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Rayner honoured with memorial game

Honouring his memory: St George’s will hold a game in memory of Rayner, who died last year at 64 (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

The first Calvin Rayner memorial match will take place next Saturday at Wellington Oval as the St George’s community remember one of their most talented, and dedicated, footballers.

Rayner died on March 14 last year after collapsing while playing a St George’s All-Stars interclub match at St George’s Cricket Club. He was 64.

“I think it is great that they want to honour Calvin,” said his widow, Essie. “Football was his passion and he had been playing football practically his whole life.

“For him to pass while playing football, I think this is a great tribute to him and for the guys to remember that day. It’s going to be emotional for his family.”

After retiring from the St George’s Colts, Rayner moved on to play in the Commercial League with the All-Stars and continued to follow the game as a die-hard supporter of English club Tottenham Hotspur.

“Football was his game, he loved it and Tottenham was his team,” said his wife. “When Tottenham were on TV he would put on his cap, scarf around his neck, his jersey on and his mug with his tea and sit off like he was at the game. It was a ritual whenever Tottenham played.”

Rayner was one of the top players of his generation and played for Bermuda in the 1968 Bermuda International Youth Tournament held here featuring the United States, Canada, Mexico, Haiti and Barbados. Some of Rayner’s team-mates were Clyde Best, Harold Madeiros, Clarence Symonds, Dereck and Dale Russell, Johnny Nusum, Roger Hunt, Erskine “Choe” Smith, David Frost, Mel Lewis, Cal Rayner and Richard “Dirt” Simmons.

Next weekend’s memorial match will involve players from the All-Stars and will start at 3pm. A minute’s silence will be observed before the game and Raynor’s grandson, Sinclair Smith, who plays for St George’s Colts, will wear his No 9 jersey.