SPECIAL - Road to BCA Top 40: Best, Farmer rule Top 10 in BCA premier division (1981-89)

Bridgetown, Barbados, May 21 - (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.

Now having completed the decade of the 1980s, Holder presents the Top 10.

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Very competitive among BCA Top 10 in the 1980s

Carlisle Best and Stephen Farmer underlined why they were considered two of the best ever players in the history of the BCA top division by topping the batting and bowling during the 1980s (1981-89).

Best, with an upbringing at Ellerslie Secondary and who gained a reputation for being talkative while at the crease throughout his career from domestic to international - he had a unique way of doing ball-by-ball commentaries without seemingly losing concentration - amassed the most runs (4479) including eight centuries, at an average of 38.94 for Empire.

He was followed in the 4000-run club by the highly successful Police captain Leslie Reifer with 4229 (ave: 41.05; 9 centuries) (Reifer led Police to the most titles - four - in the 1980s; 1983, 84, 85 and 87); Arnold Gilkes (Banks) 4219 (ave: 26.87; 6 centuries) and left-hander Thelston Payne (St. Catherine) 4156 (ave: 38.12; 10 centuries).

Farmer, the outstanding Wanderers medium-pace all-rounder who by then was a veteran having started his Division 1 career in the late 1960s at The Lodge School, grabbed the most wickets (321) at 12.15 runs each. He ended his career in 1987 at the age of 37.

For the much younger generation and as a reminder to all and sundry, Farmer hit a double-century (203) for Lodge against Spartan at Society ‘A’ in the First division Championship in 1969, and then spent the rest of his career with Wanderers as his status as a fine all-rounder heightened during the 1970s.

On the heels of Farmer was Lawrence “Jammie” Maxwell, a tall, bespectacled Police off-spinner with 319 (ave: 14.78).

Two others got over 300 wickets - the ever reliable St. Catherine fast bowler Neville Mason (314; ave: 14.14) and BCL left-arm spinner Noel Broomes (314 as well; ave: 14.50).

Broomes, a former BCL skipper, boasted of playing the most matches (101) in the period under review.

Like Farmer, Mason hung up his boots after the 1987 season.

Ricky Skeete, highly rated for his nimble work and who at times stood up to even the express pace of Sylvester Clarke as he urged bowlers on with a squeaky voice, was the leading wicket-keeper with 167 victims (132 catches and 35 stumpings).

Michael Worrell of Wanderers, sharp, stylish and clean, followed with 159 (139/20) and Payne 125 (109/16).

Pickwick’s Clinton “Leopard” St. Hill was truly outstanding as a fielder, hauling in 102 catches with Roy Alleyne, who represented BCL and Spartan, a distant second on 78.

Both St. Hill and Alleyne can feel proud that they were also among the Top 10 batsmen.

St. Hill, also a former Pickwick captain, played exactly 100 matches (the joint second most with Arnold Gilkes) and scored 3487 (runs; ave: 23.24), while Alleyne made 3330 (ave: 23.78).

Sherlon Greaves, who had a long career for Empire as a leg-spinning all-rounder, is the only player who features in all three categories - (3089 runs; ave: 24.13), 296 wickets (ave: 16.32) and 55 catches.

BCA TOP 10 (1981-89)

BATTING                                                      MT      I        NO       R        HS      Ave    Centuries

Carlisle Best (Empire)                                   78     128      13     4479    195*   38.94     8

Leslie Reifer (Police)                                     89     138      35     4229    153*   41.05     9

Arnold Gilkes (Banks)                                  100    171      14     4219    179     26.87     6

Thelston Payne (St. Catherine)                      84     134      25     4156    203*   38.12   10

Adrian Grant (Pickwick)                                93     144      16     3831    167     29.92     3

Clinton St.Hill (Pickwick)                               100   157       7     3487     107     23.24     1

Roy Alleyne (BCL & Spartan)                          98   151       11     3330    118*   23.78     4

Sherlon Greaves (Empire)                              93   142       14     3089    140*   24.13     4

Geoffrey Mapp (Police)                                   98   135       15     3047    152*   25.39     4

Hubert Brathwaite (Banks & St. Catherine)      66   104       14     3022    151     33.57     9

NB: Hubert “Ellis” Brathwaite’s Division 1 career ended in 1986.

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BOWLING                                                 MT         O          M        R        W        Ave

Stephen Farmer (Wanderers)                      74    1638.2     470    3903    321      12.15

Lawrence Maxwell (Police)                          81    1805.1     347    4715    319      14.78

Neville Mason (St. Catherine)                     70    1448        247    4440    314      14.14

Noel Broomes (BCL)                                 101    2043.2     488   4556     314      14.50

Sherlon Greaves (Empire)                           93    1558.4     233   4833     296      16.32

Charles “Tailor” Griffith (Banks)                   86    1646        297   4365     281      15.53

George Linton (Spartan)                             58    1345.1     343   3337     279      11.96

Winston Reid (YMPC)                                  87    1711.5     347   4440     274      16.20

Odwin Gilkes (Pickwick)                              77    1352.5     268   4276     267      16.01

Sylvester Louis (Police)                               89    1345.2     255   3898     244     15.97

NB: Farmer and Mason ended their Division 1 careers in 1987 and Griffith in 1988.

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FIELDING

Wicket-keeper

Ricky Skeete (BCL) 167 (132 catches/35 stumpings).

Michael Worrell (Wanderers) 159 (139/20).

Thelston Payne (St. Catherine) 125 (109/16).

Mark Estwick (Combined Schools & YMPC) 121 (96/25).

Derwin Thompson (Combined Schools & Police) 108 (88/20).

Livingstone Puckerin (Combined Schools & Spartan) 105 (71/34).

Arnold Gilkes (Banks) 105 (80/25).

Orlando Greaves (Combined Schools, Empire & Banks) 89 (74/15).

Hayden Thompson (Carlton) 88 (75/13).

Sylfred Ramsay (Maple) 79 (66/13).

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Other than wicket-keeper

Clinton St. Hill (Pickwick) 102.

Roy Alleyne (BCL & Spartan) 78.

Kenrick Marshall (Police) 69.

Adrian Grant (Pickwick) 68.

Rommel Brathwaite (BCL) 68.

Hubert “Ellis” Brathwaite (Banks & St. Catherine) 67.

Geoffrey Mapp (Police) 64.

Winston Herbert (BCL) 64.

Carlisle Best (Empire) 63.

Sherlon Greaves (Empire) 55.



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