Cricket Hall of Fame 2012 | Photo Gallery
By Orin Davidson
From the backyards of rural Guyana to the pristine sward of cricket’s most notable arena at Lord’s in England, attendees at the Cricket Hall of Fame 2012 ceremony were regaled about the experiences of the eight inductees in the 2012 class, last Saturday evening at the Hilton Hotel in Hartford, Connecticut.
Those accounts had one common theme though, intense love for the sport.
West Indies Test players Basil Butcher and Joe Solomon, the biggest names on the list of inductees, were said to have played with such sartorial elegance, they were considered regulars of Seville Row – the London street renowned for its classy tailoring,
The accolade was bestowed on the two Guyanese greats by Rudolph Cohen, their teammate on the 1966 West Indies touring team of England.
Solomon, once described a scary experience involving ace fast bowler Charlie Griffith, while representing Guyana in a territorial game against Barbados in Barbados. “There was a discussion about Charlie Griffith throwing, at a team meeting, and the caretaker at the ground went back and told Charlie,” Solomon related. “Then just before the start of the game he (Griffith) came into the dressing room and said, so and you, say I am throwing, we will see”. Solomon went on to describe how Griffith, one of the fastest bowlers ever, “rained” bouncers at them during the game.
Butcher, the best West Indian batsman during the 1966 tour, said one of the greatest pleasures he experienced during his career was being told by people how much they enjoyed his batting.
Butcher and Solomon who hail from the same village of Port Mourant in Guyana, were happy to receive long over-due proclamations, inducting them into the Cricket Hall of Fame.
None were happier though, than administrator John Aaron, a fellow Guyanese who reeled off a long list of supporters that inspired his love for cricket.
Having not played the game at any level of note competitively, Aaron said his only Man of the Match award was for hitting two sixes and two fours with a coconut tree branch bat in a backyard in his native country.
After immigrating to the United States, Aaron said he was hauled into administration, “kicking and screaming” by his brother Keith Aaron, a former Guyana player, while the latter represented Atlantis club in Queens.
Aaron went on to become the secretary of the United States, national ruling body (USACA), after serving Atlantis for a number of years. He said his father Reggie Aaron, a former player, umpire and journalist, was mainly responsible for his undying love for the sport.
The function was well put together by the Cricket Hall of Fame committee, headed by president Curtis Clarke. It featured a number of exotic cultural performances of West Indian flavor.
Michael Chambers, its director, highlighted the history of the organization that started its induction process in 1981 with a resulting list that includes some of the world’s best cricketers like master blaster Vivian Richards and Indian superstar Sunil Gavaskar.
Among last Saturday’s inductees was American citizen Jamie Harrison, an administrator from Baltimore Maryland, who grew to love the game, despite never experienced the joys of it in any of the recognized playing nations.
Harrison, who initiated the US Youth Cricket Association training program, stated that cricket has huge potential for growth among young Americans and will succeed once it is properly presented to the kids. From his past experiences, Harrison stated that children like nothing better than hitting a ball and running, and urged the powers that be, to keep up the thrust for development in programs targeting youngsters with the correct approaches.
The other inductees in the 2012 class were, Samuel Belnavis, president of the Metropolitan League, Dale Holness, Joseph Buffong and Mohamed ‘Mo’ Ally.
Andrew “Buster” Headley received the Golden Age Award and Laurel Scott, the Presidential Award.