It took 40 long, long years to win only their second major Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) one-day title but Wildey is deserving of the success they achieved last Saturday, as they now eye the double.
Playing at the 3Ws Oval in what is now called the BCA Super Cup, Wildey walloped Wanderers by 43 runs in a low-scoring final to capture the Championship for the first time since 1979 when they were known as Banks.
They first changed their name to Banks Wildey in 2013 and then to Wildey the following season after being forced to give up their treasured facility at The Brewery.
Wildey now use the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology (SJPIT) as their home ground and the likes of their outspoken and highly respected president Mark Estwick, as well as secretary Pedro Greaves have made it clear that the club is under financial pressure, compounded by a substantial non-payment of Indian Premier League fees owed for Carlos Brathwaite for 2016.
Winning the Super Cup earned them $15 000 and they are also on course for performing the double as current joint leaders with Empire on 47 points in the Elite division three-day Championship, going into Series 4 tomorrow.
Wildey should, however, take heart from the fact that the 1979 Banks team achieved the double by also capturing the First division, jointly with Spartan, after being sole champions in the three-day for the first time the previous year.
There were a few lows on and off the field in last Saturday’s Final.
The match total of 203 runs was the lowest in a Final where both teams lost all of their wickets, since 1975. Wildey was bowled out for 123 in 33.5 overs after winning the toss and Wanderers crashed for 80 in 40.2 overs.
Just four batsmen reached double-figures – two on either side – and there were only nine boundaries with Wildey scoring seven.
On a slow pitch, spinners accounted for 13 wickets including eight to three left-arms, all bowling orthodox.
And the match lacked the atmosphere associated with a Final when compared with showdowns of yesteryear.
Sundays are traditional for playing the two major BCA limited-overs Finals – the Super Cup and Shield. Furthermore, to be contested on the very same day when there was competition in the Intermediate, Second and Schools’ divisions – was mind-boggling, to say the least.
And one hopes that the BCA Board of Management will take a critical review of the fixtures for domestic competitions. Those responsible for such decisions must be told that you cannot “run down the cricket”.
Now, the previous lowest innings total in a Cup Final since 1975 when Barbados Fire (later renamed Sagicor General) took over the sponsorship after three years under the banner of Derrick Robins, and which they maintained for a remarkable 41 years, was 81 in 29.4 overs by Carlton against Maple in a 116-run defeat at Kensington Oval in 1977 (October 9).
Co-incidentally, the champion captains in 1979 (Colin Burke) and 2019 (Carlos Maynard) are both former students of Foundation School, which produced as many as seven players who were regulars in the Wildey team this season.
Apart from wicket-keeper/batsman Maynard, who moved from the Alleyne School to Foundation in the fifth form and was also a sixth former, the other former Foundation students who played in the Final were opening batsman Zachary McCaskie, middle-order batsman Aaron Jones, the unrelated left-arm fast bowler Jerome Jones and left-arm spinners Steve Pinder and Pius Emilien. The seventh Foundationer in the Wildey side, medium-pacer Latrell Callender, turned out in nine Super Cup matches this season.
The Foundation School connection with the club stretches even further as long-standing team manager Dale Callender is a past student.
McCaskie, Pinder, and Emilien all had solid performances in the Final. McCaskie hit the match top score of 48 off 63 balls with four boundaries and took four catches at slip to earn the Player of The Match award, the experienced Pinder grabbed three for 11 off eight overs including three maidens to end with 14 wickets, and Emilien, who like Maynard first attended Alleyne before entering Foundation in sixth form, picked up two for 18 off ten overs to finish with the most wickets all told in the 18-team Tournament – 24 at an average of 8.58 and an amazing economy rate of 2.31, having sent down 89 overs.
Maynard, the Joneses, and England new fast bowling sensation Jofra Archer, who is also a member of Wildey, all played in the Foundation team which won the 2013 BCA Intermediate division title.
The other members of the Wildey team, who played in last Saturday’s Final were opener Craig St. Hill, fellow batsmen Shane Parris and Shanaldo Taylor, off-spinning all-rounder Romario Greaves and fast bowler Akeem Jordan, who returned home from St. Kitts where only a few days earlier, he started preparations for the Caribbean Premier League as a member of the St. Kitts & Nevis Patriots.
Jordan, a standout with the ball for Combined Campuses & Colleges (CCC) when they won the regional one-day Tournament for the first time last year under the captaincy of Carlos Brathwaite, the West Indies Twenty20 skipper and One-Day International fast-bowling all-rounder, was impressive in the Final on Saturday. He took three for 14 off ten overs to finish the Tournament with 18 wickets.
Brathwaite, who like Jordan played in the semi-final against Empire at Bank Hall on August 24 – his first local domestic match since 2017 – had expressed optimism of Wildey capturing the title.
“I have looked from afar, having not been home much to be around the team, but being in the group chat and watching the guys progress, they work very, very hard,” he said in a live interview on the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation radio 94.7 FM after the semi-final match, which Wildey won by 96 runs.
“It is a very good young team, they stick together on and off the field, they gel together, they party together, they train hard together and they have come close in previous years to quarter-finals, semi-finals, so it is just a treat to be here to see them reach the Final and to carry on the legacy that Winston Reid and the likes would have left,” Brathwaite said.
For the younger generation, knowing a bit about the history of the club is vital.
Banks did not have an easy path to the BCA top division despite dominating in the Intermediate and Second divisions for a few years.
In fact, they won the Intermediate division in 1970 and 1971 in an era when their teams were made up basically of employees of Banks Breweries before gaining promotion to Division 1 in 1972. They also captured the Division 2 Cup in 1970.
Colin Burke was an excellent leader. A leg-spinning all-rounder with an affable personality, he was the captain of the 1979 Banks team which defeated neighbours Barclays (now defunct), then a strong Intermediate division team, including current BCA president Conde Riley, by two wickets in the Fire Cup Final at Kensington Oval.
To underline how competitive Banks were, they played in five limited-overs Finals in six seasons – 1976, 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1981 – a record for consistency on the big stage, surpassed only by Empire who contested six in nine years between 2000 and 2008.
Sadly, Burke died by drowning at Bath in St. John on February 23, 1985, at the age of 35 while he was on a picnic.
The other members of the 1979 Banks team who played in the Fire Cup Final were Arnold Gilkes, George Brathwaite, Hubert “Ellis” Brathwaite, Adrian Ashby, brothers Richard and Junior Holder; another pair of brothers – Clyde and Keith Beckles, Len Howard and Anderson Bowen. Keith Beckles died in 2001 at the age of 52.
Now, big up wonderful Wildey!
Keith Holder is a veteran, award-winning freelance sports journalist, who has been covering local, regional and international cricket since 1980 as a writer and commentator. He has compiled statistics on the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) Division 1 (now Elite) Championship for over three-and-a-half decades and is responsible for editing the BCA website (www.bcacricket.org).Email: [email protected]