Cup Match Legends: Allan Douglas
The final Cup Match legend for 2018 provided me with the funniest experience that I have ever had during my 30-year cricket career.
The incident took place in 1991, when the world’s best team at that time, Australia, who were fresh off a 4-1 series victory over West Indies, came to Wellington Oval.
Their touring party was led by Allan Border and consisted of such greats as David Boon, Dean Jones, Geoff Marsh, Craig McDermott, and Steve and Mark Waugh.
The latter was on strike at the clubhouse end when a vicious Kenny Phillip ball — on the quickest pitch that I have seen anywhere — struck him in the groin area.
Allan Douglas, our wicketkeeper at the time, shouted down to our bowler: “Nice penis ball, Kenny.” This message was relayed to Kenny while Mark Waugh was bending over in obvious discomfort.
Of course, the entire slip cordon, myself included, erupted in laughter. Mark Waugh, a stellar and world-renowned cricketer, jerked his head around incredulously at a group of “village cricketers” who were behaving with such audacity.
Yes, we were an arrogant bunch, the St George’s Cup Match team of that era. After all, we had not lost in the Annual Classic for some nine years.
Mark Waugh proceeded to dispatch the next Kenny Phillip offering over the long-off boundary for six. “I guess it must have hurt,” someone chimed in. More laughter came from the slip region.
When Waugh attempted to smack the next ball to the similar place, his centre stump was pushed back.
Name: Allan Craig Douglas.
Born: February 17, 1958
Start in cricket: While I played a lot of cricket at Harrington Sound Primary School and St George’s Secondary School, my real start came on Somersall Road.
Length of career: My first Cup Match was in 1978. I took over the wicketkeeping duties from Dennis Wainwright. My final year was 12 years later. I played in 11 Cup Matches.
Role on the team: I was a wicketkeeper and middle-order batsman.
Childhood memories of the game: We played a lot of cricket on Somersall Road. I played some of the best cricket of my life there.
Teams played for: Cleveland County, St George’s Cup Match team and the Bermuda ICC Trophy teams (1982, 1986 and 1990). Allan was the wicketkeeper during the ICC Trophy final against Zimbabwe in 1982.
Nicknames: Dougie, Blackie, Peppy.
Favourite local match played in: That would have to be the Eastern Counties match when we beat Bailey’s Bay. Back then, we had Robert Simons leading our attack. We scored 120 and we knocked them down for 80-odd.
Best international feat: That would have to be a match in Birmingham during the lead-up to the ICC Trophy final. I got caught on the boundary by this chubby guy for 99. Of course, from a coaching perspective, it would have to be coaching the 1985 Bermuda Under-19 team here on local soil. We won that International Youth Tournament at Somerset Cricket Club in 1985, and in the process defeated England North, led by Michael Atherton. He went on to become captain of England and a pre-eminent cricket journalist and columnist.
Favourite venue: I loved playing on Police Field. The pitch was really nice up there.
Favourite international player: Kim Hughes because he was a happy hooker. Before that, though, I was a fan of Geoffrey Boycott. I admired his work ethic. However, once I witnessed Michael Holding uproot his stumps in a Barbados Test, he wasn’t my hero any more. I also liked the Chappell brothers, Ian and Greg.
Number one supporter: That would have to be Dennis Musson Sr. My other main supporters were Angie Foggo and Michelle Richardson, two of my work colleagues at the Shell Company.
Pre-match routine: I liked having a conjugal visit. Also, on the morning of Cup Match, I had to drive by the Cleveland County field. That kept me grounded and reminded me from where I came. You see, I was the first cricketer to make it big on the Cup Match scene from that community. So, yes, Denis Musson Sr. would drive me to Cup Match, but on the way, we would always drive by that tiny ground, with the little concrete strip, and it would help me to remember my roots, and the community that I was from.
Favourite dish while playing: Nothing, really. I grew up whereby whatever was on your plate, you ate it. I do enjoy a nice pork chop, however, but they didn’t ever have that at cricket matches.
Biggest regret in your career: I don’t have any. I do wish they had Twenty20 cricket in my day, however, as my game was suited for that.
Any superstitions: None. (I interject here to note that I was a roommate of Allan’s during a tour to England. I thought that he was superstitious, as he did not wash a certain pair of white, thick, woollen cricket socks for more than a week, and wore them for four games in a row. In fact, the socks became so hard that they could stand up on a table. Reminded of this, Allan responded: “That was not superstition; just worthlessness on my part.”)
Funniest thing you have seen in cricket: The Mark Waugh incident mentioned earlier.
A key to your success: I came up in an era when it took a lot of hard work and sacrifice to break into a Cup Match team. For example, I had to attend church before I went off to play a cricket match. Once church was over, then I could go off and play cricket. Also, I was considered a nice boy. I was grounded and my father instilled discipline in me. Oliver Caisey, a former St George’s selector, knew this and he knew that I would act in a disciplined manner.
Advice to today’s cricketer: I would like to see the players put more effort into becoming better players. They need to develop their craft, no matter what role they play on the team. Work at it. Also, don’t be afraid to take advice. Be humble and take advice. These days, you wonder if the players are listening.
Motto you believe in: Test yourself. Welcome a challenge.
The Cup Match classic has been blessed to have some of the finest wicketkeepers grace our great match. There are several others who come to mind such as Dennis Wainwright, Barry DeCouto, Dean Minors, Roger Trott, Jekon Edness and Sinclair Smith.
Allan Douglas came from the Devil’s Hole/Knapton Hill area. During the two days of the 11 Cup Match classics that he participated in, he declared that you could have burglarised any house in Harris Bay. The entire community came out to support him.