“I have dedicated myself so much to cricket. Cricket is my life.”
By Leon Suseran
The cricket fraternity in Guyana, and more so Berbice, knows the familiar name Hubern Evans. He has given much of his life to cricket—hundreds of young men in the Ancient County have been coached and trained by him through the years.
Hubern Evans has cricket in his blood. He loves it so much that even his wife at one time remarked that cricket seems like his first love, and then her after.
Additionally, our ‘Special Person’ this week has given over 40 years of service to the local telephone provider in Guyana. He began as a humble technician and remained steadfast in the job. Today, he is still very good at what he does and whenever Berbicians have an issue with their telephone, they would more than likely see Hubern Evans turning up at their door. He also happens to be the Second Vice-President of the Berbice Cricket Board and was also a national selector for the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB).
I recently caught up with the beloved coach and the following was divulged about his life and various pursuits.
Leon Suseran (LS): Tell us about your childhood and growing up.
Hubern Evans (HE): I was born at Sheet Anchor, East Canje. My dad was Sydney Evans, and mom, Ira Evans, both of whom worked at the National Psychiatric Hospital. My dad played cricket too. It was a lot of fun because I was a kid who always—since I’ve known myself—was with cricket. It was always cricket and me—there were four playfields next to us. We used to play so good that when we visited other villages, the guys were afraid to play against us. I grew up in a poor humble family— there were four boys and three girls. I attended Fort Ordnance Primary followed by St. Aloysius R.C Boys’ School. As I indicated, we weren’t that well-off, my dad died right after I turned 14 years and my brother had to try with us. After school, I attended New Amsterdam Technical Institute (NATI) and pursued Electronics.
LS: So that was where you got your technical training and education?
HE: Yes, and after I lived for a year in Suriname with my eldest brother and wife.
LS: Tell us about your dad and cricket
HE: Well, my dad used to play for the mental hospital. He was a left-arm spinner, a specialist fielder—so I was told, because I never got to see him play. His friends used to tell me though. When I started to play, he never used to make me see him because he always felt I would get nervous, but then he later died of a heart attack.
LS: How was life after your dad passed away?
HE: It took a toll on the family since he was the breadwinner, but my mom instilled discipline in us. I worked at the Lewis Manor Toll Station (#19 Village, Corentyne) as a booth attendant, but they had a problem since they were working shift. And it affected my cricket time. So a friend gave me a job at the mental hospital and I did construction. They needed players there, too, so I worked that job.
LS: You left the toll station job because it interfered with your playing of cricket and the schedule?
HE: Yes. The cricket started at 11:30-12:00 and if I worked the day shift, I could not play! I used to go to the mental hospital ground and play cricket from morning till night—Police team would come and meet us and then we practiced with mental staff, and it was a very, very popular ground. So, I played cricket there for the then Ministry of Works and Hydraulics, and then a guy name Sew Shivnarine said that Guyana Telecommunications Corporation (now GT&T) wanted players. I looked up a pole and saw a guy with one set of wires and I said to myself that this was a job I wanted to do. On March 17, 1977, there was an India versus West Indies game at Albion and I wanted to attend the game, so I went to the match, and started to work with GTC.
LS: Did you play for Guyana back then? What do you remember about those experiences?
HE: Yes. I got called for trials in the Under-19, but I did not get into the team because of my age. I did play for Guyana in 1977-1978 against Australia and Trinidad at Bourda. During that period was the first time the Guyanese public saw helmets used by fielders under the bat. I played with the likes of Leonard Baichan, Steven Camacho, Romel Etwaroo, Roy Fredericks—all those big names—established players playing for West Indies, so it wasn’t easy, and playing trials at that time was very, very tough as opposed to today—just going through the motions. If I had a coach, they would have worked with me in certain areas. You didn’t have a coach… rather it was managers; there was no coach to tell you what to do. I had to depend on my teammates. Alvin Kallicharran, Leonard Baichan—they were my mentors. I had to practice with them every day—all the time. I have dedicated myself so much to cricket. Cricket is my life.
LS: So you went full speed into training to become a coach?
HE: I did all my levels and passed them. The English conducted it and then the West Indies brought in some Australian coaches and I went through that also. I went to Jamaica and did my Level Two Coaching.
LS: Tell us about your work with the Young Warriors in Berbice and how this impacted cricket in Guyana as a whole?
HE: I was playing for Rose Hall and played at Bermine against these guys, and I saw that they were falling apart. Damodar Dasrath and Balram Samaroo approached me and asked me if I could help them. So I went back in Canje and resuscitated that club in 1998, and later on I got Mr. Anil Beharry and Kris Samaroo, along with Sahadeo Singh, to come on board. We were First Division Players for the Berbice Cricket Board (BCB), so Tony Ameerally put up a bleacher and had changing rooms, and from there on we moved, and the boys were so good that we won two Guyana Championships… copping Team of the Year—twice, and we also got national players in Dasrath, Richard Ramdeen, and Gajanand Singh, who happened to be three WI Under-19 players. We also have one playing presently with the WI Under-19 team, Shemroy Hetymer, only 19 years, against Bangladesh. I traveled with them to Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados, St. Kitts, St. Vincent—most of the islands —with the Under- 19 team.
LS: You coached at a national level as well, didn’t you? Tell us about the joys and challenges.
HE: I was also a national coach for the period 2004-2010 with the Guyana Under-19s and coach for the Berbice Senior Team and Under-19 and Under-15 teams. I did a lot of coaching and I still do a lot of it. I enjoy coaching. The joy is when you see the players you work with reaching new levels. I do have some discipline and confidence problems with players also. Some of our players are so shy and quiet when they go out there. I try to tell them they got to be strong. And I also feel if our players could balance education with sport they will be far better.
LS: You juggle your job and coaching today. What are typical sessions like?
HE: I do be on the ground every day, but because of my job commitment…. I know how to arrange my work with the cricket. Mr. Beharry would carry on in my absence. We do drills, batting skills, physicals, strength training—upstairs we have got weights.
It’s a blessed club, because we play all divisions of cricket—Under-13,-17,-19,-21 and first and second Division. And all players have to pay is $300 per month—they get the balls, clothes, etc., free.
LS: The Young Warriors Cricket Ground is one of the better grounds in Berbice, isn’t it?
HE: Yes, we worked hard on that ground and spent a lot of money. Right now, we are in the process of doing the fence. We’ve got two pavilions there and bought our own lawn-mowers to cut the grass, because we can’t depend on the Regional Administration; it cost us over $340,000. We raised half a million dollars on a recent Ten/10 match for funds to purchase a pitch cover. We later spent $600,000 for covers for the pitch. It is one of the better-kept grounds in Berbice.
LS: How do you feel about the state of cricket today?
HE: The West Indies seems to be on the rise with the new (Board) President they have. If one were to look at the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), it was massive and a real fantastic tournament. I do hope that our (Guyanese) youngsters emulate them. We in the BCB are no longer subsidized by the GCB, we do everything on our own but they keep asking us to provide teams for all the levels, to play—which we do.
LS: What in your opinion makes a good coach?
HE: You have to have a clear understanding of the game; good leadership qualities; a good sense of humour and positive attitude; know and understand your players; good counseling skills and good technical knowledge of the game. You have to also be a role model and set high standards. For example, I am always early for my coaching sessions.
LS: What is your advice to young cricketers?
HE: To those who aspire to be WI players or to try reach a high level… balance your cricket with education, because after cricket there is life. If you don’t have a proper education, you cannot have a proper job; unless, you played cricket over a period of years and you accumulate your money and put it to good use. But even then, there is life for after cricket. You must be able to mingle with people and be able to converse, because you find our cricketers cannot converse effectively—they really can’t talk! They are shy! They are timid. I am timid too, but when the time comes to face the camera, I have to do it.
LS: As you reflect on your life over the past years, do you see yourself doing this for much longer?
HE: As long as there is life…I do still play!
LS: You’ve been employed for quite awhile with GT&T. Share with us briefly about your work with the telephone company.
HE: My jobs are two things I love doing. I love my job so much that my life is here [in Guyana] and my family is over there [USA]. Being a technician is very challenging—I always want to know why they’re [telephones]… giving problems… Long ago, we used to strip the telephones and fix them…even the rotary dial phones we had, I used to strip them and fix them. I work on the poles—in Berbice you have to do everything—cable work; maintenance work in the subscribers’ premises. In Georgetown, there are specific persons for specific jobs. At present, I am in the office working…I am not really doing much work outside. But working with GT&T is fun.
LS: And your life away from work, what’s that like?
HE: My life is a simple one. I enjoy caring for my four dogs every day. They are Max, a pit-bull Rottweiler; Riot, Coco, and Trouble. I cook for them every day also. I am happily married to my wife, Bonita Evans, and we have three children: Hubern, Jr., Genevieve and Aritza, and three grandchildren.
The Berbice Cricket Board honoured Mr. Evans in 2008 for his outstanding services to Berbice as a cricketer, administrator and coach over the last 35 years. He received a Heroes’ Certificate and a trophy. We do believe that Hubern Evans is worthy of a place as a ‘Special Person’.2002 at the Inter-County Banks Malta Tournament at Bourda
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