Seymour Nurse: My First Test (5 December 1998)

5 December 1998

Seymour Nurse: My First Test

by Philip Spooner

Sparkling 70 Started It For Nurse

"Classy", "stylish", and "a wonderful exponent" of the art of batting are a few words that can describe the legend we know today as Seymour Nurse.

The elegant middle-order batsman, who started his cricket in the Barbados Cricket League before moving to the famous Empire Club, started his fruitful international career in grand style.

Called-up at the last moment for the third Test against England at Sabina Park in February 1960, he hit a sparkling 70 first up.

That launched a 29-match career which produced 2 523 runs at 47.60 per innings, including six centuries. His best of 258 came in his final innings, against New Zealand at Christ Church in 1969.

Wristy and artistic with wonderful discipline and powers of concentration, Nurse marched onto the Test stage on a high at the mature age of 26.

"I was confident of doing well against England," said the soft-spoken right-hander. "I made a double-hundred against them over the Christmas period of '59, so that put me in the right frame of mind."

"Someone pulled out of the team and I was chosen as the replacement. When I arrived in Jamaica I was met by a wonderful man named McDonald Bailey who took me straight to the hotel," Nurse said.

"I was met first by Wes (Hall), who congratulated me on making the team, and later Garry (Sobers) came around and I met with the other members of the team."

However, there was a problem.

"I had only one bat and it had three straps like a sergeant," the 65-year-old Scorpio said with a laugh. "But Bailey came to my rescue at the perfect time and got a bat called a 'Perfect'."

Perfect indeed - Nurse hit his first ball from Brian Statham to the cover boundary.

He came in after Statham and fast bowling partner Freddie Trueman forced Easton McMorris to retire hurt with blows to the body.

"As McMorris was coming in I was going out to join Garry," Nurse recalled. "It was a shiny, glossy pitch and it was quick. Trueman and Statham were coming down pretty quick and straight. You had to be careful."

Testimony to this was the fact that the pair shared 10 wickets. Trueman, a fiery Yorkshireman - had six scalps; five bowled and one leg-before. Of Statham's four, two were bowled, one leg-before, and the other caught.

Nurse, renowned as the master of the leg-glance and late cut, amassed 70 before inexperience led to his downfall.

In trying to hit out against off-spinner Ray Illingworth, he lofted a ball to MJK Smith at mid-on.

"Inexperience got the better of me. I could have had an easy hundred, but that's life. You learn as you go along."

Nurse's knock, along with 147 from Sobers and 73 by McMorris, allowed the West Indies to reach 353 in response to England's 277.

Batting a second time, England made 305 and set 228 to win. West Indies ended on 175 for six, with Nurse managing just 11 in the second innings.

However, he was omitted for the next game in British Guiana.

"I was disappointed, but not really hurt. I knew I would get back into the squad as long as I kept performing," Nurse said.

"My aim was always to play for Barbados and the West Indies, and having achieved this I was satisfied."

Source :: The Barbados Nation (