Tyrone Smith (1955-2022): a batsman who struck fear into the hearts of bowlers
One of Bermuda’s most explosive batsmen for more than 20 years, Tyrone Smith, died on the weekend at the age of 66 after a long illness.
Smith, who came to the island from Barbados in 1978 to serve as a policeman, was an outstanding batsman and medium-pace bowler for the Police Recreation Club team, for Somerset Cricket Club in Cup Match and for Bermuda.
Smith, who was a policeman in Barbados and played for their cricket team before moving to Bermuda, served as a policeman here for 32 years, rising to the rank of chief inspector before retiring in 2010.
Last week, Acting Commissioner of Police Darrin Simons expressed his sadness at the passing of Smith on the Bermuda Police Facebook page.
“On Sunday, February 6, we learnt of the passing of one of our BPS family members, former Chief Inspector 327 Tyrone O’Brien Smith,” Simons posted.
“Tyrone O. Smith was born in Christ Church, Barbados, on November 3, 1955 and relocated to Bermuda as a police officer in 1978.
“Former Chief Inspector Tyrone Smith joined the Bermuda Police Service as a constable on August 6, 1978. He was promoted to sergeant on May 20, 1991, then on December 1, 1998 he was promoted to inspector. Almost four years later, he was promoted to the rank of chief inspector on November 1, 2002.
“Former Chief Inspector 327 Tyrone Smith, retired on November 25, 2010 after 32 years and three months’ service to the people of Bermuda. His last working day was August 10, 2010.
“The BPS family’s thoughts and prayers are with his loving wife, Tracy Smith, his son, Tyrone Jr, family, friends, former colleagues and loved ones at this difficult time.”
Smith was part of a successful Police cricket team in the 1980s and 1990s, an eclectic mixture of Bermudian and West Indian players. The team won several league and Central Counties titles.
He also played for the Somerset Cup Match team from 1981 to 1986, making a victorious debut at Wellington Oval. He also played for Willow Cuts in the Western Counties and Flatts in the Eastern Counties.
In the 1982 Cup Match in Somerset, Smith shared in a third-wicket stand of 98 with Ricky Hill, at that time one of the highest such partnerships in the Annual Classic.
Smith had his best Cup Match score of 55 in that match, scoring two half-centuries as Somerset went on to win the match by six wickets. In total, he batted for nine innings in Cup Match, scored 161 runs and took eight catches.
“I give my condolences to his family and friends,” said Tucker, who led the team from 1982 to 1986. “May God bless his family.
“Tyrone was a very aggressive batsmen and once he got going he could score runs very, very quickly. He was a good fielder also.
“He liked to play his shots and decorate the scoreboard. He was a batsman who you wanted to get out very quickly.
“I admired some of the shots that he played. If you bowled him a bouncer first ball, he would try to hit you for a six first ball!”
Winston Reid, who came to Bermuda from Barbados in 1974, remembers his countryman as an explosive batsman who put fear in bowlers.
“He was very prolific, hit the ball hard,” recalled Reid, who also played with Smith in Cup Match. “He was a classy player, and I must admit a lot of players would have been scared of him because Tyrone feared nobody.
“He played for the Police in Barbados and my understanding is he did well for the Police team in Barbados, too. He had broad shoulders and hit the ball hard. My condolences go out to his family.”
The Police team here went out of the league after the 2010 season, by which time Smith had already stopped playing. But he left an impression on those who saw him play.
Arnold Manders, a former Western Stars and Bermuda captain who is now the president of the Bermuda Cricket Board, played against Smith domestically and led a national team that contained Smith at the 1990 ICC Trophy in the Netherlands.
“When Tyrone came in to bat we opened the field, gave him a single and worked on the other batsman,” Manders said. “Keep him away from the strike; that was our plan.
“Tyrone was an excellent all-rounder who played the game hard and hit the ball hard,” Manders explained. “I remember one time we [Western Stars] scored 280 for about four and Police replied in the first ten overs with 120 without loss. Tyrone had 80 or 90, but when he got out we ended up winning the game.
“He was an excellent fielder, a pretty decent medium-pacer who was quicker than you thought he was, and as a batsman he could hit it a mile. But he had every shot in the book as well. He probably didn’t have the patience because if he had that he would have made tons of runs.”
Manders added: “Even when he represented Bermuda he didn’t do as well as I wanted him to do, but I needed him in the squad because I thought he could bring us through. Tyrone was an awesome all-rounder and a nice guy as well.“
Ferdinand Thorne played for Police after arriving in Bermuda in 1988, also from Barbados, and had some fond memories of playing alongside Smith in a formidable team that mixed it favourably during a powerful period for the Central Counties, which also included Devonshire Rec, Western Stars and National Sports Club.
“He used to bowl quickly, was an excellent fielder, plus he had the knowledge of the game,” Thorne said. “He was very talented and nonchalant!
“The bowlers feared Tyrone. I remember playing against Rangers, he and I opened the batting. Kyle Lightbourne was bowling in a game just before Cup Match.
“I stroked Kyle through the covers for a couple of fours and Tyrone told me ‘give me a piece of him’. The next over from Kyle, I got a single to give him to Tyrone and Tyrone hit him for four or five sixes.
“Kyle told his skipper, ‘I’ve made Cup Match already, I’m not bowling any more’.”
Thorne added: “Tyrone was talented. Even when I talk to guys from Barbados about him, they said that Tyrone was the best young batsman that they had seen who never played international cricket.
“They said the same thing about Colin Blades.”