Tribute paid to Keith Boyce

Barbados Cricket Association’s chairman of selectors Henderson Wallace on Saturday recalled the influence late Barbados and West Indies cricketer Keith Boyce had on the sport in the north of the island and spoke on how cricket could be used as a means of upward mobility.

Keith Boyce on the 1973 England tour.
Keith Boyce on the 1973 England tour.

Speaking on the subject Social Mobility at the Boscobel Community Centre on the occasion of the Lee’s Bistro and Catering Service Inc.’s Keith Boyce Memorial Cricket Tournament Lecture, Wallace pointed out that sport, and specifically cricket, could improve the quality of life in Boscobel and surrounding communities. Boyce was a product of the Castle, St. Peter district.

Wallace reminisced on Boyce’s influence on the likes of West Indies players Corey Collymore, Pedro Collins, Fidel Edwards, Omar Phillips and Kirk Edwards, even though some of them would not have been coached directly by the iconic all-rounder.

Wallace stated that he initially intended to become a physical education teacher after his mentor and PE teacher at Coleridge & Parry, Pedro Hinds. He added however that on meeting Boyce who became his coach on the then Combined Schools team, that earlier desire quickly changed to one of wanting to become a professional cricketer. Wallace said it was a career which he enjoyed for about 21 years in  Ireland.

During the question and answer segment there were expressions of disappointment over the omission of the Coleridge & Parry School (Boyce’s alma mater) and Alexandra from this year’s memorial competition. A number of speakers said they hoped that whatever difficulties prevented the two schools from participating would be rectified to allow their participation in the future.

The evening’s programme got started with the invocation by attorney-at-law Dave Cumberbatch, a Coleridge & Parry old scholar and former cricket captain, as well as Barbados Youth Team captain.  Lee-Germon Gaskin of Lee’s Bistro and Catering Inc. presented the sponsorship to Cathy Goodam, and there was also a presentation of a gear bag to Tyrell Babb, a sixth-form  student of St Leonard’s and formerly of Alexandra.

Opening remarks were made by Lybron Sobers, president of Boscobel Sports Club.

Among those in attendance were Boyce’s widow Brenda, daughters Cathy Goodman and Therese Clarke, as well as Clyde Sobers, former president of the Boscobel Sports Club who conceptualized the tournament.

Boyce, a fast-bowling allrounder who died on October 11, 1996, at age 53, played 285 first-class matches for Barbados and Essex, scoring 8 800 runs at an average of 22.39 with four centuries and 46 fifties with a highest score of 147. He took 852 wickets at 25.02 with 35 five-wicket hauls and seven 10-wicket match hauls.

In 21 Tests between 1971 and 1976 he took 60 wickets at 30.01 and scored 657 runs at 24.33. Boyce’s finest hour was during the 1973 tour of England when he inspired West Indies to a 2-0 series win in the three Test series, snaring 19 wickets.

The first round games of the tournament start on Sunday, March 8.

In Zone “A” Maple play Black Bess at Trents;  Combermere take on Police at Waterford; Boscobel play St Leonard’s at Boscobel; Isolation Cavaliers have drawn a bye.

In Zone “B” Keith Boyce XI play Conrad Hunte at Shorey Village; Diamondshire Sports Club play Alleyne School at Diamond Corner; and North Stars take on Queen’s College at Crab Hill; Lancashire have drawn a bye.

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