By Sean Devers
Continued from Sunday…
“The standard of club cricket in the 70s/80s was of the very highest. It was very competitive and tough cricket. It was not for the weakest of hearts. We are talking about different eras, however in my view, many of the players I played with and against in that era who did not represent Guyana would no doubt have made the team today.
One of the bedrock of playing in that era was that you had to be mentally tough because you were playing against clubs such as the Demerara cricket Club (DCC), which had players like Roy Fredericks, Mark Harper, Bill White, Lennox Hunt, Stephen Bamfield and the late Andrew Lyght to name a few. Then in later years facing up to the likes of Roger Harper, Lynden Joseph and Gavin Johnson was always a massive challenge for batsmen.
Police had Carrington, Burnett, McRae, Pydanna, Malteenoes had Rex Collymore, Victor Dias, Ray Joseph and in later years Colwin Cort, Barrington Brown and Neil Barry.
I was privileged to have played against the late Basil Butcher in a case cup game in the 70s. As an up and coming cricketer I was fearless of the batsman. Mackenzie was seen as a not so strong side and Mr Butcher was getting on in age. In that game I bowled with six fielders on the off side and three on the onside. I remember Mr Butcher kept hitting me through wide-mid wicket and, widesh mid-on. I was so confident that sooner rather than later he was going to play across the line and hit one back to me. That never happened and he scored a hundred against GCC,” Angus noted.
In Berbice, Angus represented his village team and Fort Canje Hospital team that was captained by former National selector, the late Leslie Amsterdam.
The late Stephen Camacho encouraged him to join GCC who had Faoud Bacchus, Camacho, Freddie Hartman and Rupert Gomes.
“I was excited to know that I was playing amongst that calibre of cricketers. I played for GCC from 1977 to 1981 when Orin Bailey was instrumental in me joining the GDF in 1982 after being away from the game for one year. I was welcomed by the late Colonel McPherson and the GDF players like Leslyn Lambert, Milton Pydanna and Skipper Victor Benjamin (Jack). I enjoyed representing the GDF and I have some fond memories playing for both clubs,” Angus, a level 2 Coach, informed.
“I think one of the major differences now is the money that is involved. Players sign lucrative contracts and one has to question whether the players can remain focused and committed when they are financially secured within two years; say for example an IPL contract. They are so many T/20 franchises that players are able to make decent money over a very short period. Patriotism to one’s Country seems to be a thing of the past. Frankly I cannot criticise the young cricketers because it is important that they secure their future financially especially since cricket has a very short shelf life.
West Indies cricket today have had fluctuating success, but the million-dollar question is how do they maintain consistent success?
In my opinion, the focus and emphasis has to be on grass root coaching and cricket development in schools. The school’s curriculum must include cricket as a core subject which would allow kids the time to be formally coached by quality coaches. Organising proper inter house cricket and selecting the best to represent their schools. We have to make the game attractive to youngsters.”
“When I was in Guyana in January, I did some coaching sessions with the youngsters. There are some talented players but the problem I identified was that they didn’t have proper cricket gears.
Whenever I visit Guyana I would take a suit case full of cricket gears for the youngsters however, I feel more needs to be done. It would be a great boost to the cricket if the Ministry of Sports would offer some help to players in the Village of Belladrum,” Angus continued.
Angus informed that two of his grandsons (Collis and Colwyn Noble) attended trials in 2017 for U-17 & 19 Guyana selections.
Angus said his Dad was the breadwinner and his passing had a significant impact and affected the family dynamics.
“Because no other siblings at the time was old enough to pick up the mantle, my mother made the tough decision to send my brother Joslyn and I to reside with our Grandmother in Belladrum. I lived there from nine to seventeen when I returned to Georgetown,” said Angus, whose youngest son Jamal Angus, is the National Rugby captain.
“Growing up in Belladrum, the first year was difficult. I was still mourning the passing of dad and moving to a new environment and being away from my mother and my other six siblings was a tough learning curve for me.
My late grandmother Ena Mingo, who I loved dearly, was a strict disciplinarian who did her best to support us with lots of love and attention. Over a period of time I fell in love with life in the country,” stated Angus, who is employed by Nottingham City Homes as a Rent Account Manager since 1997.
“We made cricket balls from Corrie seeds. We would cut bicycle tubes and wrap it over the seed to make a ball and made bats from branches of Coconut trees. Back in those days we had to be creative because cricket gear wasn’t as prevalent as today,” Angus remembered.
Angus was Captain of his school team and along with Ray Joseph, would often dismiss teams for less than 20.
“I believe our environment and our innovative approach to cricket, my skills was developed naturally. We were never formally coached. I had a ‘good arm’ and I believe I was able to develop such skills from pelting mangoes from the trees and chucking stones into trenches (Duck and drake).
We would put a bottle on a post and compete to see who can hit it. Nothing was conventional about my cricket development. Those were the good old days. I was fanatical about the game. In the school yard we played ‘Get the ball bowl, out the man bat and one tip 2 tip,’” Angus reminisced.
“When my mother returned to live in the village I went to live with her but she was a strict Seventh-Day-Adventist so every Saturday I had to go to church.
I would often pretend to be sick on a few Saturdays which got me out of attending church. As everyone made their way to church, I headed to the ball-field to play and got home before the family returned from church.”
“My former brother-in-law, the late Lennox King, was one of the older cricketers in the village who inspired me and supported my love for the game. I take this opportunity to express my sincere condolences to his family and friends.
The first time I wore a cricket boots it was loaned to me by Lennox. What was interesting and funny about this was that I wore a size eight shoes and Lennox wore size 10. Again I was required to be innovative because I had to wear three pairs of socks to compete in my first Guyana U-19 trial game in 1976 at the Fort Canje ground. I made the team and under captaincy of Timur Mohamed and the management of the late Stephen Camacho, we won the tournament in Jamaica.”
Angus’ most memorable moments were being on the victorious Guyana Geddes Grant Harrison line 1980 team under the leadership of the late Roy Fredericks when Guyana beat the Leewards in Antigua. Freddo made 119 of a total of 327runs in 50 overs. He got 2-36 in that game.
That record of the highest total in a Regional 50-over game lasted for 18 years until the Leeward made 330-4 against the USA in Jamaica in the 1998 Red Strip bowl, while in 2001 T&T became the first team to reach 400 when they made 409-6 against Northern Windward in Jamaica.
Being on the successful 1987 Guyana Red Stripe team was another memorable occasion for the crafty Angus despite not playing any game.
He also remembers leading Berbice to victory in a 50 overs game at Rose Hall Canje against Demerara. Angus ran out three batsmen with direct hits and was voted the man of the match.
“I played and captained the West Indian Cavaliers in Nottingham in England for quite a few years. Colwin Cort, Andrew Jackman, Gavin Johnson and quite a few other Guyanese played under my leadership.
I migrated to England in 1996 and when I departed at the time I was the Captain and Coach of the GDF. At that time, we had a few talented youngsters such as Rodrick Lovell, Robin Brown and Jermaine Neblette who all played for Guyana,” said Angus, who was in Guyana last January for his son’s birthday.
“I can say that one of my proudest moments of my career was when Ray Joseph (Josie) made his debut for Guyana U-19 at Bourda when I was Captain. It is significant because we were two boys from the ‘country’ with limited resources rising to the level of competing for our Country.
Despite all the trials and tribulations that came with pursuing one’s career as a cricketer, my love for Guyana and those involved in cricket in those days remains strong and if I had to live my life all over again I wouldn’t change a thing,” concluded Angus.
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