Let us all take a break from the current happenings of sport so that we can bid farewell to Lance Murray, one of the greatest contributors of sport at all levels in this country over the past 70 years.
Even if some are too young to know what a competent footballer and cricketer he was for Shamrock and Queen’s Park and sometimes at national level, it will be remiss of me if I do not share some of the occasions where Lance was much more than the right arm leg-spinner and inside forward that he performed so admirably.
Fortunately, he was the coach of Fatima College in 1955 when the late Joey Carew and I were in the school’s football team, and his instruction to players was so easy to follow, I wondered how good he really was on the field.
This was quickly found out when he joined in our practice sessions and demonstrated his exquisite skills with the ball. He was strong on strategy and this was proven when he taught us a set play which he wanted us to use in a BDV match against Notre Dame.
It was my first entry into organised set play, and we scored a goal to win the match with a well-executed piece of teamwork by the players involved.
So my association with Lance stretched from the playing fields through to the administrative side of the TTCB, into being appointed members of a government commission of enquiry into the game of cricket in order to make amendments to the constitution wherever necessary.
It was a 2 1/2-year task for the entire group of persons which included outstanding cricketers like Andy Ganteaume, Lance Pierre, Prior Jones, Nyron Asgarali, Dr Nobel Sarkar, Anthony Gouveia, Barb Fraser, Ainsworth Harewood, and led by the well-respected ombudsman at the time, Sir Alan Rees.
Lance’s contribution was solid, well intentioned, and finally led to a constitution which had actually democratised the game in keeping with the country’s rules and regulations. We then worked together on radio, doing cricket and football commentaries, an area which he walked me through my early years.
He provided a lifestyle which was an excellent example to the young people who interacted with him, and especially his own children. One of them, Deryck Murray, turned out to be famous for his wicketkeeping and leadership qualities on and off the cricket field at the highest level of the game.
Lance may not have scored hundreds, neither has he been a prolific scorer of goals, but he always provided the type of advice which was responsible for good decision-making at the WICB board meetings, and the numerous committees of which he was a member.
I admired the man, respected him and was pleased to have had his advice at any time and on any life issue for which I was in need. Amidst the challenging times where sport has found itself, whether it be on the street corners, the communities or in the clubs still existing, Lance’s presence and guidance would have fostered the type of changes which may well have brought our sport back on its wonderful road of progress and enjoyment, where it once was.
The 91-year old may well have felt the pain of the image of sport in today’s society and wished that he had the strength to take up the challenge, but the Good Lord saved him from the quagmire that presently exists and allow that wonderful human being to rest in peace.
Farewell, Lance, you have served us well. Thank you, my friend. On behalf of my family and the sports fans of this nation, our sincerest sympathy to his family and may he rest in peace.