A tribute to the trailblazers

—The inaugural CARICOM championships in Guyana in 1981

The victorious 1981 Jamaica team, the inaugural men’s CARICOM basketball champions.

Statistician Charwayne Walker salutes the stars of the first Caricom Basketball Championships highlighting the outstanding performances of over 30 years ago

Thirty seven years ago in August of 1981, Guyana hosted the inaugural CARICOM Basketball Championships. Seven countries participated; hosts Guyana, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica.

Jamaica emerged as inaugural champs defeating Trinidad and Tobago in the final 93-79.  The tournament was declared open by then Deputy CARICOM Secretary-General, Roderick Rainford of Jamaica and Guyana’s Minister of Sports the late Roy Fredericks. 

Star players for the champions were centre Wayne Sappleton, John Bailey and Junior Foster, while the Trinidadians depended on tournament favourite Brian John, who had the highest aggregate, centre Victor Voot O’Garro and Lennox Sobers.

Outstanding for Barbados were Malcolm Stanton, Michael Chase and Malcolm Best.

Guyana’s top performers were the late Stanislaus Hadmon, Orin Cumberbatch, Skipper Hewley Harry and James Brusche.

Wayne Harris was the star for Antigua and Barbuda while Dominica depended on Oliver Burton and Lennox Jervier.  Suriname’s heroes were Frank Menke and Dennis Spier.

This is how it unfolded 33 years ago at Guyana’s premier hoops venue.

Game NO. 1.

Guyana destroyed Dominica 93 to 53. Stanislaus Hadmon 24 points, Orin Cumberbatch 14 points. Dominica’s Oliver Burton 14 points.

Game No. 2 .

Jamaica beat Suriname 73 to 70. John Bailey 16 points, Sappleton 14 points, Dennis Thompson 12 points.  Suriname’s Frank Menke 17 points and Pang-A-Tyor 12 points.

Game No. 3 .

Trinidad humbled Suriname 111 to 99.

John scored a tournament high 40 points and Victor O’Garro 27 points.

For Suriname, Lucien Blanker scored 29 points, Dennis Spier 14 points and Jerry Beaggraat 10 points.

Game No. 4 .

Barbados defeated Antigua 94 to 84.

For Barbados, Malcolm Stanton 24 points and Dennis Osbourne 19 points.  For Antigua Noel Roberts scored 26 points and Wally Abbott 12 points.

Game No. 5 .

Guyana beat Antigua 86 to 75.

Hadmon 24 points, Compton Hinds 14 points, Orin Cumberbatch 14 points and Skipper Hewley Harry 12 points.

For Antigua Wayne Harris scored 27 points and Mark Christian 16 points.

Game No. 6.

Jamaica beat Trinidad 92 to 84.

For Jamaica, Sappleton 34 points, Bailey 18 points, Dennis Thompson 18 points.

For Trinidad, Sobers 29 points, John 21 points and Victor O’ Garlo 15 points.

Game No. 7.

Guyana lost to Barbados 58- 75.

For Guyana, Hadmon 17 points, Hewley Harry 9 points, Compton Hinds 8 points.

For Barbados, Michael Chase 18 points, Malcolm Stanton 15 points and Roger Manderville 10 points.

Game No. 8.

 Antigua beat Dominica 88 to 65.

For Antigua, Wayne Harris 23 points and Carie Knight 16 points. For Dominica Oliver Burton 16 points, Bernard Thomas 12 points and Irvine Williams 10 points.

Game No. 9

Barbados and Dominica tie 77-77.

The tie came about after Barbados officials protested against a ruling made by Guyanese Referee Winston Devonish who had disallowed a point with both teams deadlocked 69-69.

For Dominica. Lennox Jervier 19 points, Bernard Thomas 18 points, and Oliver Burton 11 points. For Barbados Malcolm Best  15 points, Dennis Osbourne 14 points, Michael Chase 12 points, Roger Manderville 11 points and  Malcolm Stanton 9 points.

Game No. 10.

Semi Finals, Jamaica beat Guyana 81 to 68.

For the Reggae Boys, Sappleton 26 points and Bailey 20 points.

For Guyana Hadmon 22 points, James Brusche 12 points, Skipper Hewley Harry 14 points and Keith Alexander 9 points.

Game No. 11.

Trinidad beat Barbados 104 to 80.

For Trinidad, John 22 points, Lennox Sobers 22 points and Victor O’Garro 20 points.  For Barbados Michael Chase 26 points, Malcolm Stanton 14 points and Malcolm Best 10 points.

Game No. 12.

 Guyana edged Barbados 79 to 76 to take the bronze medal.

For Guyana Hadmon 34 points and George Sharples 18 points. For Barbados Michael Chase scored 17 points, Malcolm Best 13 points and Malcolm Stanton 10 points.

Game No. 13

Suriname blew out Antigua & Barbuda 109 to 67.

For Suriname, Lucian Blanker 26 points, Jerry Beaggraat 16 points, Jerry Straal 15 points and  Izaak Campbell 14 points.  For Antigua & Barbuda Wayne Harris scored 10 points, E. Thomas 9 points, Mark Christian 8 points and L. Clarke 8 points.

Game No. 14 Jamaica beat Trinidad 93 to 79 in final.

For Jamaica Centre Wayne Sappleton scored 19 points, John Bailey 17 points, and Richard McGhee 13 points.  For Trinidad Brian John had a game high 27 points, Lennox Sobers 18 points and Victor O’Garro 8 points.

Before the start of the final both teams were introduced to then CARICOM Secretary General Rd. Kurleigh King and his wife.  After the tournament the first CARICOM All Star Team was selected comprising the following players:

Hewley Harry,  Stanislaus Hadmon,  James Brusche (Guyana) Lennox Sobers, Brian John,  Victor O’ Garro (Trinidad)  Wayne Harris ( Antigua & Barbuda)  Frank Menke, Dennis Spier (Suriname)   Wayne Sappleton, John Bailey and Junior Foster (Jamaica)  Malcolm Stanton  and  Michael Chase (Barbados)  and Lennox Jervier (Dominica).

The historic Guyana 1981 CARICOM championship team:

Hewley Harry – Captain Eagles, Stanislaus Hadmon – deceased Eagles, Orin Cumberbatch – Eagles, Eon Andrews – Ravens, George Sharples – Ravens, Schubert Cappell deceased – DYC, Mark Agard – Pacesetters, Brentnol Carmichael – Pacesetters, Compton Hinds – Celtics, James Brusche – YMCA Kings, Royston Telford – Yellow Birds, Keith Alexander – 76ers. Mike Brusche – Coach

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