By Neto Baptiste
Batting legend and former West Indies captain, Sir Vivian Richards, is one of two former Leeward Islands players set to be honoured during next month’s Gold Jacket Awards Ceremony to be hosted by the Leeward Islands Cricket Board (LICB).
The Antiguan, who scored 8540 runs in 121 Tests and another 6721 in 187 ODI matches between 1974 and 1991, will be joined by former Montserrat and Leeward Islands player Charles “Jim” Allen MBE, as the duo receives symbolic gold jackets during the December 2 ceremony to be held at the Coolidge Cricket Grounds.
Events Manager for the Gold Jacket Awards, Vernon Springer, said the day will however start at the 18-hold Cedar Valley Golf Course where individuals can enjoy a day of golf alongside the legend himself before attending the awards later that night.
“So you would be able to come to the golf tournament where you play golf with Viv in the morning and then you come in the evening at the Coolidge Cricket Grounds, the home of Cricket West Indies and you celebrate with Sir Viv and you see him get his gold jacket with also his lifelong friend because both him and Jim Allen were very close,” he said.
Springer, speaking on Observer Radio’s Connecting with Dave Lester Payne, recently described Allen as one of the best players out of the Emerald Isle of Montserrat.
“Jim Allen came at a particular time and even when they went to Kerry Packer in 1977, he was the only player not to have played Test cricket. Everybody else there who was part of that unit played Test cricket but you only have to just look at the impact that Jim Allen would have made as a 17-year-old in 1969 playing for Montserrat, so the impact of Jim was just remarkable,” he said.
Started back in 2022, the Gold Jacket Awards first honoured former St Kitts and Nevis and West Indies player, Elquemedo Tonito Willett MBE, and former Antigua and Barbuda and West Indies fast bowler, Sir Andy Roberts.
Springer said the event is also a major fundraiser for the LICB.
“This event is a fundraiser for the Leeward Islands Cricket Board so the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association is the host for this year but it is the Leeward Islands Cricket Board event. Folks might be asking why we are using this as a fundraiser. It’s a way for us to raise funds for all of our youth tournaments be it under-15, under-17 and we now have boys and girls under-19, and with Cricket West Indies present format now, they are playing white ball and red ball,” he said.
Tickets for the event cost US$100 and can be bought here at Roti King, Landing Strip and 18 Plus One Restaurant, while in Montserrat, tickets can be bought at Beni’s Jewelry in Brades and Summer Breeze Restaurant in Little Bay.
It is sponsored by Digicel, Cool & Smooth and Fair Break Global.