Cup Match Legends: Allen Richardson

Imagine being chosen to play in the annual Cup Match classic by all five of the selectors during their deliberations, but in the final analysis being omitted from the team. Such was the fate of this year’s Cup Match legend, Allen Richardson, in the mid-1980s. During that era, the St George’s selectors had a practice of selecting club players, who were dedicated to their league team and were making creditable contributions, before “outsiders”.

Consequently, when the team was announced, a most unfortunate Allen Richardson was made the fall guy.

Allen is the first of this, the 2016 edition of Cup Match Legends. He hails from that unique area of Bermuda known as St David’s. He was honoured with a Bermuda Government citation last year by the Department of Youth and Sport for his vast contribution to our lovely game.

He has been a past vice-president of the Bermuda Cricket Board, a founding member of the Bermuda Masters cricket team, is a commentator for the Bermuda Broadcasting Company, is a former Eastern Counties and Cup Match standout, and is a past MVP in the annual Cup Match classic.

I had the pleasure of opening many an innings with him and found that invariably a chemistry emerged.

Articulate, charismatic, passionate about the game, and certainly witty, Allen David Richardson has certainly left his mark on not only the annual classic, but cricket generally, both locally and through his extensive tours overseas with the Bermuda Masters.

A little-known fact is that he holds a Cup Match record for taking a wicket with his only ball bowled in Cup Match — that of Randy Horton.

***

Name: Allen David Richardson.

Born: November 4, 1957.

Start in cricket: My early cricketing days began at St David’s Primary. We had a school league then. I also played in the junior county for St David’s County Cricket Club.

Length of career: I started playing senior cricket at the age of 12 for St David’s CCC. At the age of 14, I made my debut in the Eastern Counties. I believe either Lionel Cann or I hold the distinction of being the youngest colt to play in the Eastern Counties Cup. Oddly enough, I had a duck in that game. When I went in to bat, we had already crossed the score. Sinclair “Chips” Walker had me caught behind by the wicketkeeper, Sidney Smith. No, I did not cry. In respect to Cup Match, I made my debut in 1977 and scored 45 and 47 in that match.

(Considering that Allen had to combat an attack consisting of Randy Horton, Winston “Coe” Trott, El James and Robert “Jumping Jack” Hinds, that was quite an accomplishment. Allen indicated that he was disappointed to not score a half-century. He was dismissed when a ball from Hinds reared up off the pitch and hit his glove, giving wicketkeeper Barry DeCouto his scalp.)

I played off and on in the Eighties and concluded my Cup Match career in 1988.

Role on the team: Opening batsman.

Childhood memories of the game: We played a lot on Texas Road (located below St David’s Lighthouse). In those days, I played with Jeffrey Pitcher, Jerome “Shake and Bake” Pitcher and Michael and “Dicky” Brangman. We used a tennis ball, with a trash can for our wicket.

Teams played for: St David’s, Police Recreation Club, Devonshire Recreation Club, Bermuda Wanderers, Bermuda Masters, Bermuda (1994 ICC Trophy Tournament in Nairobi, Kenya), Somers Isles Cricket League selects, St George’s Cup Match.

Nickname: Juice.

Favourite local match played in: That would have to be the Eastern Counties match at Sea Breeze Oval when we took our league team to play against the cup-holders, Bailey’s Bay, and defeated them. I can recall Reginald “Lucky” Pitcher catching Charlie Marshall during that match.

Best international feat: During the semi-final of our initial Masters tour to Antigua, we needed two runs off the last ball of the game and I stroked the ball to square leg to get three. This was against Canadian opposition, made up primarily of West Indians.

Favourite venue: Without a doubt, Lord’s in St David’s. It‘s the history, the flavour, the grounds. I’ve always enjoyed playing there.

Favourite international player: I don’t really have a favourite player, although I’m an England supporter. I guess, perhaps, Ian Botham, Vivian Richards and, of the modern era, Virat Kohli.

Toughest opponent: Believe it or not, David Gibbons. Also Albert “Manga” Simons. He bowled me at least four times during my career.

No 1 supporter: Oh, my mom, without a doubt. She called me all the time when I was playing and still does today, to tell me to watch a certain game that is on the television. She’s a big cricket fan.

Pre-match routine(s): (With a witty smile on his face, Allen responded) Believe it or not, I tried to get an early night before matches. Besides that, I did not have any particular pre-match routines. My main concern was whether the pitch was damp or dry. That’s all I ever really cared about.

Favourite dish while playing: Potato salad, chicken and coleslaw.

Biggest regret in your career: As much as I hate to say it, not having the opportunity to play league cricket and open the innings with Wendell Smith on a regular basis. Besides that, not having a longer Cup Match career.

Any superstitions: None really, although after talks with Barry DeCouto, I started to be cognisant of certain numbers such as 13, while I was batting.

Funniest thing you have seen in cricket: During a match against Police, at their venue, our regular opening batsman, Anthony Foggo, asked to have a rest after wicketkeeping during our fielding stint. When no one stepped forward — we were due to face Roger Blades, who was quite nippy — Reginald “Lucky” Pitcher boldly shouted out: “I’ll do it.” Moments later, while Blades was bowling, “Lucky” squared up to a ball and was struck in his truss. He immediately fell to the ground — like a tree being felled in a forest. The entire Police team were laughing (as you do). To add to the occasion, when “Lucky” made it to the sidelines, he proceeded to drop his drawers to reveal a shattered protective cup (and one or two other damaged items).

Hobbies: Landscaping and painting houses. Of course, in recent years, I have enjoyed cricket commentating.

A key to your success: I love the game and grew up in a community that loved cricket, particularly the county matches. They were always a critical part of the cricketing calendar and meant a lot to me.

There were times when I could not eat because of my concern about a match. There were also times when I would leave the grounds and go up to the house for a while, just to be away from the pressures of the game. I know that the same deep love of, and passion for, the county matches can be said of Noel Gibbons.

Advice to today’s cricketer: Respect the game.

Motto you believe in: Work hard, play hard and enjoy life to the fullest.

Interview by Wendell Smith

Source: The Royal Gazette

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