Former Players Association hosts luncheon for Cup Match legends who are 80 not out
Dean Minors plans to do something every year to recognise the most senior of former Cup Match players.
Yesterday, the Former Cup Match Players and Officials Association held a luncheon at Divots to recognise the contribution of living former players over the age of 80. The luncheon was sponsored by a former Somerset Cup Match player Barry DeCouto, and is something that Minors, a former St George’s wicketkeeper and president of the association, wants to see held every year in the build-up to Cup Match.
Yesterday’s luncheon was attended by a small group, but one with vast Cup Match experience, including Sam Paynter of St George’s who, at 92, is now the oldest surviving Cup Match player after the passing of Leroy “Tubby” Richardson, who died in January 2019 at the age of 97.
Dennis Wainwright and Eldon Raynor attended, along with Joe Bailey, John Stovell, Eugene Woods and Gladwin Trott. Paynter played his first Cup Match in 1949 and scored a then colt’s record score of 59 on the new Somerset Field. He played for eight successive years up to 1956.
Wainwright, Raynor and Bailey played in the historic 1971 match which saw the first Cup Match played on turf wickets as cricket fields began moving away from concrete and matting wickets. This year marks the 50th anniversary, with Bailey, the Somerset spinner, being the first bowler to take five wickets on a turf wicket in Cup Match.
Wainwright scored 55 not out in the St George’s second innings as Bergon Spencer set a colt’s record with his score of 75 while Sheridan Raynor scored the first century on turf, 109.
It is these types of accomplishments that the association, independent of the two clubs, wants to recognise.
“We want to show our appreciation and recognise their contributions to Cup Match,” Minors said. “This luncheon was sponsored by Barry DeCouto, who willingly stepped up and supported the function.”
St Clair “Brinky” Tucker came up with the idea of recognising former players years ago after being honoured by Somerset, despite playing only one Cup Match in 1973.
“I asked them why you choose me and Clyde ”Tango“ Burgess said, ‛Brinky’, we watched you on the field and off the field, and that’s why we decided to honour you’,” Tucker said.
“After the presentation I asked can I have a few words and thanked everybody for considering me among the elite players. I said, ‘Mr President, how many people were at Cup Match over the two days’?
“He said ‛about 10,000 people’,” and I said ‛I would like to make a motion that one dollar from each person who pays admission be put into a fund to help former players as some of our ex-players can’t get around’. I got a standing ovation.
“I’m not saying to pay their rent, their insurance or their mortgage, but make sure they are looked after and respected. The leaders of the respective clubs poured cold water on it.
“Then I spoke to Eugene ‛Buck’ Woods, Joe Bailey and [Gladstone] ‛Sad’ Brown and formed a committee but the OBA shut it down because we didn’t have charitable status and without charitable status nobody can donate money to you.”
The association has since been formed and has charity status (#1016). “It would be perfect to have this luncheon every year, so that the ex-players can get together and talk,” Tucker said.
Minors told those in attendance: “The committee has been discussing having this luncheon for some time, but Covid restrictions and the risk of Covid prevented this from happening as safety of you all was of paramount importance.
“We have finally been able to hold the function for you, our most senior former players. The purpose, to recognise you, the legacy, the history, the role models of one of the most important and significant holidays in Bermuda.
“The association is completely independent of the clubs and we aim to raise funding through annual memberships, banquets and golf tournaments, a week of Cup Match celebrations and other events that the association decides would benefit the beneficiaries of the association, namely yourselves and other former players, officials and younger aspiring cricketers.”
The other committee members are John Tucker, Taylor Duncan, Emmanuel Faria, Molly Simons and Hasan Durham.