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FROM THE HEART BY BEVAN SPRINGER – An unexpected call stirs memories of cricket, college and the Caribbean

February 3, 2023

An unexpected call stirs memories of cricket, college and the Caribbean

Illustration by Abdul Wahid, MPE

Earlier this week, I received a voice mail message from a gentleman with a distinctive Barbadian accent calling from Victoria, British Columbia in Canada.

Since I spent some of my most impressionable years in the Pacific Northwest, I promptly returned his call and was pleasantly reacquainted with someone I met on the cricket field more than three decades ago.

John Callender, who was active in the cricket community when I was at Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific, had received my column about the newly appointed president of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association from a friend, and decided to call my office.

As we chatted, he shared memories of playing cricket against me at the Metchosin Cricket Club, and reflected fondly on the talent of Antiguan brothers Kortwright “Bing” Richards and Eric Richards, who both excelled at the game while living in Victoria.

While my recall was not as strong as I would have liked, I did remember that I scored a lot of runs during that Metchosin match (probably a century if I am not mistaken), at which point he pleaded with me not to remind him!

Back in those days I played some indoor practice sessions with a legendary Barbadian cricketer, then coach, who John reminded me was Tony Cordle, Glamorgan’s first overseas fast bowler and member of the county’s attack which won the English County Championship in 1969. After retiring from the game, Cordle made a stellar contribution to the game across Canada.

John went on to share some cricket trivia, explaining that Cordle was on the opposing Glamorgan team when Sir Garfield Sobers, the Barbadian and West Indian cricket legend, became the first man in first-class cricket to hit six sixes in an over, while playing in the English County Championship for Nottinghamshire in Swansea in 1968. Malcolm Nashwas the unfortunate bowler, and both Nash and Cordle ended up settling in Victoria, Canada.

I told John that I had visited Pearson College in November with my family and that I now serve on two Board committees, and he recalled 

meeting Christine Skeete, another Bajan student who later attended Pearson College.

As fate would have it, during that visit, while lining up in a restaurant queue in Victoria, I bumped into a dear Pearson friend, Marna Smith, who I had not seen in ages. This was a delightful cap on a most memorable visit.

The pleasant reacquaintance with John evoked a variety of memories that continue to flow, thanks to this delightful conversation full of reminiscences of my earlier days in Canada as I was finding my way in the world, but always holding onto and ever proud of my Caribbean heritage.

Thank you for the call, John, and more importantly, the opportunity to reflect on the path of life (aka ‘the past’) that has led us both to the present. May God continue to bless you richly into the future.


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