Gentleman of the game who loved Cup Match
Former St George’s captains Wendell Smith and Clevie Wade have hailed Leroy “Tubby” Richardson, Cup Match’s oldest former player, who died on Monday aged 97.
Richardson played for St George’s in the classic 11 times between 1941 and 1955, captaining the side from 1951 to 1954. He made his Cup Match debut at the Royal Naval Field in Somerset, aged just 20, under captain Walter Darrell.
“That was the same year St George’s dropped [Alec] “Cocky” Steede who had taken 100 Cup Match wickets. Walter Darrell convinced the selectors to try me,” Richardson told former captain Wendell Smith in 2013, when Smith featured him in the Cup Match Legends series in The Royal Gazette.
Richardson’s first year as captain was in 1951 when he returned his best Cup Match figures of four for 22 and five for 34 to lead challengers St George’s to victory by seven wickets.
“Richardson plays captain’s innings as St George’s CC win Cup Match,” read the Mid-Ocean News headline on the match report.
The report added: “Richardson’s all-round ability on the field [on] Thursday and Friday was the highlight of the classic. His bowling, fielding and batting were superb and the manner in which he handled his team will allow him to take his place among the greatest cricketers ever in the colony.”
The next year, St George’s won by nine wickets. The 1953 game was a draw, before Richardson captained the team for the fourth and final time in 1954. He played his last classic the next year.
After his Cup Match career finished, Richardson also played for Western Stars between 1961 and 1964.
More than 60 years after his career ended, Richardson could still be found watching cricket, particularly Cup Match, and had a spot to the left of the canteen at Wellington Oval.
“You know at St George’s you would always find him sitting in the same location, just backward of cover point, on the eastern side of the canteen,” Smith said. “I offer my condolences to his family.
“I did have the privilege of interviewing him and what was remarkable was his memory for someone in his nineties. It was quite amazing how he could remember specific details back in the 1950s of different feats he accomplished. That stood out for me.
“The other thing that stood out was his obvious love of cricket. He would come to league matches, and especially Cup Match trials, and always sit in the same place. Perhaps one day both clubs will see fit to have stands in honour of legends such as him.
“Maybe they could name a stand in honour of him, so that his legacy will live on. His love of St George’s was very deep. Interviewing him was a history lesson, really, hearing of some of the persons he played with in Cup Match.
“He nearly made it to a century; just to live that long is a feat. He was a gentleman, a very warm person. He was quiet, but once you got to know him he could talk cricket all day.”
Wade has fond memories of Richardson the supporter and also as a neighbour on Wellington Back Road.
“My father [Cal] and him were good friends, and to get to his house he had to come across our house,” Wade said of Richardson, a former chief officer in the prison service.
“I can remember when we were young and playing cricket in the street, he used to park his car and come and join in; show us how to hold the bat.
“He was a great neighbour also; very caring and always taking about Cup Match. The most important thing with him was respecting the game.
“He was a big inspiration to me when my goal was to play Cup Match. He was always at the games, Cup Match, trial games and Colts Cup Match. You couldn’t miss him at that spot near the canteen. He’s going to be a big miss.”
Richardson also got to see his great-grandson Jarryd Richardson make his debut for Bailey’s Bay in the Eastern Counties Cup last summer, aged 15.
Richardson was honoured by the Bermuda Cricket Board at its prize presentation in 2016 when he was presented with the Special Achievement award.
“To all you young men, I say please play the game hard, but play it clean,” Richardson told the audience that night.
Richardson became the oldest surviving Cup Match player in January 2016 after Woodgate Simmons, of Somerset, died aged 96.
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