Inside the Elite Division
with Keith Holder
Date Published: 2020-05-14
BCA Top 40: From Revolution to Renaissance in 1988 as YMPC sensationally snatch first ever title
Bridgetown, Barbados, May 14 - (www.bcacricket.org) - This year, 2020, marks the 40th in which Keith Holder has been compiling statistics on the premier Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) Championship.
Formerly known as the First division since 1892, it was rebranded as the Elite division in 2012 - three years after the promotion and demotion system was introduced.
To mark his four decades of keeping track on the performances of all the teams and players, Holder will ultimately feature a BCA Top 40 in batting, bowling and fielding (most runs, most wickets etc).
Over the next couple of months, he will be highlighting the leading performances in each season.
Anderson Cummins stars in dramatic win for Beckles Road team
Drama and controversy were part and parcel of the First division Championship in the decade of the 1980s.
From a boycott of the first three rounds of matches in 1981 by the Barbados Cricket Umpires Association (BCUA) over differences with the BCA pertaining to a Rule change, to nerve-jangling finishes at the wire the same year, as well as in 1983, ’86 and a revolutionary ’87, the 1988 season will long be remembered as arguably the wettest in the last four decades, and for a first ever capture of the title by Young Men’s Progressive Club (YMPC) in a most sensational setting.
In the rain-hit last round against Spartan at Queen’s Park, chasing 82 to win, YMPC squeezed home by one wicket in rapidly fading light.
They lost their first two wickets with only seven runs on the board, then recovered to 50 before the next wicket fell.
YMPC then plunged to 77 for nine before fast bowlers William Bourne and Charles “Max Walker” Alleyne, with some luck at the “death”, scampered a bye off the first ball of the very last over of the match from pacer Ezra Moseley to spark wild celebrations. (See details later in this story).
Rain impacted on the season to such an extent that there were only 11 outright victories, and as many as 13 no results.
Of those wins, YMPC, under a new captain in batsman Stephen Lorde - he replaced left-arm spinner Winston Reid after a wretched 1987 season in which the Beckles Road team lost a whopping five matches and finished second last - had three and second-placed and dethroned champions Police, two.
And YMPC’s 36 points - three more than Police - were the least for a team lifting the Championship in the decade.
Police, led for the first time by burly all-rounder Dave “Chief” Cumberbatch, a left-arm spinner and right-hand batsman (Cumberbatch is a former Barbados Youth team captain and West Indies Under-19 team player, who also played at the first-class level for Barbados and is now a lawyer and politician, who contested the 2018 general elections on a Democratic Labour Party ticket in St. Peter) were the only team to register a win in the opening round, soundly beating Maple at nine wickets at Weymouth.
Pickwick briefly took over the lead after Series 3 when they beat Spartan by 56 runs at Kensington Oval before Police returned to the top, jointly with four other teams - Pickwick, YMPC, BCL and Carlton - on 13 points at the end of the fourth round.
Then Police led alone from Series 5 right down to the penultimate round when the Points table showed five teams with a chance of silverware - Police 30, YMPC 28, Empire 27, Maple 24 and St. Catherine 23.
Therefore in the final round, the matches which mattered were: Police v Empire at Weymouth, Spartan v YMPC at Queen’s Park and Maple v St. Catherine at Trents.
Rain again played a telling part and there was only one outright result.
At Queen’s Park, there was no play on the first day and after losing the toss on Day 2, Spartan, batting with two players short in Wayne Alleyne and “big-hitter” Donovan Lovell, were fired out for 40 off 16.4 overs on a slow pitch and a heavily-grassed, wet outfield.
The only batsman to reach double-figures was Moseley with 27 at No. 6.
There were four “ducks” - openers Feliston Gilkes and Franklyn “Cookie” Stephenson, Livingstone Puckerin and Ronnie Griffith.
Moseley was one of four players in the Spartan team at the time with first-class experience - the others were Stephenson, Henderson Springer and captain George Linton. Two others in the team - Livingstone Puckerin made his first-class debut the next year and Ottis Gibson followed a couple seasons later.
YMPC used three bowlers in the Spartan first innings - all pacers. Improving and exciting all-rounder, Anderson Cummins, who batted as high as No. 3 for most of the season, took three for nine, Alleyne, three for 25 and stylish Wendell Coppin, now manager for the last five seasons of new regional first-class champions, Barbados Pride, two for four.
With time of essence and with all and sundry being able to follow the progress of the other matches since in those days live ball-by-ball radio coverage was carried religiously on both CBC and VOB from ALL of the grounds, YMPC then scored 49 for three declared off 18.1 overs.
Cummins, used as an opener, made 33 before he was run out, having added 42 for the first wicket with Roy Coppin (12).
Off-spinner Springer took two for three off two overs after coming on as the last of five bowlers with the others being the fast bowling trio of Moseley, Stephenson and Gibson and leg-spinner Linton.
By the close of play, Spartan were reeling on 25 for five off 19.4 overs in their second innings - just 16 runs ahead with five wickets standing. Puckerin, who sadly died in 2018 (September 18) at the age of 49 following a battle with colon cancer, again failed to score.
Wendell Coppin and Reid had each picked up two for eight.
Spartan lost two early wickets on the final day and were reeling on 35 for seven before Moseley and Springer added 32. The partnership was broken by Cummins, who had Moseley leg before wicket, co-incidentally, again for the topscore of 27.
Spartan rallied to 90 all out off as many as 60 overs, their effort helped by a last wicket stand of 23 between Springer (14 not out) and Lovell (13).
Wendell Coppin took three for 12 off 14 overs, Cummins, three for 28 off 13 overs and Reid, three for 32 off 24 overs.
Set 82 to win, YMPC had a disastrous start, losing Roy Coppin (nought) and Jeffrey Butcher (two) to be seven for two.
But they were revived by Cummins, again as an opener, and left-hander Peter Sealy, who put on 43 for the third wicket before a collapse set in.
They tumbled to 77 for nine and everyone was on edge when No. 9 Bourne, a former first-class player for Barbados and Warwickshire in the English County Championship (Bourne was also the first officially paid BCA coach under the presidency of the late Captain Peter Short), was joined by Alleyne.
Miraculously, with a couple blunders in the field, YMPC squeezed home in 25.1 overs.
Mark Estwick, then the YMPC vice-captain and wicket-keeper, described the drama which unfolded in the last round.
“If 1987 was the ‘revolution’ then 1988 was the ‘renaissance’ of YMPC,” Estwick told BCAcricket.org.
“It was not easy! We were up against a star-studded Spartan team including the likes of Franklyn Stepenson, Ezra Moseley, George Linton, Henderson Springer, Ottis Gibson, Livingstone Puckerin, Feliston Gilkes, Roy Alleyne and Ronnie Griffith.
“In our victory chase of 82 in roughly 25 overs including the mandatory 15 overs in the last hour, we collapsed from 50 for two to 77 for nine as panic set in. Needing five from the second last over bowled by Stephenson, the first ball was played by “Max Walker” straight back up the pitch. Inexplicably, the batsmen ran through for an improbable single. Stephenson swiftly gathered the ball and threw at the striker’s end, but missed the stumps with William Bourne still in mid-pitch,” Estwick recalled.
“The next four balls were dots as Bourne swung mightily without connecting. Then with the light rapidly fading, Bourne managed to connect a drive limply off the bottom of the bat to deep cover where it managed somehow to slip through the legs of Ronnie Griffith and into the boundary. A bye was then scampered off the first ball from Moseley.
“It was an absolutely amazing and emotional moment for us. We partied the entire night after leaving Queen’s Park around 10 o’ clock.
“I remember Winston Reid, Peter Sealy and I going to After Dark (St. Lawrence Gap, Christ Church) and other well-known spots around town and did not go home until 8 a.m. the following day. You can image how upset the wives were,” Estwick said.
To underline how wet the season was and opportunities to bat twice being very few, the most innings (18) a batsman went to the crease was recorded just three times - by Cummins and the St. Catherine pair of Ryle Stuart and Ahmed Proverbs.
Stuart scored scored 363 runs (ave: 20.16), Proverbs 354 (ave: 19.66) and Cummins 350 (ave: 19.44) - all three having played the full season.
Left-hander Thelston Payne, the St. Catherine stalwart, who also played in all 11 matches, amassed the most runs (610) from 15 innings including three not outs, and also the best average (50.83).
The prolific Payne and the Pickwick off-spinning all-rounder Joseph Harris, each hit two centuries of 15 all told.
Payne slammed a career-best 203 not out against Banks at Bayfield in the fourth round and an unbeaten 154 off Police at Weymouth in Series 2, while India-born Harris (formerly Joseph Kutappa) made 107 v YMPC at Kensington Oval (Series 1) and 132 v Police at Weymouth (Series 4).
The Empire pair of Roland Holder (556; ave: 46.33) and skipper Carlisle Best (535; ave: 38.21) were the only other batsmen to score over 500 runs.
Emmerson Jordan, the Maple captain and fast bowler, blessed with a lovely action, was the sole bowler to take 50 wickets (ave: 10.68).
And there was a uniqueness about Jordan’s performance in that he was the only bowler as well to send down more than 200 overs (201.4), the most maidens (47), while conceding the most runs (534).
Jordan had a best haul of seven for 33 in the first innings against Carlton at Black Rock (now Desmond Haynes Oval) in the 10th round - match figures of 10 for 74 - in a 26-run win.
To boot, he had the honour of grabbing a hat-trick in figures of five for 12 against St. Catherine.
His performance, at the age of 29, led to a first-class debut the following year.
Cummins took the second most wickets - 45 - at 10.33 runs each.
Emmerson “Scruff” King of Empire was the top wicket-keeper with 30 victims (26 catches and four stumpings), while Pickwick’s Clinton St. Hill showed his consistently high standard in the field by taking the most catches (16).
Significantly eight of 17 players who represented YMPC that season, resided within a couple miles of each other in the southern parish of Christ Church. They were: Wendell Coppin (Lead Vale), his cousin Roy Coppin and David Holder (Waldron Village), Anderson Cummins (Packers) (he was another cousin of Wendell Coppin), Peter Sealy (St. Patrick’s), Malcolm Powlett (Fairview), DeCoursey Eversley (Charnocks) and Alwin Callender (Pilgrim Place ‘B’).
And the match against Spartan featured five of them - the Coppins, Cummins, Sealy and Callender, while Spartan’s Ezra Moseley lived in Waldron Village.
YMPC team (with matches in brackets) - Stephen Lorde (captain, 9), Anderson Cummins, Roy Coppin, Peter Sealy, Mark Estwick, Winston Reid, Charles “Max Walker” Alleyne (11), David Holder (9), Jeffrey Butcher (8), Malcolm Powlett (6), Keith Seale (5), William Bourne, Andrew Ince (4), DeCoursey Eversley, Wendell Coppin, Alwin Callender (3), Cliff Cudjoe (2).
YMPC 36, Police 33, Empire 28, Maple 27, St. Catherine 24, BCL 24, Wanderers 23, Carlton 21, Pickwick 21, Spartan 19, Banks 17, Combined Schools 13.
BATTING MT I NO R HS Ave
Thelston Payne (St. Catherine) 11 15 3 610 203* 50.83
Roland Holder (Empire) 11 14 2 556 139* 46.33
Carlisle Best (Empire) 11 15 1 535 162 38.21
Jeremy Alleyne (Empire) 11 15 5 475 100* 47.50
Mark Sealy (Wanderers) 11 15 4 403 148* 36.63
Arnold Gilkes (Banks) 11 13 1 377 139 31.41
Richard Armstrong (Wanderers) 11 15 1 373 101 26.64
Roy Alleyne (Spartan) 11 15 0 368 73 24.53
Roger Moore (Carlton) 11 15 3 363 86 30.25
Ryle Stuart (St. Catherine) 11 18 0 363 75 20.16
Pearson Best (St. Catherine) 9 15 3 361 100 30.08
Ahmed Proverbs (St. Catherine) 11 18 0 354 77 19.66
Anderson Cummins (YMPC) 11 18 0 350 54 19.44
Leslie Reifer (Police) 9 10 3 341 66 48.71
Joseph Harris (Pickwick) 10 13 1 339 132 28.25
Richard Holder (Banks) 11 12 2 330 89 33.00
Philo Wallace (Schools) 9 14 1 330 87 25.38
Adrian Grant (Pickwick) 10 13 4 329 83 36.55
BOWLING MT O M R W BB Ave
Emmerson Jordan (Maple) 11 201.4 47 534 50 7-33 10.68
Anderson Cummins (YMPC) 11 175.2 33 465 45 8-22 10.33
George Linton (Spartan) 11 193 46 456 40 7-12 11.40
Roger Blades (St. Catherine) 11 185.5 46 440 37 8-39 11.89
Charles Griffith (Banks) 11 187.3 30 503 34 9-39 14.79
Wayne Yarde (Pickwick) 11 172.1 30 527 32 9-57 16.46
Delroy Walrond (Empire) 11 129.1 16 364 31 9-31 11.74
David Springer (Police) 10 143.1 26 450 31 6-13 14.51
Kenrick Marshall (Police) 9 144.4 25 418 30 4-24 13.93
Winston Reid (YMPC) 11 160.2 46 347 29 5-20 11.96
Lawrence Maxwell (Police) 8 153.5 31 374 29 7-78 12.89
Richard Thornton (Schools) 11 142.3 18 486 29 5-23 16.75
Milton Small (Wanderers) 9 157.1 28 396 28 7-39 14.14
Elon Jones (St. Catherine) 11 173.3 36 463 27 6-52 17.14
Adrian Boyce (Wanderers) 11 124.5 20 363 26 6-45 13.96
Edward Bedford (Pickwick) 11 144.5 17 485 25 5-27 19.40
Dale Griffith (Carlton) 11 121 26 373 24 5-37 15.54
Ian Williams (Maple) 7 90 15 258 23 4-26 11.21
Victor Walcott (Empire) 11 165.3 25 453 23 5-43 19.69
Sylvester Louis (Police) 11 139.3 25 436 22 4-11 19.81
Noel Broomes (BCL) 11 153.1 38 385 21 4-26 18.33
Richard Holder (Banks) 11 164.5 31 486 21 4-31 23.14
Jerry Kirton (Carlton) 4 56.5 17 111 20 6-16 5.55
Charles Alleyne (YMPC) 11 97.4 16 302 20 4-66 15.10
Ricky Clarke (Wanderers) 11 116.3 20 369 20 3-10 18.45
Wicket-keeper: Emmerson King (Empire) 30 (26 catches/4 stumping); Livingstone Puckerin (Spartan) 21 (12/9); Michael Worrell (Wanderers) 20 (16/4); Byron Agard (Maple) 17 (17/0); Mark Francis (Pickwick) 17 (17/0); Hayden Thompson (Carlton) 14(12/2); Orlando Greaves (Banks) 14 (12/2); Mark Estwick (YMPC) 13 (12/1); Norman Puckerin (Police) 12 (10/2); Ricky Skeete (BCL) 11 (10/1); Thelston Payne (St. Catherine) 11 (9/2); Ricky Hoyte (Schools) 10 (9/1).
Other than wicket-keeper: Clinton St. Hill (Pickwick) 16; Christopher King (Carlton), Wendell White (Maple) 10; Sylvester Louis (Police), Carlisle Best (Empire), Rommel Brathwaite (BCL), Dave Marshall (Schools) 9; Winston Reid (YMPC), Kenrick Marshall (Police), Michael Inniss (Empire), Tennyson Gill (Maple) 8.
Thelston Payne (St. Catherine) 203 not out v Banks at Bayfield (Series 4).
Carlisle Best (Empire) 162 v BCL at Blenheim ‘A’ (Series 3).
Thelston Payne (St. Catherine) 154 not out v Police at Weymouth (Series 2).
Mark Sealy (Wanderers) 148 not out v Combined Schools at Dayrells Road (Series 1).
Roland Holder (Empire) 139 not out v Spartan at Bank Hall (Series 4).
Arnold Gilkes (Banks) 139 v Pickwick at Kensington Oval (Series 11).
Joseph Harris (Pickwick) 132 v Police at Weymouth (Series 4).
Roy Coppin (YMPC) 118 v Carlton at Black Rock (Now Desmond Haynes Oval (Series 2).
Joseph Harris (Pickwick) 107 v YMPC at Kensington Oval (Series 1).
Nigel Johnson (Police) 104 not out v Combined Schools at Weymouth (Series 7).
Tennyson Gill (Maple) 102 v Combined Schools at Lodge ‘A’, Society (Series 3).
Dave Cumberbatch (Police) 101 v Pickwick at Weymouth (Series 4).
Richard Armstrong (Wanderers) 101 v Pickwick at Dayrells Road (Series 7).
Pearson Best (St. Catherine) 100 v Banks at Bayfield (Series 4).
Jeremy Alleyne (Empire) 100 not out v Banks at Bank Hall (Series 1).