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October 10, 2009
Sir Sydney Walling, the legendary Antiguan cricketer, died on Thursday aged 102.
An opening batsman with a reputation for nimble footwork, he made his debut in 1927, and despite making 156 in the trial match in Guyana in 1927-28 he missed out on selection for the tour of England the following summer, inter-island prejudices counting against him. In 1933-34 he became the first black cricketer to lead the Antigua team. He also captained the Leeward Islands and played in the first-ever Combined Islands team in the early 1950s.
Some commentators argued that Walling would have been the fourth W, with the other great post-war West Indies batsmen - Frank Worrell, Clyde Walcott and Everton Weekes.
His cricketing abilities did help him in other ways. His first job in the post office in 1922 came because of his skill as a batsman, and he rose through the ranks to become the country's postmaster.
In recognition of Walling's cricketing achievements, a stand at the Antigua Recreation Ground and the highway leading to the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, were named in his honour.
He was a talented musician as well, playing the baritone horn in a local band. He was awarded a knighthood in 2004 for his services to Antigua.
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