Jan 26, 2022 Letters
Kaieteur News – The writer shares the excitement of ‘Reds’ Perreira and Tony McWatt at the Georgetown Cricket Board’s proposal to induce the Ministry of Education to reintroduce cricket in our schools. One says ‘reintroduce’, for our generation began to play the game at the Primary School Level.
For example Comenius Moravian and Queenstown Roman Catholic Primary Schools would contest in ‘friendly matches’ in the Queenstown ‘Pasture’, now the location of St. Gabriel’s. Our teams were selected out of Inter-House competitions. At Q.R.C they were simply A, B, C Houses. From there one outstanding graduate was Cecil ‘Bruiser’ Thomas who went on to represent British Guiana at cricket, football, hockey and table tennis. His classmate George Sohan became a prolific batsman for the East Indian Cricket Club (now Everest) in first division competition.
Next at private secondary schools like Central High, Washington High, Indian Education Institute, Progressive High and many others, we engaged in friendly competitions mostly in cricket, on selected Friday afternoons.
Then there was a higher level of competition amongst such public schools as Queen’s College, St Stanislaus College in Demerara, and as far as Berbice High School in New Amsterdam. The two just named schools were respected competitors both at first and second division cricket competitions in Georgetown.
Cricket was actually only one of the sports scheduled for what was then called the ‘Autumn Term’ – September to December, for other programme reports included football, hockey, swimming, lawn tennis, table tennis. The athletics programme at Queen’s consisted of extended ‘heats’ then a ‘finals’ day, which was a holiday, even for the Bishops’ High School girls and our parents attend at the Guyana Cricket Ground, Bourda.
The competition in every sport at Queen’s was amongst six houses at the time, each named after previous and current masters. So that the Autumn term was treated with fervent physical activity.
Not surprisingly, in cricket in particular, many emerged from Stanislaus and Queen’s to be members of the National teams, either while still at school, or shortly afterwards. Memory recalls brothers Norman, Leslie and Peter Wight; Brian Patoir, Ossie Gibson. Charlie Stayers went on to represent the West Indies, and later played county cricket in the United Kingdom. From Queen’s Bruce Pairaudeau made his name as one of the youngest West Indies opening batsman. Then at the national level were Arnold Gibbons, Leroy Jackman, Aubrey Bishop, Cecil Pilgrim. Meanwhile, from amongst this same school team Mike Glasford, W.I ‘Bud’ Lee, Walter Chin represented British Guyana at hockey, while Ronald Bacchus and Frank Mongul (along with the writer) did so at international athletic competitions. All at the Guyana Cricket Club ground, Bourda. Then there was Maurice Moore who not long after played first division football and soon ascended to being captain of the national football team.
Out of this sporting experience, one learnt about teamanship; how to lead and be led; to share and receive criticism; to accept defeat and congratulate the winner – all attributes so much needed in these times of stress of pandemic proportions. A hearty welcome is therefore extended to Guyana Cricket Board’s school cricket.
Incidentally it may be of interest to note the professional levels achieved by some members of the same Queen’s College team – not necessarily in batting order: Gibbons – English Professor, New York University; Jackman – Attorney-at-Law; Glasford – Director of Factories, Booker Group of Companies, United Kingdom; Lee – Medical Doctor/Co-Founder, Woodlands Hospital; Chin – Medical Doctor/Co-Founder, Woodlands Hospital; Mongul – Veterinary Surgeon; Moore – Chartered Accountant; Bishop – Chancellor of the Judiciary, Guyana; Pilgrim – Guyana Diplomatic Representative to the United Kingdom; John – Human Resource Director, Booker Sugar Estate, GuySuCo, (First) Chief, Personnel Section, Caricom Secretariat.
Who was it that said all work and no play make Jack a dull boy?
At least we can introduce (masked) table tennis competitions. Surely, there is need for forging once more an environment of sportsmanship, starting with our children.
E. B. John
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