ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – The Leeward Islands Cricket Association on Saturday night launched its centennial year of celebrations with a gala dinner and awards at the Grand Royal Antiguan Resort. The event was held before an appreciative audience. In attendance at the gala was a wide cross section of people representing players, administrators, government officials from across the Leeward Islands, and from the business community.
During the evening’s event, Mr. Gregory Shillingford, President of the Leeward Islands Cricket Association (LICA), announced that the night’s event signaled the start of the centennial year of celebrations for the organization. The president also confirmed that a commemorative book has been commissioned to document for posterity, the rich history and developments surrounding the sport of cricket in the Leeward Islands. The book will be comprised of 10 chapters with each chapter capturing a decade of cricket history and accomplishments in the Leeward Islands.
Mr. Shillingford also informed the gathering that the celebrations will continue in the other member territories during the year, and will culminate with a final gala which will bring down the curtains on the centennial year of celebrations.
Several persons were also recognized for their contributions to the growth and development of the sport in the Leeward Islands. (See attached list). This process of honoring persons who have contributed significantly to the sport will continue as LICA moves to give just recognition to these individuals – many of whom are no longer alive. The honorees from Saturday include: Elquemedo Willett, the first cricketer from the Leeward Islands to gain selection to the West Indies team. Last month Mr. Willett celebrated the 40th anniversary of his selection to the West Indies team. Also receiving awards were: Anderson M. E. Roberts, the first Antiguan to gain selection to the West Indies team and Sir Vivian Richards, the second Antiguan to play for the West Indies team, and the only captain never to have lost a Test series.
Other awardees were: Pat Whyte, retired umpire, Jim Allen who many considered unlucky not to have gotten selection to the West Indies team, businessman Imran McSood, for his continued sponsorship of the Leeward Islands flagship competition, Basil Morgan another retired international umpire, Samuel “Sammy” Henry, the person who is credited for agitating and bringing about the eventual split between St. Kitts and Nevis, thereby allowing Nevis to compete as a separate entity in the Leeward Islands competitions.
Organized cricket in the Leeward Islands started in 1913, when the five (5) member territories – Antigua, St. Kitts/Nevis, Anguilla, Montserrat and Dominica — agreed to start playing amongst themselves for the Hesketh Bell Shield in honor of the Governor of the Leeward Islands at that time, Sir Hesketh Bell.