Paceman Raynor was a thrill to watch
Last week, I had a present day Cup Match player (also a Bermuda international player) ask me who Rupert Scotland was. It became apparent that many of today’s players have little knowledge of the game’s history and the key figures of yesteryear.
That’s something that needs to change, so for the next six weeks I shall be picking out past players and highlighting their contributions to the game in Bermuda. Hopefully this will educate the next generation, while also restoring some of the pride and dignity that is associated with the annual Cup Match classic by having some of our legends share their stories.
Finally, it should spark dialogue about our great game, especially among the cricket loving fans of Bermuda.
Name : Lee Edgar Raynor Sr.
Date of Birth: March 11, 1943
Start in Cricket: I played league cricket at the age of 16, and Cup Match at the age of 19. I played ten trials that first year, five at St George’s and five at Somerset.
I did not feel comfortable at Somerset, there was a lot of tension there and there seemed to be little pockets, or cliques. The great Lloyd James picked me up one day and took me to St George’s and I met the skipper “Bummy Symonds” and was made to feel very welcome. I felt much more comfortable at St George’s.
As I walked out onto the field, to meet the players, I can remember someone hitting a ball very sharply to the side of me and I reached out and it stuck in my hand. I felt that this was quite impressive.
I initially went to Somerset because I fancied playing alongside my brother Sheridan, however my daddy Reginald Raynor, was an opening bat for St George’s so I guess it was meant to be.
Length of Cricket Career: From age 16 to 51 (league), 19 to 35 (Cup Match).
Childhood memories with the game: I played cricket all day in the back yard with a tennis ball.
Teams played for: Southampton Rangers, St George’s Cricket Club, Hamilton Parish W.C. (Player /coach), Somerset Bridge ( Player/Coach), Social Club (Player Coach).
Favourite local match you played in: It was a league final that lasted three days against Pond Hill Stars. Sheridan scored 120 not out and I scored 100 not out. We got 300 plus runs and won by about 40 runs.
Best international feat: I was part of one of the biggest partnerships in Bermuda international cricket. Reggie Tucker scored 120 runs and I scored 70 runs against a strong Jamaica squad that included Michael Holding.
There was one other great feat, when I played with the Bermuda team that beat the Cricketers Club of London at SCC. That team included Brian Close, Dennis Amiss, Fred Truman, Derek Underwood and Garfield Sobers. The folks in England called back when they were told the result to ask whether this was a mistake.
Favourite venue: Somerset (I also liked Rangers Oval and St David’s).
Favourite international player: Sir Garfield Sobers
Number one supporter: My brother Sheridan
Pre-match routine: I liked meditation. I never liked to look at the other team before the game. I exercised in the dressing room. About three or four days before Cup Match, I used to run from Raynor’s gas station in Southampton, to the turning by the entrance of Somerset Cricket Club. Once I did this, I knew I was ready for the match. It gave me confidence going into the game.
Favourite dish while playing: Salad
My biggest regret in cricket: I never scored a double century. My highest was 138 in the Western County.
Any superstitions: None
Funniest thing that I have seen in cricket: Rangers played Willow Cuts, and both teams had been scoring heavily all season. We scored 235 for 4 and they were all out for 16.
Also, while playing Cup Match, watching “Alabama “Anderson walking about the field with a football boot on one foot and a cricket pad on his other leg, and a handkerchief around his head. There was a lot of flair in those days.
Hobbies: I assist with a Ministry that involves helping people that are “caught up” on the streets.
A key to my success: Love and determination for the game.
Advice to today’s cricketer’s: Have fun while you are playing. In my day, to be a Cup Match player was special. Once you made Cup Match your game should be elevated. Have pride.
Motto you believe in: Try to enjoy the game, and play with character.
Lee Raynor was without question one of the true greats of the game. He played in an era when Bermuda’s team could compete with the Rest of the World. Some of his compatriots included: Lloyd James, Rupert Scotland, Clarence Parfitt, Eldon Raynor and Dennis Wainwright, just to name a few.
Lee was considered, by some, to be the fastest bowler in the Island. He is the only player to win the Bacardi international double wicket tournament twice. The first time he partnered Lloyd Cornelius of Guyana, and the second time, Clive Lloyd, the former West Indies captain.
As a young boy the most thrilling moment of Cup Match for many, me included, was watching the first ball that was bowled by Lee Raynor.
Lee stood back at his mark and proceeded to shuffle his feet, like a bull ready to charge. He said this gesture helped to hype the crowd, and in turn spur him on. If he was tired, in need of a boost, or thought it would frighten a colt, he would also use this routine.
In closing, I wish to share an interesting story that took place in Somerset one year. Rather than play in a trial match at St George’s, Lee asked his skipper (Bummy) if he could go and watch Somerset’s trial match.
His skipper agreed, and off to Somerset Lee went. While sitting there in the stands, (Shorty) Spencer the Somerset opening batsman was sitting below him running his mouth to the fans about how he intended to hit Lee all over the ground.
Having recently scored two centuries, Shorty’s confidence was high. Little did he know, however, that Lee was sitting in the stands behind him listening to his boasts. Lee pulled Shorty aside and told him that he was going to give him three bouncers and then a yorker and that would be it.
On the day of Cup Match, Lee proceeded to give Shorty the three bouncers he promised, however, for the first time in his career Lee bowled a slow off break with the new ball. Needless to say Spencer’s wicket was shattered.
Batting: 22 Innings, 516 runs, batting average of 27.11 Highest score 100 not out.
Bowling: Overs 242, maidens 79, Runs 541, wickets 35
Raynor was a Cup Match captain in 1977.
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