Sport in Carriacou
It will surprise no-one I’m sure that sport, in all its forms, played a huge part in our lives in the 60s. We were young, full of beans and enthusiastic about all forms of sport. Carriacou produced classic cricketers, competent footballers and high performing athletes and swimmers. Much like today, I would say.
When I visited Bishop’s College Sports Day in February this year i.e. 2014 it contained all the hallmarks of the enthusiastic endeavour that epitomised the event nearly 50 years ago. As a result I’ve decided to put a few photos from 1968 alongside shots of field events taken this year, Feb. 2014. The colours and clothes are a bit different but the essential enthusiasm had not changed.
In 1968 Carriacou Sports Day was held on Monday June 3rd; much later in the year than now. The afternoon was well organised and a lot of fun. There was a bit of a problem trying to clear the running track of spectators, donkeys and a few guys who were a little worse for wear. Once it was clear though the events ran like clockwork with some outstanding performances. The winner of the girls 100 yards, for example, was recorded by the official timekeeper, Sydney Cudjoe, as finishing in 10.2 seconds. If we consider that Wyomia Tyus ran a world’s best time of 10.5 seconds in 1965 then we have to either say our girl was a world record breaker or Sydney stopped the clock a little early. We will probably never know, but can anyone remember the name of the winner?
Cricket was our over-riding passion. Bishop’s College fielded a really good team that combined staff and students. We played all around the island and, on one occasion, Cariacou took a team to Grenada to play the Premier’s 11. The town pitch is still in the same place it always was and still tended with the same consummate care.
I can recall certain matches such as a two day match against ‘Town’ on Sat. April 6th and Sun. 7th 1968. We started our second innings on Saturday afternoon and lost three quick wickets. On the Sunday we had a much better day and, I recall taking 6 wickets. However, Earl Barratt, the Agricultural Officer came in to bat for Town and he put on the winning runs. No-one could get him out that day.
Sunday April 14th we played ‘Town’ again. They had a new, as yet, untried bat from Trinidad called Django. A terrible mix between wickets had him run out without hitting a ball. I think out of curiosity more than anything else I got him recalled. It was a terrible mistake for our team. Django scored 65 runs and effectively won the match. However, we’d found something out; he could bat.
Wed. May 1st Carriacou took a team to Grenada to play against the Premier’s 11. We left Hillsborough at Midnight on ‘Starlight’ and we arrived in St. Georges at 4.30am. Geoff Reid (a New Zealander friend) and I went to Adam’s Guest House and slept until 7.00am. After a hurried breakfast we took ourselves to Green Street and met Joyce Stiell from C’cou, ?? Bethel from PM and Ann ?? from Grenada. They accompanied us to the game.
The match itself was not a huge success. The pitch, as you can see from the photographs, was in a terrible condition and as I recall, so were we. This was really not surprising considering our overnight journey with very little sleep. To cut a long story short we lost the game by 30 runs.
Geoff and I spent the evening touring the hotels along Grand Anse before catching ‘Starlight’ at midnight and sailing back to Carriacou. I lay on top of the cabin and almost tumbled off the side as Starlight pitched and rolled. For safety’s sake I jammed myself in a narrow gap on the upper deck and promptly went to sleep. Some hours later I was aware of Rodge (Gay) and the guys frantically searching for me. They thought I’d fallen overboard.
On Sat May 11th and Sun. 12th we played Mt Pleasant. On the first day Mt. Pleasant dealt out a proper thrashing and on Sunday they had only to get 36 runs to win. That was when we unleashed Manson Adams who took 6 wickets for only 4 runs. It couldn’t last. Errol Thomas dropped a catch. I bowled a really bad over and Mt. Pleasant won the game.
Football got under way late September by way of games for College. Bishop’s College also played inter house games on a regular basis.
My first game was for College against Mt. Pleasant on Thurs. Oct 12th 1967. College won 3-1 and I recall that it should have been more. I managed to score the first goal. Later I had a shot rebound off the crossbar. It landed at Johnny McKenzie’s feet and he obligingly struck the ball into the net. The following day Blaize House played Scott House in the inter-house cup. Blaize scored a resounding 4-0 victory.
On Tues. Oct 17th College played ‘Pianeers’ amidst some controversy. We scored a goal but it was disallowed under odd circumstances. The ball was kicked off the goal line by a spectator. All the spectators rushed on to the field and caused a bit of a riot. The referee ruled Johnny hand handled the ball and disallowed the goal. The rest of the game was played with just a little rancour. I finished the game with a ‘skinned’ thigh and a damaged leg. Consequently I missed the game against Brunswick on the Thursday which College won 2-1.
On Tues. 5th Dec. the staff and prefects of BC played the rest of the college. That was an amazingly tight game and it ended in a 2-2 draw.
Yep, you gotta believe it. I did try to introduce Rugby Union to the College but despite much enthusiasm it didn’t progress too far. However, Selwyn (Mills) and others still recall the fun we had in the process of teaching and learning the game. I had to remind Selwyn earlier this year that once I introduced tackling into the equation enthusiasm waned somewhat.
My own highlight came when Chris Donne called me up to play for Grenada against North Trinidad. We played two games on Fri. Nov. 3rd and Sat. 4th. I noted at the time that the Trinidad team looked massive and very well organised. Considering we had never played together before, the final score of 22-0 didn’t seem too bad. It was also my first game playing at full back.
The following day I played at fly half; a position I enjoyed. On that occasion we lost 16-8; altogether a much better performance.
On Friday evening we attended a cocktail party for both teams and on Saturday we had an official ‘Beach Party’ which lasted until 4.00am Sunday morning. Our biggest effort was getting up first thing Sunday to catch Miriam ‘B’ back to Carriacou.
N.B. On Monday 6th Nov. Gracie Roberts gave birth to a baby boy, Shaun. Life just seemed to be one amazing event after another.