Ernest Albert Vivian Williams
April 10, 1914, Bank Hall, St Michael, Barbados
April 13, 1997, Bridgetown, Barbados, (aged 83y 3d)
Right hand Bat
Right arm Fast medium
A verteran of four Tests for West Indies either side of the war, Ernest Albert Vivian `Foffie' Williams died in Bridgetown on April 13, three days after his 83rd birthday.
Primarily a fast bowler - he took nine wickets (26.77) in those four Tests - he is best remembered for a whirlwind innings. In the First Test against England in Barbados in Jan 1948 he struck 28 from the first six balls he received - six, six, four and four off Jim Laker, then two more fours off Jack Ikin- on his way to reaching West Indies' fastest Test 50 in just 30 minutes. He finished with 72, the highest score of a Test career which brought him 113 runs (18.83). That Test also brough him his best figures - 3 for 51, with the wickets of Robertson, Hardstaff and Ikin. He was playing only after Frank Worrell pulled out with food poisoning.
Williams had tourned England in 1939, but had a quiet time on a trip disrupted by bad weather and foreshortened by the onset of war. He took only 14 wickets (32.92), and did better with his batting: his average of 30.83 placed him second (by some distance) to the great George Headley. He made 370 runs on the tour, with 126 not out against Oxford on May 24. HP Bayley (see In Brief) also made his only century of the tour on that same day. Williams did make his Test debut in a rain-affected match at Old Trafford, where he scored 1 and failed to take a wicket.
In all first-class cricket he took 116 wickets at 29.19, and scored 1479 runs (26.89). The higher of his two centuries, 131 not out, came during an eight-wicket partnership of 255 with Mannie Martindale (134) against Trinidad at Bridgetown in Feb 1936. This remains a West Indian record.
An allround sportman who also represented Barbados at soccer, Williams served for a time as Chief Sports Officer in his island's government.
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack
Batting & Fielding