Thursday and Friday. The other players named were Andrew Lyght, Mark Harper, Tyrone Etwaroo, Derek Kallicharran, Milton Pydanna, Keshwar Persaud, Jerry Angus, Ray Joseph and Dennis Hewitt.
The West Indies had just beaten Pakistan 1-0 in a low scoring four Test series, with the lone victory at Iqbal Stadium in Faisalabad in the Second Test. The crowd buzzed with anticipation of the appearance of the Test players. The West Indies team had departed Pakistan on January 5, for London, where UK residents Lloyd and Kalli had remained; Croft had opted off at the next stop in New York. Bacchus and Pydanna arrived home on January 7. The latter two had played in the first Shell Shield game versus Barbados at Kensington Oval the previous weekend, where Guyana had been humiliated by an innings and 260 runs in just under three days by the defending champions.
Lloyd was scheduled to arrive on Thursday night, whilst Kallicharran and Croft had arrived earlier in the week. Kalli been appointed Captain, taking over the reins from Timur Mohamed who had been selected to lead the West Indies Board President’s XI versus England at Guaracara Park, Pointe-a-Pierre, Trinidad. Trinidadian opener Richard Gabriel and Guyanese off-spinner Roger Harper had also secured places for the match against the touring team which was slated for the same epoch as the Bourda encounter.
In an interview with local sportswriter, the late Quintin Taylor, on the Thursday, Trinidad’s manager Lance Pierre observed that his team was a young one. “Much will depend however on the seasoned campaigners Deryck Murray, Larry Gomes, Ranjie Nanan and Raphick Jumadeen. We have two useful quickies in Alec Burns and Eric Audain and we are expecting a lot from our mystery bowler Harold Joseph,” Pierre said. Another Trini mystery spinner?
Murray won the toss and invited the hosts to bat. The boys working in the scoreboard began putting the players’ names in place. The silverballi boards were approximately 8’ in length and 9’ in height, weighed close to 8lb and were relatively easy to handle. The names were painted in bold white capital letters on a black background. A pair of youths quickly slotted the batting line up in place on the left side of the large scoreboard: BACCHUS, ETWAROO, M HARPER, A KALLICHARRAN, LLOYD, PYDANNA, D KALLICHARRAN, PERSAUD, CROFT, BUTTS, R JOSEPH.
There was an immediate buzz around the ground. Butts? Surely there must have been a mistake. The radio commentators assured the ardent fans who had brought their transistors that there was no error. Clyde Butts of Everest Cricket Club, lived at Perseverance on the East Coast Demerara, and was virtually unknown outside of local cricketing circles. In his inaugural season at Everest in 1980 he had captured 28 wickets but had not been called to trials for the annual inter-county Jones Cup competition.
After the team returned from Barbados, Angus was suspended for disciplinary reasons and Butts an off-spinner, was invited to bowl to the Guyana team during net sessions at the Everest ground. He was getting ready to leave the ground on Wednesday afternoon to make the long trek home, when the Guyana team manager Romain Etwaroo advised him that he had been selected for the match versus Trinidad. Kalli had been impressed with his performance at the nets and had insisted on his inclusion.
The British West Indian Airways (BWIA) flight scheduled to bring Lloyd to Guyana had been rescheduled for Friday morning. As play began, Bee Wee, as it was called, was delayed again, living up to the popular interpretation of its acronym, But Will It Arrive?
Bacchus and Etwaroo opened the innings on a wicket which showed early signs of life. Guyana was soon in trouble, as Bacchus hooking at the gentle medium pace of the opening bowler Larry Gomes presented an easy catch to Joseph at mid-on. Eleven for one, with Bacchus accounting for all the scoring. Harper followed soon after, caught at the wicket, off the last ball of Burns’ third over; 16 for 2.
Alvin Kallicharran strode to the wicket. Bourda, home of the Georgetown Cricket Club, had been his home ground before he started playing for Warwickshire in the County Championships. Kalli was coming off a horrible tour of Pakistan, where “on one the worse pitches I have ever seen,” he had accumulated 80 runs in six innings, with one not out, for the miserable average of 16.00. In the previous summer’s tour of England, his form had also been horrendous. His automatic selection in the West Indies was been questioned in some quarters. If ever Kalli needed a big innings it was now.
Kalli had hardly settled and Etwaroo, attempting to cut a short pitched delivery from Gomes, only succeeded in dragging it on to his stumps; 24 for 3. Pydanna, just off his first tour with the West Indies joined his captain. The pair added 35 before, Gomes got an edge off the bat from his Pakistan tour teammate, and Cuffy at slip accepted the catch; 59 for 4. Pydanna dismissed for 12.
Derek Kallicharran joined his older sibling in the middle for the first time in a first-class game at Bourda, and the two lefthanders set about restoring the innings. At lunch, Guyana were 73 for 4, with Alvin on 25 and Derek on 10. The BWIA flight was supposed to be leaving Trinidad soon.
The order came directly from the President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana: ‘Be on the tarmac at Timehri when the BWIA plane arrives from Trinidad. Guyana needs Lloyd at Bourda.’ It’s not difficult to imagine President Burnham issuing such a directive since his personal intervention in bringing Lloyd home in 1973 when the WICBC had not selected him for the home series against the Australians, had led to him regaining a place in the West Indies side.
After lunch, the brothers applied themselves to the task, as the Trinidadians kept up the pressure. The spinners, Nanan who had played in only one Test in Pakistan, the victory at Faisalabad, Mystery Man Joseph and the Test veteran Jumadeen, kept the large crowd in suspense with their tight bowling. Deceived in flight, Derek played a lame shot and presented an easy return catch to Jumadeen. Derek had contributed 27 to the fifth wicket partnership of 46. Persaud approached the wicket; 105 for 5.
Major Larry London of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) had been sitting patiently for about half an hour in the single crew seat of the GDF’s Bell 212 civilian helicopter, when the BWIA flight from Trinidad finally arrived. Lloyd, cricket gear in hand rushed down the steps from the plane and was ushered across the tarmac to the helicopter. He had barely gotten in and Major London was seeking clearance from the control tower.
The twin engine yellow chopper emblazoned with red and green stripes and registration number 8RGDQ, climbed swiftly to 2,000 feet. Major London accelerated to 120 knots per hour, equivalent of 138 miles per hour, as he flew to Georgetown. Twelve minutes later he was descending at the site of the 1763 Monument on Vlissengen Road. Three minutes later Lloyd entered the gate between the two pavilions, on New Garden Street and sprinted to the dressing room.
“Only the rain can help we,” shouted a dejected fan in despair. In attempting a sharp single, Persaud had been run out by a direct throw from Burns. An hour’s play had been completed since lunch, the water cart was pushed on the field. Lloyd had two minutes to get dressed.
On the scoreboard, the boy working on the right side, changed the approximately 9” square metal plates. Every plate bore a single white digit with a black background. In the line opposite D KALLICHARRAN (sixth line on the scoreboard), was the word WICKETS, next to which the youth attached a plate bearing the number 6. Below WICKETS, in smaller capital letters were the words LAST WICKET, with, FELL AT, immediately underneath it. On the middle of the three nails to the right of this caption, he flipped the 0 of the middle plate to show 1, and replaced the 5 on the inner plate with a plate displaying 2. Ron Legall, the official scorer verified the change in the scorebook, 112 for 6.
West Indian Captain Clive Lloyd’s arrival was greeted with thunderous applause. He had still had to change his shoes and adjust his thigh pad at the wicket, before he was ready to commence battle. At the other end his captain, Kalli, was holding the fort, playing with restraint and caution. Lloyd wasted no time in taking the attack to the bowlers, straight driving Jumadeen for four, and later on for a lofty six.
Lloyd and Kalli were among the best exponents of the art of running between the wickets, and they soon had the crowd roaring their support. Lloyd’s form soon inspired Kalli to find his touch and he started to play his usual array of spectacular shots. The Trinidadians fielded with great determination, with Burns and Logie earning the crowd’s approval on several occasions.
The two left-handers soon imposed their will on the inning as the pendulum swung in Guyana’s favour. By the close Guyana had recovered to 275 for 6, with Kalli on 128 and Lloyd on 71. Their unbroken partnership had produced 163 in just under three hours.
The ‘rescue act’ resumed next morning with the pair treating the packed Bourda crowd to another exhibition of stroke play. Murray depended heavily on his spin trio who received little respect from the run chasers. Lloyd deposited a delivery from Nanan over the commentators’ booth into Regent Street. Lloyd’s 100 came in 225 minutes and contained eight 4s and two 6s. The 200 partnership was well received by the enthusiastic crowd, as the runs flowed from the bats of the two Test players. Kalli got to 150 with a straight drive off Nanan for his seventeenth boundary.
Lloyd was dropped by Joseph off of his own bowling when he was on 136, before Aneuil Rajah took a great catch at deep mid-on off Jumadeen to dismiss the WI Skipper. His innings of 144 had lasted 281 minutes, and included thirteen 4s and four 6s. As he departed to a standing ovation from the appreciative crowd, the TOTAL on the scoreboard read 398. The seventh wicket partnership had produced 286 runs, passing the previous Shell Shield record of 149 set by the Barbadian duo of Emerson Trotman and Malcolm Marshall against the Combined Islands in 1980 at Kensington Oval, Barbados.
Kalli followed 16 runs later, stumped by Murray off of Nanan. His majestic innings of 184 had lasted almost four sessions of play, and contained 22 boundaries. In the words of Quintin Taylor, “[It’s] probably the best innings he has ever played …”
At the close of play Trinidad and Tobago, replying to Guyana’s 439, had reached 158 for 3 with Logie (54) and Cuffy (39), the not out batsmen. The Trinidad spin trio had the following returns: Nanan 46 (O) 19(M) 83(R) 1(W), Jumadeen 41.4-6-137-4, Joseph 29-3-106-0. Butts had taken his maiden wicket, the prized scalp of Larry Gomes, caught by Pydanna for 26.
At Guaracara Park, England had accumulated 483 for 6 declared, with Roger Harper taking five wickets. In reply, the President’s XI were 133 for 4.
Trinidad and Tobago declared at 338 for 9, thus conceding first innings to Guyana. Cuffy (88), Logie (64), Burns (45), and Nanan (36), were the principal scorers. Butts added Deryck Murray and Nanan to his list of wickets, as he took 3 for 61 to support Croft’s 3 for 71.
The match finished in a draw as rain intervened on the Monday. Bacchus (41) and Etwaroo (69) added 114 for the first wicket before Joseph bowled the former for his lone wicket in the match.
Guyana 15 points – 8 for 1st win, Bonus 4 for batting, 3 for bowling
Trinidad 11 points – 2 for 1st loss, Bonus 6 for batting, 3 for bowling
The Bourda match was the last first-class game for Trinidadians Colin Everton Murray, Raphick Jumadeen, a veteran of 12 Tests and Guyanese Keshwar Persaud. It was Deryck Murray’s last appearance at Bourda, in his final season of regional cricket.
In the next round, Logie scored 125 against a Barbados attack included Malcolm Marshall, Joel Garner and Sylvester Clarke.
Alvin Kallicharran broke a finger in the match with the Combined Islands at Queen’s Park, St George’s, Grenada, February 7 to 10. His season was over.
Lloyd had an incredible season with the bat. The next weekend he scored 117 not out against Jamaica at Albion, as Guyana lost by 11 runs on 1st innings. Against the Combined Islands he was run out for 49, as Guyana were bundled out for 96 in the 1st innings, and 35 not out in the 2nd innings as Guyana lost by 165 runs.
In the Test Series against England, in six innings he scored 64 (1st Test), 100 and 66 (3rd ), 58 (4th), 95 (5th). The Second Test was cancelled.
In October, Faoud Bacchus led a Young West Indies team on a tour of Zimbabwe. Members of the team included Desmond Haynes, Timur Mohamed, Everton Mattis, Gus Logie, Jeffrey Dujon, Malcolm Marshall and Wayne Daniel.
The West Indies toured Australia from November 5, 1981 to February 5, 1982 for a three-Test series. When the team was announced on the August 18, 1981 in Barbados, Alvin Kallicharran’s name was missing. In the winter of 1981, Kalli opted to play for Transvaal in South Africa.
Clyde Butts would become the leading wicket taker in regional cricket, and played eight Test matches in an era when the West Indies relied almost exclusively on fast bowlers
And the mystery spinner, the little guy, Harold Joseph? Apparently, he had mesmerized Clive Lloyd in the Bourda match, causing him some difficulty. Harold Joseph was selected for both Zimbabwe and Australia. On the latter Tour, he never played after Christmas. He tossed his leg breaks and googlies until the 1987/88 season for Trinidad, but never was selected for another WI Tour much to the disappointment of his teammates, many of whom found him incredibly funny. The last I heard, he was raising horses in south Trinidad.
And the scoreboard at Bourda? The scoreboard was taken down a few years ago. There are four upright supports still reaching for the sky, the name boards have rotted a long time ago, the metal plates with the numbers are still there: 286, is the still the Guyana record for the seventh wicket.