By: Curtis Morton
Elquemedo Tonito Willet is renowned as the first man from Nevis and indeed the Leeward Islands to have made it into the West Indies team but not as many persons are aware that many years before that, a certain Theodore Hobson was the first Nevisian to make it into a Leeward Islands team and later to the West Indies trials.
Theodore Hobson grew up just a stone’s throw away from the then Grove Park, now the Elquemedo Willet Park and fell in love with the game of Cricket from the early age of five.
He later played for his Primary school and then moved into club cricket at an early age. He started out as a medium pace bowler but soon found his true talents as a wicket keeper/batsman.
He soon caught the eyes of the local selectors and was drafted into the first ever Nevis team to compete in the Leeward Islands tournament in 1949 at age 17.
The Nevis team then was not even properly attired because cricket wear and gear were difficult to obtain due to their economic situation.
He later toured with the Leeward Islands team to Bermuda as second wicketkeeper to a Mackay Thompson of St.Kitts but soon took over the role as lead wicketkeeper on the tour due to his excellent form.
In 1954, he was called to the West Indies trials in Guyana along with two other players from the Leewards in Austin Eddy of St.Kitts and Antonyson of Antigua.
One of the teams was captained by Frank Worrell and the other by Robert Christiani of Guyana.
He kept wicket for one team and the other wicketkeeper on show was Jackie Hendricks.
He is adamant that he performed creditably and noted that the newspaper reports singled him out as the top wicketkeeper/batsman in the trial games. However, he was not selected.
This caused him to make a decision to migrate to England where he played league cricket in Lancashire and later went on to study law.
He returned to Nevis in 1963 as a fully qualified lawyer. He rejoined the Nevis team in 1964 under the captaincy of Harold Walters and took over the captaincy in 1965.
By 1966 he was appointed the captain of the Leeward Islands team. He stopped playing completive cricket in 1967. By that time he had given up all hopes of making the West Indies team.
Hobson noted that the fastest bowler that he ever faced and kept wicket to was Antonyson out of Antigua and is of the view that he was the fastest bowler ever out of the Leewards, with all respects to Andy Roberts and others.
He is also of the view that Austin Eddy is the best spin bowler that he has ever faced or kept wicket to because of his guile, variety and accuracy.
As a note to the youngsters, he asked them to set their goals and be prepared to work hard at achieving those goals using honest means.
Mr. Theodore Hobson was one of the honourees for the annual Sports Museum week on Nevis for 2014.