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27 July 1999
Jamaica: A century of sport
Jimmy Carnegie, Contributor
Cricket, track and field, swimming bring glory to Jamaica
1901 - 1910: AUGUST 1905, Jamaica loses all four matches to Trinidad by wide margins at Sabina Park in the first intercolonial cricket series played by the island in the new century. John Kenneth (JK) Holt Senior, (whose son was to be a successful Test batsman), described by some as "the W.G. Grace of Jamaica", makes 67 in the second innings of the first match, while C.S. Morrison, later to be a prominent member of the Legislative Council, takes 5 wickets an innings and 7 wickets overall in the third match and makes 54 in the second innings of the fourth. One member of the Trinidadian team is L.S. Constantine, father of the famous Learie Constantine.
July 1908: Gerald Claude (GC) Foster goes to England hoping to enter the Games of the IV Olympiad in London in the 100 metres event but is unable to participate through injury or problems of late entry. He performs creditably against some of the top performers in various meets. Earlier in the decade, Foster had run 9.8 seconds for 100 yards at a time when the unofficial world's best was 9.6.
June 1910: The first Inter-Secondary Schools Champion ship Sports are held at Sabina Park, later to be known just as Champs or Boys Champs. Wolmer's School wins the first event. The Class I champion is the versatile Norman Washington (NW) Manley of Jamaica College who establishes himself as a public figure in this arena first. He finishes second in the 100 yards, 440 yards, 880 yards and long jump and wins the 120 yards hurdles. The winner of the standing high jump is Bertrand Milbourne Clark also of JC. Over the next two decades, he is to become Jamaica's most consistent male tennis player ever and also its champion golfer.
1911 - 20: In June 1911 and July 1912, Manley leads JC to the first two years of a hat-trick of victories at Boys Champs. He sets standards of individual performance that have never been surpassed or equalled there. More importantly however, he establishes the event as one of the best of its kind in the world, a status that it has maintained. Most importantly, as an 18-year-old schoolboy, he demonstrated that he was a sprinter of adult world class.
In 1911, he won 5 of his 6 events. In 1912, he won all 6. He is most famous for running 10 seconds flat (or what was then known as even time) for the 100 yards in 1911, setting a record that lasted for 41 years being equalled by a few others along the way, including his son, Douglas, in 1941, in a year in which Herb McKenley also participated. His 220 yards time of 23 seconds in 1911 was only .3 of a second slower than the time of 22.7 in which the bronze medal, in the slightly shorter 200 metres event, had been won by Nate Cartmell of the USA at the 1908 Olympics, Cartmell being a four-time Olympic medalist at the games of 1904 and 1908 in the 100, 200 and 1600 relay events. Manley was to go to Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship during this decade, but the 1916 Olympics were cancelled by the First World War in which he was also to fight with distinction.
1921 - 30: January 1925, Jamaica has a three-match cricket tour of Barbados, their first since a single match was played there in 1896. J.K. Holt Snr. is still around approaching 50 years of age and makes 44 in the first match. Second top scorer is another familiar name in his second sport G.C. Foster, who makes 61 while O.C. Tommy Scott, more famous as a bowler, makes 47. The top scorer however is F.R. "Frank" Martin with 195 run out and we shall hear more of him in the next decade. Scott takes only two wickets in the series, but makes 94 in the second innings of the second game and 51 in the first innings of the third. Two fathers of sons who were to become better known, or achieve more, also play (Scott being the father of a son who was not to do quite as well) Dr. J.J. Cameron was to have two sons who were to play for the West Indies J.H. and F.J. "Jimmy" Cameron and E.A. "Ernest" Rae was to be surpassed by his son Allan Rae. All 3 matches are drawn and R.K. Nunes, the captain, makes a 40 in each match. The only other man to pass 50 however is C.M. Morales, the opener and wicket-keeper who makes 73 in the second innings of the second match. Rae is the only bowler who performs well with 4 for 50 in the second match.
In 1926,the Jamaicans did far better in the batting department against Hon. F.S.G. Calthorpe's M.C.C. (Marleybourne Cricket Club) team. Robert Karl Nunes had scores of 140 not out, 200 not out and 108 and Martin had 200 not out. Lord Tennyson, grandson of the famous English poet, was a member of Calthorpe's team and he returned, leading a team of his own in 1928. George Headley, not yet 19, makes 71 and 211 against Tennyson's team.
June-August 1928, also marks the formation of the West Indies Cricket Board of Control with Jamaica as a full constituent member and, in the same year, there is the first Test tour of England and the first Test matches ever played by the West Indies. Nunes serves as both the first West Indies Test captain and the first West Indies wicket-keeper and, with 37, makes second top score to Martin in the first innings of the First Test as the latter makes 44. The third Jamaican, Scott, who was to end his career as supposedly the first West Indian bowler (he being a leg-spinner) to take 200 first-class wickets joins the team for the Second and Third Tests. He thus paves the way for being the first also of 3 father-son combinations to play Test cricket for the West Indies. England wins all 3 Tests easily by an innings "and change", but Scott makes a second top score of 32 in the West Indies first innings and takes 2 for 28 in the only England innings, while Martin makes second top score (also 32) in the West Indies second innings of the Second Test and also the top score of 41 in the West Indies' second innings of the Third and final Test.
January-April 1930, George Headley is the only Jamaican on the West Indies team in Barbados to play in the First Test in 1930 against England, the first Test match ever played in the West Indies. His second innings score of 176 makes him the first West Indian batsman to score a century in his first Test match. In the Third Test of the series played in British Guiana, the first Test match ever won by the West Indies, he is still the only Jamaican representative as he becomes the first West Indian batsman, and the only one for 19 years, to become a Test "immortal". That is to score a century in each innings of a Test Match with 114 run out and 112. In the Fourth and final Test at Sabina in which 8 Jamaicans play, Headley makes his fourth century in four Test matches equalling a world series record with 223 in the second innings, the highest score yet made by a West Indian. All these achievements were completed by the middle of April 1930, or before his 21st birthday in May, as Headley becomes recognised as one of the world's greatest batsmen and the first unquestionably great Jamaican international sporting personality. Scott also becomes the first West Indian bowler to take 9 wickets in any Test match.
March 1930: Jamaica enters its first multi-sport international Games, the II Central American and Caribbean Games in Havana, Cuba and wins its first medal, significantly in the sport of track and field athletics, through Joe McKenzie who captures a silver medal in the men's high jump. (NB: Eric Maxwell in the men's long jump, who happens to be the maternal uncle of the present writer, a retired Archdeacon of the Anglican Church may be, at age 96, the oldest living Jamaican national representative of any sport).
December 1930: West Indies begin their first Test series against Australia in Australia in mid-December. Four Jamaicans, Headley, Martin, Scott ad Ivan Barrow, the new wicket-keeper, play along with four Barbadians and three Trinidadians. Scott claims 4 Australian first innings wickets for 83 runs as the Australians win easily by 10 wickets. Barrow, who had made his debut in the last Test against England earlier in the year, takes three catches also in that innings, one off Scott.
1931-40: In the Second Test of the series (January - March 1931), won by an innings and 172 runs by Australia, Scott is again the most successful West Indian bowler with 4 for 66 in the only Australian innings, and, in the two low-scoring West Indian innings of 107 and 90, his 15 is the second top score in the first and his 17 is also the second top score in the second.
In the Third Test, Headley comes into his own as he carries his bat for 102 batting at No. 3, but coming in after Clifford Roach of Trinidad, the opener and the first West Indian to make a Test half-century, a Test century and a Test double century, was out for only 4. Headley's 102 is, incidentally, of a total of only 193, as Martin makes the next highest score of 21.
In the Fourth Test, the West Indian batting problems continue but Headley top scores n the first innings with 33 of 99 and Scott does the same with a not out 20 in a total of 107 in the second innings, as the Australians win again by an innings.
In the Fifth Test, which ended on March 4, the West Indies secure their first ever victory over Australia and their first overseas Test victory, the latter being an achievement that they were not to repeat for 18 years, and the former, one that they would not repeat for 20 years. The Jamaicans are prominent in this as Martin becomes the second West Indian batsman, after Headley, to score a Test century against Australia with 123, and Headley scores his second with 105, also making the second top score of 30 in the declared West Indian second innings of 124 for 5. Barrow has two catches and a stumping (off Scott) in the Australian first innings. The other main contributors to the victory are Learie Constantine of Trinidad with three wickets and three additional catches and the Barbadian fast bowlers George Francis (with four first innings wickets) and "Herman Griffith who bowled Don Bradman for 0", as he did in the second innings, to be so known in his native country for the rest of his life. Griffith, who also had a wicket in the first innings to add to his second innings, is the father of Teddy Griffith, the left-handed opening batsman who was to play cricket for both Jamaica and Barbados and who was selected to join the West Indies for a tour of India in 1965 which, unfortunately for him, was postponed for a year, after which he was not selected.
1931-40: February 1932: George Headley and Clarence "The Broom" Passailaigue set a world record of 487 runs for the 6th wicket, unbroken, against Lord Tennyson's XI. Headley makes 344, the highest West Indian first class score at the time and Passailaigue 261. The latter was better known as Jamaica's football goalkeeper and had played one Test match for the West Indies, the Sabina Test of 1930. After 67 years, this partnership record, the oldest in the books, remains unbroken.
JUNE - AUGUST 1933: Headley, for all practical purposes, opening the innings, (since the outstanding Roach had made a pair) makes 50 in the second innings of his first Test match in England,- the first of the series. In the Second Test, Barrow beats Headley by a few minutes to become the first West Indian to score a Test century in England, 105, as both the opening batsman and wicket-keeper. Later in life, Barrow fittingly earned renown as a commentator on horse racing. Headley makes 169 not out as the West Indies make the highest Test score they were to make in England for more than a decade, 375. In the Third Test, Jamaican O.C. DaCosta, batting at No. 4, makes the second top score of 35 in the West Indies' score of 195. Roach top scores with 56.
1934: Jamaica enters its first major multi-sport games, the II British Empire Games in London, England. Winston McCatty wins a silver medal in swimming in the 220 yards breast-stroke in perhaps the most obscure major sporting achievement in Jamaica's history. The country has yet to repeat such a feat in the sport. Bernard Prendergast wins the bronze medal in the discuss throw, the only major throwing medal in the country 's history. Indeed, no other male thrower has even been selected for a major games until this year. G.C. Foster, by now famous as an athletics coach and also well-known as a cricket umpire, is one of the coaches on the team.
Test series win
JANUARY - MARCH 1935: West Indies win their first ever Test cricket series against England in the West Indies, coming from behind to win 2-1 in the four match series. Headley makes 44 not out of the West Indies first innings of 102 and Leslie Hylton, later to be the central figure in the notorious and tragic series of events, takes 3 for 8 in the English first innings of 81 for 7 declared and makes the top score of 19 in the West Indies' second innings of 51 for 6 declared. In the West Indies first innings, opener George Carey, having gone for 0, indicates that Headley at No. 3 has once again batted for practically the whole innings. Headley and Hylton continue in the Second Test won by the West Indies and the drawn Third Test. In the Second Test, Headley is out in the second innings for the only time in his Test career in the 90's at 93 and Hylton takes 5 wickets in the match. In the Third Test, Headley bats once for 53 while Hylton, who has been opening the bowling with the famous Manny Martindale of Barbados (grandfather of their current swimming star Leah Martindale), takes 4 for 27 in the English first innings of 226.
In the Fourth Test at Sabina Park, the West Indies score their highest ever Test score to date of 535 for 7 and secure their biggest ever Test victory up to that point of an innings and 161 runs. Headley makes his highest ever Test score and breaks his own West Indian Test record of 223 with 270 not out. (It was to be 39 years before another Jamaican, Lawrence Rowe, was to pass this total with 302). Barrow and Hylton join newcomers Dickie Fuller (also a fast bowler) and left-arm spinner George Mudie as Jamaicans on the team. Mudie takes 2 for 23 in 17 overs and 1 for 17 in 12 overs but, like Fuller, it is to be his only Test match.
Olympic Association formed
1936: The Jamaica Olympic Association is formed in the hope of entering Bernard Prendergast for the Games of the XI Olympiad in Berlin, Germany in this same year. Prendergast does in fact become the first Jamaican to compete at the Olympics, but does so for Great Britain as the formalities cannot be completed in time. N.W. Manley, King's Counsel, is instrumental in the formation of the JOA as he had also been earlier in the decade in the formation of the Jamaica Amateur Athletic Association, the Jamaica Boxing Board of Control and the Amateur Swimming Association of Jamaica.
1938: After missing the Games in 1934, Jamaica wins its first international multi-sports gold medals at the IV Central American and Caribbean at Panama City, Panama. These are won in four areas, track and field, athletics, lawn tennis, water polo and weight-lifting. Seventeen-year-old Arthur Wint wins the 800 metres on the track but G.B. "The Flying Farmer" Grant becomes the country's first double gold medalist with victories in both the 1500 and 5,000 metres. Donald Leahong wins the men's singles on the court while Harry Dayes, later to be a well-known solicitor, and veteran Loris Leyden, win the mixed doubles as Leyden becomes the first Jamaican female gold medalist. The water polo team features John Rogers, later to be a well-known swimming coach, Edgar Williams and O.G. Charley win the weight-lifting gold medals in the middle and heavyweight classes.
JUNE - AUGUST 1939: Headley makes his ninth and 10th Test centuries in only 17 matches and 32 innings, as he confirms his status of being second only to Don Bradman among world batsmen. He becomes the first man to become an "immortal" at Lord's with scores of 106 and 107 in a 3-day Test match. (In the intervening 60 years, only one other man, Graham Gooch of England, had also done so in a 5-day Test match at the "headquarters" of cricket). Headley also becomes only the second man, after Herbert Sutcliffe of England, to become an "immortal" twice up to that point. Barrow, Hylton K.H., Kenneth "Bam-Bam" Weekes and J.H. Cameron make up the five Jamaicans on the team the largest number ever in a Test match outside of Jamaica. Cameron takes 3 for 66 in the English first innings.
In the Second Test, Headley top scores in the first innings with 51 and then in the Third Test, he is run out for 65. For the first time in a Test match, he is actually outshone. However, the bat by one of his own countryman as the left-handed "Bam-Bam" Weekes, batting at No. 6, lives up to his hard-hitting reputation with a magnificent 137 as the West Indies, with the Stollmeyer brothers of Trinidad, Jeffrey and Victor, also making 59 and 96 respectively, get 498, their largest overseas Test total to date. (Weekes incidentally is the only Test cricketer ever to have been born in the United States of America but of Jamaican parents).
September 1942: With the help of the Very Rev. Thomas J. Feeney, S.J., head of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) in Jamaica, obtained by well-known businessman Abe Issa, Herb McKenley becomes the first Jamaican to receive a track scholarship to the USA. He goes first to Boston College in Massachusetts but later transfers to the University of Illinois.
December 1946: The shape of things to come is forecast by the performances of the Jamaican team at the V Central American and Caribbean Games held at Barranquilla, Colombia. Especially the track and field athletes who take 5 of the 6 gold medals won. The sixth is won by W.F. Coke and H. Bunting in mixed doubles in lawn tennis. Coke later becomes prominent in public life as a well-known solicitor and Custos of Manchester. Cynthia (now Dr.) Thompson wins our first female track athletic gold medal in the 100 metres and Carmen Phipps (now Mrs. Leslie Laing) wins the gold medal in the high jump for our first field event gold medal by an athlete of either gender with Vinton Beckett second. Arthur Wint meanwhile wins the gold medals in both the 400 and 800 metres, with McKenley second and George Rhoden third in the 400. McKenley also wins a silver in the 100 and a bronze in the 200. Most interestingly are the first relay gold medals ever won by Jamaica in the men's 4x400 event. McKenley hands off to Clinton Woodstock, later a prominent civil servant as well as Jamaica's leading time-keeper and an outstanding coach, Woodstock hands over to Rhoden and Wint runs the anchor leg to complete the journey in the rather slow time of 3:18:0, almost 10 seconds slower than the world record in the event of 3:08:2 held by the USA since 1932.
1948 JUNE: Jamaica plays and wins its first Inter-Colonial Cricket series in 21 years. "New" tall fast bowler H.H. Hines Johnson makes his debut at almost 36 and takes 6 wickets in the match and 5 in the first innings while leg-spinner Headley (who had bowled occasionally in Test matches) closes off the match with 5 for 33 in the second innings. With the bat Weekes makes 6 and another new name to inter colonial cricket K.R. "Ken" Rickards makes 67 but it is J.K. Hold Jnr. who attracts the eye with 94 a score he was to prove to be fond of in debut matches. In the second match Headley top scores with 52 in the first innings and Mudie and the second Cameron brother - F.J. - Jimmy both take 6 wickets in the match. In the second innings another new name at this level O.J. Cunningham makes 72 and Weekes and Rickards both make 56. In the third match the bowling is not distinguished but there is some consistency in the batting as openers Cunningham makes 94 in the second innings with his partner CG. Bonitto (one of two Bonittos - along with Cousin Arthur in the side) making 25 after making 71 in his debut first innings. Headley is out Stumped at 99 in the first innings, - the only time in his career that he was to be out for that score while Weekes' consistency continues with 72 run out in the first innings and 48 not out in the second finally Holt makes 51 and Cameron 50. These matches are all played at Sabina Park.
1947 March and April - October
The era of George Headley is not yet over but Jamaica expands regionally and internationally in cricket and especially in athletics where a great world star another son of the soil comes forward. Venues are also broadened at home as Jamaica plays against Barbados at Melbourne Park. 19 years after his first double century Headley makes 203 and 57 in the second innings of the first match both not out. In the second match 25 year old Allan Rae opening the innings with Arthur McKenzie the wicket-keeper brother of the high jumper Joe McKenzie who is much better known as a footballer and a football coach becomes the first man in West Indian Inter-colonial cricket to immortalise himself with scores of 111 and 128 he is also the son of Ernest Rae Weekes continues to flow with 84 and 70 while Headley has to retire hurt at 79 - D. P. Beckford Senior patriarch of a family of cricketers, footballers and netballers takes 4 for 50 in the second innings in his second match for the country at this level. The cricketers go on tour for the first time in the same year as a domestic series playing in British Guiana. J.E. Joe Prescod the first of that family of cricketers and footballers over 3 generations appears as does the stalwart fast bowler Esmond Kentish the batsmen shine though Holt Jnr breaking through at No. 3 with 172, Rickards with 70 and a great new son adopted from Barbados F. M. Frank Worrell with 65. the batting depth is enormous in the second game Cunningham as one opener makes 145 Weekes makes 41 Headley makes only 36 but notably is the touring captain while batting a No. 7 Rickards makes 77 Neville Bonitto making his debut just above his brother the tail ender Arthur at No. 8 makes 71. It is clear that Headley finally has some batting help.
JUNE 28TH 1947: An historic day in Jamaican and English-speaking Caribbean sport as Herb McKenley at Edwars Field, Berkeley, California USA. becomes the first performer from the region to set a time, distance or weight measured world record when he runs the 440 yards in 46.3 seconds making him the early favourite for the Olympic tile at the Games in London the following year.
1948 January to April - November to February 1949
The West Indies win their second ever Test series their second at home against England and the first without losing a match. In the First Test at Bridgetown Barbados where he made his Test debut 18 years before 38 year old George Headley in his father's home territory becomes the first black man to captain the West Indies Test cricket team. He is the only Jamaican on the side and injury prevents him from playing in the rest of the series. Until the last Test match at Sabina no other Jamaican plays but adopted cricketing son Worrell. Worrell makes his Test debut in the second Test one match after the other two famous W's Everton Weekes' and Clyde Walcott but outshines them with 97 and 28 not out-batting at No. 5 Worrell makes his first Test century 131 not out in the Third Test.
Jamaicans make a major contribution however to the decisive victory in the 4th and final Test at Sabina. Weekes who had been somewhat controversially chosen over Holt makes 141 in what was to turn out to be the first of his 5 consecutive Test centuries - a record that is still to be equalled Wilfred Ferguson the Trinidadian leg-spinner makes 75 but the third top scorer is Rickards with 67 in his debut Test match Hines Johnson at 38 is however, the man largely responsible for the victory as he becomes the first West Indian fast bowler to take ten wickets in a Test match and 5 in each innings a feat that was only matched and surpassed by Wes Hall against India over 10 years later. Kentish on his Test debut at 31 and batsman Jeffrey Stollmeyer with his "donkey-drops" also take 3 wickets each.
Allan Rae and F. J. Jimmy Cameron make their Test debuts on the first ever West Indian tour of India later in the year. Cameron takes three wickets in his first Test and Rae opening with Jeffrey Strollmeyer makes his first Test century of 104 in his second. Stollmeyer makes 66- the two are to become the most successful West Indian Test opening pair and have been surpassed indeed only by Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes who rank perhaps as the best opening pair ever from any country - in later years Rae was also to follow Stollmeyer as the President of the West Indies Cricket Board of Control as the third Jamaican to hold that post after RK. Nunes and Robert C. Marley - the 4th being the current President Pat Rousseau under whom the world control has been dropped. Rae makes 109 and Stollmeyer 160 in the Fourth Test thus also establishing an even more meaningful Test opening pair record for the West Indies than they had in the Second Test. Cameron also makes 48 as West Indies win their first ever Test match against India only their second ever by an innings. Rae ends his debut series on 374 runs from only 7 innings being out once run out 34 behind only the incredible Weekes and the other W present Walcott.
1948 June - July - August.
Arthur Wint and Herb McKenley make Olympic, world regional and national history in the sport of track and field athletics as Jamaica establishes itself in the top 8 or so countries at international competitions in the highest level of the sport - a position that has been regularly maintained since. McKenley first equals the world record for 400 metres at Berkeley along the way to setting a new world record of 46 seconds flat for the 440 yards distance an achievement put in the same class by experts as running a mile in under four minutes and putting the Shot over 60 feet -- both of which were not to be done until 6 years later in 1954. Almost one month later in Milwaukee, Wisconsin a most unlikely venue for such an achievement Herb becomes the first man in history to run the Olympic distance of 400 Metres in under 46 seconds as he runs 45.9 to confirm him as one of the most overwhelming favourites for an event ever at the Olympics.
Jamaica does win its first gold medal on its first entry to the Olympic Games but it is Arthur Wint who scores one of the biggest upsets ever by beating his countryman McKenley into the silver medal spot as he equals the Olympic record of 46.2 at the Games of the XIV Olympiad in London. The two also become the first two athletes from the same country apart from the United States to take the first two places in the history of the Games in the Men's 100/200 or 400 Metres. Wint had earlier won the country's first Olympic medal with a silver in the 800 Metres securing the best ever record in those two events by any man in the history of the Games an achievement that has surpassed by only one man Alberto Juantorena of Cuba at the 1976 Games. Vinto Beckett fourth in the Women's High Jump and Cynthia Thompson 6th while ill in the Women's 100 and an Olympic Record of 25.6 in the Women's 200 in a heat lead the way for the women.
1950 June to August
The West Indies become a world cricketing power by beating England 3-1 at cricket in England for their first series victory there Alfred Valentine sets a West Indian record and equals another with 8 wickets in his first Test innings as a left-arm spin bowler and 11 in the match. In the famous first victory at Lord's in the Second Test Allan Rae makes 106 Valentine takes 7 wickets in the match adopted son Worrell makes 52 and 45. In the Third Test Rae makes 68 and 46 not out Worrell makes 261 the highest overseas score by a West Indian and Valentine claims 5 wickets. In the final Test Valentine takes 10 wicket including 6 in one innings and sets a 4 Test series record of 33 for the West Indies that has still not been surpassed Rae and Worrell both make their second centuries of the series 109 and 138 respectively.
August George Rhoden breaks his countryman's McKenley's 400 Metres world record in the 400 Metres and becomes the second man to run under 46 seconds for the event as he runs 45.8 seconds in a race at Eskilstuna, Sweden.
1951-60 December to February
1951-52 The West Indies lose 1-4 again to Australia on their second visit to that country. In the First Test Valentine takes 5 wickets in the first innings and 6 in the match - in the second Valentine takes 4 in the first innings and Worrell makes 64 in the first innings. In the Third Test won by the West Indies Worrell takes 6 for 38 in the first innings and Valentine 6 for 102 in the second. In the 4th Test Worrell makes 108 one of only two WEST Indian centuries of the series in the first innings and Valentine takes 5 for 88 in the second. Valentine ends the series with a West Indian record of 24 wickets. He also takes 5 wickets in the first of two Tests against New Zealand and 8 overall in the two. Rae makes 99 and Worrell exactly 100 in the Second Test.
July Jamaica goes to their second and most successful ever Olympic Games winning two gold medals one with a World and Olympic record and the other with two of their team sharing and Olympic record there are also three silver medals. George Rhoden succeeds Wint as the Olympic 400 Metres champion as McKenley takes his second successive silver in an Olympic Record 45.9. The 4x400 relay beats the full strength USA team their only direct loss in Olympic history in a new world record time of 3.03.9 seconds beating the old mark by more than 4 seconds, McKenley runs the fastest ever leg of 44.6 seconds. He also wins a silver in the 100 Metres and becomes and remains the only man ever to make the 100 200 and 400 finals (having made the 200 final in 1948) and Wint wins his second 800 silver to have the best Western Hemisphere non USA record of any Olympic track athlete Les Laing runs the relay with the three giants having made his second 200 final.
1953. Valentine takes 6 wickets in the Second Test against India as the West Indies secure the home series by their only victory. In the First Test Rae has made his last Test half-century with 63. In the Fourth Test Valentine takes 8 wickets including 5 in the first innings and Worrell makes 56. In the Fifth Test Valentine takes 9 wickets including another 5 in the first innings after his spinning partner is somewhat surprisingly replaced by leg-spinner Alfred Scott for his only Test Tommy and Alfred Scott thus become the first only 3 father-son combinations to date to play for the West Indies. Worrell makes 237 as for the first of only two occasions he Weekes and Walcott all make centuries in the same Test innings. Valentine finishes with yet another West Indian record of 28 wickets in the series. Valentine finishes with yet another West Indian record of 28 wickets in the series.
1954. January - April
J.K. Holt Jnr makes his belated Test debut at 30 at home and is out at 94 lbw in the second innings almost causing a riot and problems for umpire Perry Burke who is also a Jamaican, at age 38, Esmund Kentish bowls a match winning second innings spell of 5 for 39. In the second innings of the Second Test against England in Barbados Holt makes a score of 166 which is regarded as one of the best innings ever played there Worrell also makes 76. In the Third Test Valentine suffering from finger trouble takes only 1 wicket only his seventh in 3 games and plays no more for the series he becomes however the first West Indian bowler to take 100 wickets in Test cricket and in only 19 Tests one of the fastest of such achievements by any bowler.
In the Fourth Test as Holt makes 40 Worrell is this time the middle man and all 3 W's again make centuries in the same innings his own is 167.
Keith Gardner wins Jamaica's first ever gold medal at the British Empire and XC Commonwealth Games in the 120 yards high hurdles in Vancouver.
Barrington Roper finishes fifth in the 100 yards free style swimming event.
1955 March to June
Australia play their first series in the West Indies beginning at Sabina. Holt makes 60 in the second innings but the new star is debutante O'Neil Gordon "Collie" Smith already legendary for his hard hitting he makes 44 in the first innings and then duplicates Headley by making 104 a century in his first Test MATCH. In a generally quiet series for the Jamaicans Holt makes 49 in the second innings of the Fourth Test as the Australians win convincingly 3-0 while adopted son Worrell makes 56 in the second innings of the Third Test and 61 in the first innings of the Fifth Test.
1956 February - March
West Indies make a four Test tour of New Zealand with a largely young team smith makes 64 in the First Test but it is Valentine who returns to form with 15 wickets in the series including 5 for 32 in the second innings of the Second Test of his total match haul of 7.
June - August
1957: Smith returns to his best form on the disastrous 1957 tour of England which sees Franz "Gerry" Alexander making his Test debut as wicket-keeper in the last 2 Tests. He makes 161 in the first innings of the First Test in which Worrell also makes 81. Then in the second innings of the Third Test he makes 168 but the attention largely goes to Worrell who opens with young Garfield Sobers in a crisis in the first innings and carries his bat for 191
January to March
1958: Alexander is appointed captain against the Pakistanis in only his Third Test match and becomes the first Jamaican to be the regular captain since Nunes was appointed as the very first captain 30 years before. Smith's good form continues with consecutive innings of 78, 41 and 51 in the first two Tests but does not get a chance to bat at home at Sabina as Sobers makes his world record 365 which also overshadows four catches by captain Alexander (who also duplicates Nunes in the double role) in the Pakistani first innings. Smith has also taken 4 wickets as an off-spinner in each of the first 2 Tests. In the 4th Test Smith again takes 4 wickets and crowns a reasonable series with 86 in the first innings of the last Test. The most outstanding Jamaican is the new fast bowler who was soon to be thought by some to be the fastest in the world, Roy Gilchrist he takes 5 wickets in the first Test, 7 in the Second and 6 in the Fourth with one 4 wicket innings haul in each.
In the middle of the year Jamaica has what may still be its most versatile performance yet at a major Games - the 6th British Empire and Commonwealth Games winning gold medal in a spring event a hurdles event and in the Long and High Jumps all for Men. Keith Gardner is again in the star retaining the 120 yards High Hurdles title that he had won at Vancouver and also winning the 100 yards taking the silver medal in the 220 and sharing in the bronze medals on the mile relay team whose members included one George Kerr and one of the Spence twins Mal, who along with brother Mel were to become the most successful twins ever in the history of the sport. The other two gold medals were won by Enrle Haisley in the High Jump and Paul Foreman in the Long Jump with countryman Deryck Taylor also taking the silver in the latter event.
A most significant break through also took place in this year in the sport of Boxing where after years of trying with outstanding fighters as Kid Silver and Lefty Flynn in the 1930's, welterweight Gerald Gray after defeating the top Cuban professional Isaac Logart in a fight at Sabina Park becomes the first Jamaican fighter to earn a top 10 ranking both from the governing body and The Ring" magazine - the self described "Bible of the Sport".
International cricket closes the year, however and leads into 1959
The West Indies make their second tour of India followed by their first of neighbouring Pakistan although only three Tests are played in Pakistan after the full 5 in India. Alexander continues his double duty role but it is Smith and Gilchrist who continue where they have left off as Smith makes 63 and 58 in the First Test while Gilchrist now partnered by a bowler of matching pace in the Barbadian Wes Hall takes 6 wickets in the first Test. Holt also returns to the team. Gilchrist' misses the Second Test but captain Alexander batting at 8 finally shows his batting talent with 70 in the first innings and 45 not out in the second as the West Indies win. Gilchrist and Hall destroy India in the Third Test which takes only three days and is over by the 4th day of the New Year Gilchrist having 9 wickets in the match with 6 in the second innings and Hall 6 in the game. Captain Alexander supports them solidly behind the stumps with 5 catches in the match continuing in the Fourth Test with 6 catches as Gilchrist and Hall each have 5 wickets in the game to bring about another huge West Indian victory as Holt contributes 63 with the bat. Gilchrist again takes 6 wickets in the final Test to finish with an outstanding 26 in only 4 games as Holt and Smith make what would turn out to be their last Test centuries the former 123 and the latter a flat 100. Not long after this Gilchrist is sent home for disciplinary reasons and does not go on to Pakistan. Captain Alexander takes 4 catches in the first innings as the West Indies with few other bright spots lose to Pakistan at home in the First Test. Future Jamaican coach Guyanese Rohan Kanhai leads the way to the big West Indian victory in the Third Test after Pakistan has also won the second with the captain trying the Third Test after Pakistan has also won the second with the captain trying himself unsuccessfully as an opener. He does however take three catches in the second innings.
1959: The year also marks the founding of the Jamaica Netball Association and the selection of the first National team including Joy Grant Charles who was to represent the country for 20 years and in four World Tournaments and also in the 60's to play on a commonwealth All-Star team along with her countrywoman Vilma McDonald.
The Federal experiment short-lived as it was extends to sport and the new West Indies Olympic Association sends a British West Indian team to the III Pan American Games in Chicago George Kerr wins the 400 Metres and leads the gold medal 4x400 Metres Relay Team. Metres team with the Spence twins and Basil Ince of Trinidad later to be a Minister in his country's government Future politicians are prominent as Herb McKenley the coach manages to get Lester Bird of Antigua (now his country's Prime Minister on to the team where he wins a bronze medal in the Long Jump.
Source :: The Jamaica Gleaner (http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/)
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