Leroy ‘Tubby’ Richardson (1921-2019)
The oldest surviving former Cup Match player, Leroy “Tubby” Richardson, has died.
Mr Richardson, a one-time St George's player and resident, who passed away on Monday, was 97.
He made his debut in the Classic in 1941, at the age of 20.
He later captained the team for four years before he played his last Cup Match in 1955.
Neil Paynter, president of St George's Cricket Club, said Mr Richardson, an elder statesman in his Wellington area of the town, made an impact beyond the cricket field.
He added: “He is definitely a loss, not only to his family, but the community at large, to be the oldest surviving Cup Match player from both sides.
“I was hoping that he would be able to make those few more singles to get to that century.
“He's had a good life and will be a miss in and around the St George's community and definitely at Cup Match. He was always there.”
Mr Paynter added: “He was a lively fella. You would see him at Angeline's Coffee Shop getting his breakfast or sitting off at the Square. He was very soft-spoken but a very knowledgeable man.
“He treated me with the utmost respect, calling me Mr president. Here he was, a man old enough to be my grandfather. I am truly grateful and honoured to have been in his presence.”
Mr Paynter, for a short period, lived a couple of doors down from Mr Richardson's home, which overlooked Mullet Bay.
He said: “He took a liking to the youngsters coming through and was always willing to part with that knowledge and advice that any man would like to give to a young man.
“I must say he contributed without fail to our Cup Match prize-giving every year. He would give every player something, including the reserves.”
Mr Richardson said in a Royal Gazette article in 2014: “I don't fuss about anything and just be myself. I just take things as they come and I am grateful to live this long — especially when one considers that my mother died when she was 22 and my father at 43.”
Richardson took a sharp catch off his own bowling in his Cup Match debut to dismiss top Somerset batsman Alma “Champ” Hunt for 104.
He said: “That was one of the proudest moments of my Cup Match career.”
In the 11 matches he played, Richardson scored 144 runs in 17 innings, including a top score of 33.
His best figures in Cup Match were in his first year as captain in 1951 when he claimed four for 22 and five for 34 to lead his team to victory over the champions by seven wickets.
He also held a total of ten catches in Cup Match.
Even 60 years after he played his last Cup Match, Mr Richardson was never far from the event and attended every year in Somerset or St George's.
Cricket and Cup Match were his passion and he had a favourite spot at Wellington Oval, next to the canteen, where he watched the games.
Dennis Wainwright made his debut for St George's in 1957, two years after Mr Richardson retired.
He said: “This is a great loss. He depicted to me what a cricketer and a gentleman is.
“We've got a lot of cricket players but few cricketers. He was a cricketer.”
Mr Wainwright, who also still attends Cup Match every year, spent time with Richardson in St George's talking about cricket.
He said: “In St George's, you knew where to find him.” ?
He added: “When he was invited to something, he always dressed accordingly.
“He had a very good memory for his age and he always carried himself in a way that one could emulate.
“He is going to be a big miss — he was Mr Cricket as far as I'm concerned.”
Mr Richardson's wife, Olive, died in 1992.
He is survived by sons Leroy Jr, Calvin, Randy, Tracey and daughter Lynette Gibson, who is a nursing professor in South Carolina.
Lovitta Foggo, the Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sports, called him “a true gentleman — both on and off the cricket pitch” from a “golden era of cricket in Bermuda”.
Ms Foggo said he had set a standard for sportsmanship on the pitch.
She added: “I was lucky to have enjoyed a personal relationship with him, and up until recently I frequently had breakfast with him at Mama Angie's in St George's where he shared much of his sporting history with me. In fact, he was a treasure trove of historical knowledge and shared stories about things that I had never even heard about.
“One example that comes to mind is when he told me that he and my dad were on the original Colt's Cup Match team for St George's; I never knew that. He will be a big miss.”