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Sir Wes Hall’s invaluable contribution to T&T

Published: 
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
West Indies fast bowling greats Sir Wes Hall, left, who recently turned 80, and Ambassador Courtney Walsh.

“I have a special romance with Trinidad,” were the words of the great West Indies fast-bowler Reverend Sir Wes Hall, after being honoured for his contribution to this nation on Saturday night. This country is so special to the Barbadian, that he flew to T&T on the same day in which a hurricane relief match was being played at the 3 W’s Oval in his country. With both events clashing, Sir Wes chose to attend the Past Cricketers Society of T&T’s Cricketers Can Cook event at the Queen’s Park Oval.

He, along with five other past players and officials were the recipients of appreciation awards. The others were Andy Aleong, Kenny Furlong, Larry Gomes, Deryck Murray, and former umpire Mohammed Hosein.

The Past Cricketers Society have been honouring former cricketers this time of the year for the past two years. Former awardees include Alvin Corneal and Bernard Julien, both of whom represented T&T in the sport.

On Saturday night though, the star of the show was a Barbadian. Sir Wes Hall has impacted T&T in much more ways than people know. In a riveting speech, he spoke of how he first came to this country. He was invited by the West Indian Tobacco Company to set up a youth league in T&T in the late 1960s. The Wes Hall Cricket League was the result of this invitation. Cricketers in attendance of the event still call it “the most successful youth program this country has ever seen”. One of the best players to come out of it was Larry Gomes, who played 60 Test matches for the West Indies.

But Sir Wes’ contribution went even deeper than cricket. After joining forces with Father Gerry Pantin in 1970, they started the Service Volunteered for All, more commonly known as Servol. Sir Wes, along with Father Pantin and Carl Weekes are heavily credited with bringing the program to the state it is in today.

What is even lesser known is that Sir Wes played cricket for T&T, although he is a Barbadian. While living here, he plied his trade as a fast-bowler for four years. These days, he is not the lanky speedster that once put fear into the eyes of batsmen by merely marking his spot at bowler’s end. However, Sir Wes Hall’s contribution to this country remains a pillar that society continues to grow on, and on Saturday night, he was duly shown appreciation for all that he has done for us.