Inside the Elite Division
with Keith Holder
Date Published: 2018-09-28
EXCLUSIVE: Bishop reflects after becoming only third bowler to grab 900 wickets in BCA top league
Bridgetown, Barbados, September 28 - (www.bcacricket.org) - Buoyant Derick Bishop is now only the third bowler to grab 900 wickets in the top Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) three-day Championship in the last 40 years.
And with local domestic records extremely difficult to trace, or even exist on a regular basis prior to the turn of the 1980s, it can be argued that the achievement covers at least the last half-century.
Bishop, a 34-year-old Crane Resort St. Catherine all-rounder who has consistently gained attention for his outstanding left-arm spin bowling, but has also produced significantly with the bat as a right-hander, scoring 5500 runs, joined Winston Reid and Sherlon Greaves in the very special 900-wicket club when he snatched his second wicket en route to figures of five for 85 off 18.4 overs against CounterPoint Wanderers at Dayrells Road on September 22 - the first day of Series 5 in the Elite three-day division (rebranded from First division in 2012).
Left-arm spinner Reid, who celebrates his 56th birthday on September 29, finished with an all-time record of 1579 wickets at an average of 12.51 in 302 matches between 1981 and 2015 (he did not play in 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013 and 2014) after first retiring at the end of the 2007 season; and no one in living memory can recall a bowler ever taking as many as 1500 wickets at this level), while the 56-year-old Greaves, a leg-spinning all-rounder and now a Barbados Pride selector, took 933 at 15.46 runs apiece in 264 matches between 1981 and 2011 (he did not play in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2010)
Both Reid and Greaves are former Barbados first-class and one-day players.
The 900th scalp for the diminutive Bishop was enterprising 23-year-old first-class all-rounder Roshon Primus, who was bowled after blasting 108 off 107 balls with 13 fours and four sixes - his third Elite division century and second of the season - in a first innings total of 280 all out in 54.4 overs after Wanderers were sent in.
St. Catherine closed on 66 for three off 10.1 overs.
“It’s a great feeling, honestly,” Bishop told BCAcricket.org in a wide-ranging interview as he reflected on his feat and his intriguing career.
“I’ve put in a lot of hard work over the years and it’s nice to see the success. I’m really happy also that some of those wickets were able to help Combined Schools and St. Catherine win some matches.” (See full interview later in the story).
Bishop’s battle with the belligerent Primus started from the very first ball Primus faced after he had accounted for another talented batsman, Jonathan Drakes, caught at mid-off by Dwayne Skeete for 16 with four boundaries, having been lured into a drive.
Introduced from the Richard “Prof” Edwards end at the south after only five overs with the score 43 for one, Bishop conceded nine runs off his first over.
He was removed after three overs which cost 12 runs with the score 70 for one and brought back for the 13th over at the Stephen Farmer end. Off his fourth delivery, he dismissed Drakes and then seemed confident he had Primus out in the next ball to a catch at the wicket by Mario Rampersaud, who joined the bowler in a raucous appeal as the batsman pushed tentatively.
By tea, Bishop had one for 63 off 14 overs including one maiden with Wanderers on 187 for four off 36 overs. Primus was on 62.
Asked if he felt Primus was out first ball, Bishop responded: “Yes, I did but then speaking to the umpire (Tremaine Prescod), he told me it didn’t hit so we both laughed and I said ‘wait I like I surprise I got the ball to turn that big’.
Primus then blasted the next ball out of the ground with a straight drive as he helped to rebuild the innings.
Bishop’s special moment eventually came just under an hour after tea - at 3:55 p.m. - when he fittingly removed Primus.
“I decided he was in a zone after he reached his hundred so I decided to bowl that delivery from behind the stumps which would delay the time the ball reached him by a couple seconds and it worked,” Bishop remarked.
His figures then read: 16-1-79-2.
Pressed as to whether he was anxious at the start of the innings to attain 900 wickets, Bishop said: “Yes, please.”
“I was (anxious) the night before and even during the game I was on the field studying. I was wondering how the wicket would come, if bowled, caught, stumped or leg before wicket. So, yes the nerves were there but my main focus was going out there and putting our team in a great position.”
Bishop went on to take the wickets of Michael Agard (19), Kevin McClean (seven) and Barbados Under-19 team captain Joshua Bishop (two), who was playing his first match for Wanderers after representing Barbados Youth in the first two matches of the season and then turning out for Barbados in the regional Youth three-day and one-day Tournaments in St. Vincent in August.
The last five wickets tumbled for 15 runs in 5.4 overs, sparked by Primus’ dismissal.
Research by this correspondent, who has been compiling statistics on the major BCA Championship since 1981, revealed that Reid achieved his 900th scalp in his 197th match, Greaves in his 244th and Bishop in his 187th.
But Greaves, who took his wickets playing solely for Empire after spending two seasons with Combined Schools (now known as Barbados Youth) before joining LIME (now called Gladiola) as a player/coach in the latter part of an illustrious local domestic career, took the least number of overs to reach 900.
At the completion of the innings during which he got to 900 wickets in 2002 (statistics dating from 1981), Greaves had sent down 4556.1 overs including 707 maidens, taking 902 at an average of 15.41.
Reid, whose career started at YMPC in 1981 before moving to Banks (now named Wildey) in 1998 (he represented YMPC for 17 years, taking 803 wickets at 12.87 runs each in 182 matches) bowled 4914.4 overs including 1282 maidens and boasted of 902 wickets at 12.74 runs each following the end of the innings in which he attained the feat in 1999.
Bishop, who unfortunately at the senior level for Barbados played only two matches in the now defunct Stanford Twenty20 Tournament in 2008 after turning out for the University of West Indies in three one-day matches in the Red Stripe Bowl Tournament in 2003, got to 900 wickets in 5441.4 overs, 1179 maidens, at an average of 16.06. At the end of the innings, his record showed 5444.2 overs, 1179 maidens and 903 wickets at an average of 16.02.
Bishop started his career in 2000 for Schools South while a student at Deighton Griffith Secondary, and represented Combined Schools in 2001 and 2002. Thereafter, he has only played for St. Catherine.
There are three marked co-incidences as far as Reid and Bishop are concerned. Both went into a new season with 875 wickets, both picked up five wickets in an innings en route to 900 and both did it after playing in five matches of the new season.
In the case of Reid, he had to wait until the eighth series (he took five for 22 off 17.2 overs including eight maidens in the first innings against Schools North at St. James Secondary) of a then 14-team Competition, as he did not play in Round 3 and then missed Series 5 and 6 while representing Barbados in the regional one-day Tournament (Red Stripe Bowl).
Greaves reached 900 against old rivals Spartan in taking three for 44 at Bank Hall (Series 10) after playing in the first two rounds and then missing the next five due to a professional contract in Britain.
Greaves can boast of being the top all-rounder all told in the period under review. In 264 matches, he amassed 7646 runs including seven centuries (ave: 23.52) and took 933 wickets (ave: 15.46).
In his 187 matches to date, Bishop has scored exactly 5500 runs with four hundreds (ave: 22.54) and taken 903 wickets (ave: 16.02).
Bishop’s best all-round season was unquestionably in 2009 when he amassed 829 runs (ave: 43.63) with two centuries, and took 58 wickets (ave: 20.17). The most wickets he has gained in a season are 85 (ave: 12.20) with eight five-wicket and four ten-wicket hauls in nine matches in 2015.
So far this season, he has 242 runs including one century (ave: 48.40) and the most wickets all told - 28 at 17.46 runs apiece.
On August 30, 2015, Bishop became the first bowler in 22 years to take all ten wickets in an innings in the top league Championship as he spurred St. Catherine to a commanding 160-run win over the then defending champions Empire on a remarkable third and final day of Series 5.
Bishop's treasured Bayfield ground turned into a scene of wild celebrations after he grabbed ten for 24 off 16.4 consecutive overs for a match haul of 13 for 91 off 40.4 overs to become the first bowler for the season to record 50 wickets.
It was the tenth time in 15 successive seasons at this level that Bishop had captured over 50 wickets and he also took over 50 wickets the following season (See his full statistics at the bottom of the Page).
In the previous series, Bishop had a match haul of 15 for 141 including nine for 59 in the second innings against ESA Field Pickwick, also at Bayfield. It was the first time he had taken nine wickets in an innings.
Kenrick Marshall, the outstanding, former Police fast bowling all-rounder, was the other bowler to snatch all ten wickets in an innings - in 1993 against Combined Schools North at St. James Secondary.
Marshall took ten for ten in the first innings and ended with match figures of 16 for 38 (still the best in the last 38 seasons) as Police won by 82 runs in a 10th series First division match.
Since the Championship was rebranded from Division 1 to Elite in 2012, it has been contested by ten teams after a new promotion/relegation system was introduced in 2009.
Bishop played just two matches for Barbados in the now defunct Stanford Twenty20 Tournament in 2008 following three List A (50-over) matches for the University of the West Indies in the regional Championship five years, ironically making his debut against Barbados.
And he made no bones about his disappointment at not representing the region’s most decorated first-class territory since 1966 - the year sponsored Tournaments started and also the year of the island’s Independence - in first-class and one-day Tournaments.
“I’m very disappointed. From young all I ever wanted to do was play cricket. I wanted to represent my country at all levels and then go on to play for the West Indies,” Bishop told BCAcricket.org.
“I was never prepared for the adversities which I faced at the ending of Under-19, leading into senior level but over time with a great support system I started to accept it and tell myself that even though I may not get to be seen by the world, I’ll make sure whatever level I play at I’ll be the best player I can be and be able to motivate those coming after me to do their best wherever they play.
“I’ll like to thank those who thought they could have broken me and held me back from living the dream I wanted to live. But God had other plans for me and these accomplishments are even sweeter to be able to rise and shine through all the setbacks and adversities. So thanks for making me more determined than I ever was before.”
Following is the exclusive interview with Bishop:
HOLDER: How does it feel to gain 900 BCA top division wickets?
BISHOP: It’s a great feeling, honestly. I’ve put in a lot of hard work over the years and it’s nice to see the success. I’m really happy also that some of those wickets were able to help Combined Schools and St. Catherine win some matches.
HOLDER: Describe the ball which dismissed Roshon Primus to earn your 900th wicket?
BISHOP: I decided he was in a zone after he reached his hundred, so I decided to bowl that delivery from behind the stumps which would delay the time the ball reached him by a couple seconds and it worked.
HOLDER: Were you anxious at the start of the innings to get the two wickets needed for the landmark?
BISHOP: Yes, please. I was anxious the night before and even during the game I was on the field studying. I was wondering how the wicket would come, if bowled, caught, stumped or leg before wicket. So, yes the nerves were there but my main focus was going out there and putting our team in a great position.
HOLDER: There was a very confident appeal for a catch at the wicket against Primus off the first ball he received from you following the dismissal of Jonathan Drakes. Did you believe he was out?
BISHOP: Yes, I did but then speaking to the umpire (Tremaine Prescod) he told me it didn’t hit so we both laughed and I said ‘wait I like I surprise I got the ball to turn that big’.
HOLDER: Since 1981 you are now only the third bowler along with Winston Reid and Sherlon Greaves to reach the 900-wicket mark. What would you attribute to your success over the years?
BISHOP: God and great support from family, friends, team-mates, hard work, self-belief and determination.
HOLDER: As an all-rounder with exactly 5 500 runs prior to the match against Wanderers and now 903 wickets at just over 16 runs each in 187 matches, how have you been able to combine both bowling and batting successfully?
BISHOP: Honestly, I guess it comes down to working hard and setting yourself goals. I know I can bat and I love batting more than bowling so before every season I’ll set myself goals and look to achieve them. I honestly work hard at practice and challenge myself.
HOLDER: Describe yourself as a bowler and a batsman in terms of style.
BISHOP: I am a very patient bowler and a batsman (right-hander) who likes to score. I don’t like being tied down, always looking for a way to get a run.
HOLDER: Do you like the current fixtures where a lot of one-day and Twenty20 cricket is played before the major three-day Championship starts?
BISHOP: No, I honestly don’t.
HOLDER: You are one of only two bowlers at this level to take ten wickets in an innings in the period under review. I assume you would say the feat against Empire three years ago is your most satisfying. On reflection, what was the feeling like?
BISHOP: Wow! Up to recently I was speaking to my best friend Dale “Ouchy” Mason (former St. Catherine captain), and I was telling him I still don’t understand it. Ten wickets in an innings. I try to relive that moment so much and all I can remember was the victory first and then the guys telling me but Bish you got all ten.
I can remember that the game before against Pickwick I got nine in an innings and I was like ‘wow, suppose sometime I got ten’.
HOLDER: Which team do you consider to be the toughest?
BISHOP: UWI is always a competitive team and I love the challenge with them.
HOLDER: How do you find the pitches generally?
BISHOP: I find them to be good.
HOLDER: Who are some of the toughest batsmen you have encountered in the major BCA three-day Championship?
BISHOP: Wow, I can’t honestly remember all but I’ll call a few before and coming up to recently. Philo Wallace, Dale Richards, Thelston Payne, Floyd Reifer, Santon Proverbs, Jonathan Carter, Shamarh Brooks.
All of those batsmen will challenge your skills and I loved the challenge.
HOLDER: How much longer do you intend to play bearing in mind 1000 wickets would be very special and even the thought of breaking Winston Reid’s all-time record of 1579?
BISHOP: Well, I can’t answer that at the moment. It all depends on how my body feels to be honest.
HOLDER: What keeps you going?
BISHOP: Family, friends, fans and team-mates.
HOLDER: What is your favourite ground and the one you dislike playing at most?
BISHOP: There’s no place like home (Bayfield) but if you need another ground I Iove, it is Wanderers (Dayrells Road). I don’t dislike any.
HOLDER: How disappointed are you at not playing first-class and one-day cricket for Barbados?
BISHOP: I’m very disappointed. From young all I ever wanted to do was play cricket. I wanted to represent my country at all levels and then go on to play for the West Indies.
I was never prepared for the adversities which I faced at the ending of Under-19, leading into senior level but over time with a great support system I started to accept it and tell myself that even though I may not get to be seen by the world, I’ll make sure whatever level I play at I’ll be the best player I can be and be able to motivate those coming after me to do their best wherever they play.
HOLDER: Do you consider St. Catherine to be a clannish team as I often refer to them?
BISHOP: We’re a family for sure. Lol. And I’ll love that team forever. St. Catherine to the world as our fans will say.
HOLDER: How much do the St. Catherine fans, mainly those who religiously follow you, impact on how you play?
BISHOP: They have a huge impact on my game. They make me feel very accepted and they drive me to go out there and perform each day. I love them all.
HOLDER: What is your professional job and how long have you been working at BNOC?
BISHOP: I’m a pipe fitter at BNOC and I have been working there for 15 years now.
HOLDER: Where did you grow up?
BISHOP: I grew up in Harlington, St. Philip. Both Kenroy Williams (long-standing St. Catherine team-mate) and myself grew up just a gap apart. A real cricket community. All we came up knowing was cricket, morning, noon and night. That’s all we used to play.
We would always be encouraged by those in the community to do well and whenever we got home from cricket they can always tell us what we did and those who didn’t know would be waiting to hear.
HOLDER: Are there any persons you would like to thank for helping you with your progress and success?
BISHOP: First of all, I’ll like to thank God, then my Dad (George “Brecka” Rawlins) who was there with me from Day 1. I just want him to know how much I appreciate all that he did for me over the years. My Mum (Ruth Bishop), my siblings, my best friend Dale Mason, my coaches from St. Martin’s Mangrove Primary School, Deighton Griffith Secondary School, Under-15s, Under-19s, Senior. Also my friends, my employers for giving me time out whenever needed to practice, either nationally or club-wise, my workmates, my teammates, my fans.
Most of all I’ll like to thank those who thought they could have broken me and held me back from living the dream I wanted to live. But God had other plans for me and these accomplishments are even sweeter to be able to rise and shine through all the setbacks and adversities. So thanks for making me more determined than I ever was before.
Thank you very much and thanks for all the years of support also.
HOLDER: Thank you as well.