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F.O Mason praises Sir Clyde Walcott

F.O Mason praises Sir  Clyde Walcott

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Frank O. Mason, distinguished as one of this country’s sporting legends, has paid tribute to the late Sir Clyde Walcott.

F.O. Mason, revered as perhaps this country’s most respected fast bowler, described Sir Clyde as one of the “greats; apart from his batting, he was gentle man.” F.O. regarded as perhaps the best West Indian fast bowler, who never played for the West Indies, recalled playing in trial matches with Sir Clyde.{{more}}

F.O. remembered Sir Clyde as a “tall and stately player.”

“I saw Clyde against Alfie Valentine. I saw Clyde put his foot outside the off stump and drag him straight across square leg for six,” F.O said.

F.O. also commended Sir Frank Worrell, another of the famous Three W’s, that heralded an era of fame and respect for regional cricket. F.O spoke about Sir Frank’s “late cut” and in the same breath added: He and Clyde “invented strokes. They made the game.”

F.O himself turned 80 last July. He is however still full of wit and he may not remember everything in detail, for he has seen quite a lot, but he is certain about his respect for Sir Clyde.

F.O recalls Sir Clyde as one given to strict discipline.

F.O. himself is one with a dazzling career. Many persons believe that his exclusion from the West Indies squad was a glaring oversight, engendered by practices of insularity. But Mason never allowed any situation to overawe him.

He recalled in that trial match in which Sir Clyde took part, Wes Hall was young then.

“Wes would say I was a better bowler than he was,” and F.O added, “it was surprising” that he was not included in the party.

He confessed that he had an ambition to have been a West Indian player, and that he should have been picked before John Trimm, a Guyanese fast bowler, but “that didn’t bother me.”

I came back here and played my cricket.”

Speaking at his home in New Montrose overlooking capital city Kingstown, F.O reflected: “Once you were from a small island, you had to do twice as much as the fella from the bigger islands.”

He stated “(Garfield) Sobers tried to knock me about so that Wes Hall could get on.” F.O. noted that Sir Garfield wrote that in his book.

F.O. used the occasion of Sir Clyde’s tribute to focus on cricket. He indicated that “these fellas now ah days play for money. Every time a team is to go on tour, they want money.”

F.O recalled, “we played cricket as a sport.”

He has no regrets.

He reflected on his first outing for St. Vincent and the Grenadines and outlined: “I bowled Frank Worrell for zero. A lot of people remembered that.”

Worrell was another F.O. Mason victim bowled for 25.

A crowning moment was in 1962 when in a second innings, he picked up 9 for 13 and was instrumental in Dominica’s dismissal for 32.

F.O. recalled bowling partners like Vincentians Elliot Cambridge, Dougal McCaulay, Ayrton Clouden, Frank Thomas, and Ralph Walker.

Alfie Roberts who played for the West Indies was known for his batting ability.

F.O recalled St. Lucians Brian Crick, Mindoo Phillip, and Val Felix, Grenadians: Fletcher, Evelyn Gresham, Theodore Redhead, and Johnny Steele, and Dominica’s Ivan Shillingford.

F.O was trained as an agricultural inspector at the Campden Park Experiment Station and served in the Southern Grenadines for six months, but perhaps his longest period of service was with the constabulary.

He was Senior Prison Officer from 1958 to 1963, then Superintendent of Prisons from 1968 to 1984. In the interim, he was Inspector of Police.

Mason captained the Vincentian, Grenadian, Windwards, and Combined Islands teams.

He is not worried about plans to name Victoria Park after him.

“Once it was a ball game, I was trying it.” That included football in which he was goalkeeper for SVG, a sprinter, basketballer, high jumper, volley baller, table tennis, and lawn tennis player “to keep me going.”

“I even played netball with the girls,” he said. F.O coached at schools around Kingstown and also in the North Leeward area.

He was president of the Umpires Association. He is pleased to see the reinstatement of the cricket pitch at Victoria Park.

He outlined that persons like St. Clair ‘Rabbit’ Warner, Paul Boucher, Ian Neverson, Ken John having learnt their cricket at Victoria Park.

“I am happy to see a cricket pitch at Victoria Park,” F.O said.

An ardent and devout cricket fan, F.O. is also anxious to see extension of works at the Arnos Vale Playing Field.

“I hope it finishes. We got to get Arnos Vale back up to speed,” F.O suggested.

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