Saturday, September 12th, 2015

Shannon To Become Tenth West Indian To Play Championship Cricket For Worcs

Shannon To Become Tenth West Indian To Play Championship Cricket For Worcs

Shannon Gabriel will become the 10th player born in the West Indies to play LV = County Championship cricket for Worcestershire after signing up for the final two matches of the 2015 campaign.

Nine other players in a period stretching back 63 years have turned out in Championship cricket for the County.

Several of those players dipped in and out for short spells similar to Gabriel who is available to face Durham (away) and Middlesex (home).

But there are also two stalwarts who are an integral part of the County's history spanning 22 years in total in batsman Ron Headley and paceman Vanburn Holder.

Headley played for Worcestershire from 1958 to 1974 and was a member of the 1964, 1965 and 1974 Championship winning sides – and made a big contribution in all three seasons.

He amassed 1,697 first class runs in 1964 with four centuries and nine fifties and then 1,537 in 1965 with two hundreds and nine half centuries.

Even in 1974, his final season at New Road, he was the County's second highest run-scorer with 1,064 – including three hundreds and five fifties.

In 1971 against Northamptonshire, Headley became the first Worcestershire player for 25 years to score a century in both innings including his career best 187.

He is the father of George Headley and son of Dean Headley and the three of them became the first case of three consecutive generations of the same family to play Test cricket.

Holder led the Worcestershire attack with distinction from 1968-1980 and ended his career with 950 first class wickets at 24.52 apiece.

His value to the 1974 Championship side cannot be under-estimated and that summer he bowled 659 overs, returned 94 first class wickets at just 15.88 with five wickets in an innings on five occasions.

He took 109 Test wickets with a best of 6-28 against Australia in 1977-78 and after retiring from playing, became a first class umpire in 1992 for the best part of two decades.

Holder still lives in Worcester and is often seen at New Road.

The first West Indian born player to play Championship cricket for Worcestershire was Hartley 'Ken' Lobban in 1952.

He took six wickets on his debut against Sussex and in the same game went in number eleven to earn the County a one wicket win.

He achieved his career best figures of 6-51 against Glamorgan later that summer but in total only made 17 appearances before leaving Worcestershire in 1954.

After Headley and Holder, the next West Indian at New Road was paceman Hartley Alleyne and he took 64 first class wickets in his first season in 1980 and scored his only first class half century against Lancashire at Stourport-on-Severn – the only first class match to take place at the venue.

The following year he returned career best figures of 8-43 against Middlesex at Lord's but left Worcestershire at the end of the 1982 season before briefly reappearing in county cricket with Kent in the late 1980s.

Ricardo Ellcock (1982-88) was educated at Malvern College and made his debut for Worcestershire as a 17-year-old.

His potential was hampered by injuries and 29 wickets in 1984 was his best return for the County before he joined Middlesex in 1989 and retired through injury two years later.

Collis King (1983-1985) had the distinction of scoring 123 on his Worcestershire debut against Somerset at New Road – the first player in 55 years to score a 100 in his first match for the county.

He had previously played for Glamorgan and in 1979 scored 86 off 66 balls for the West Indies in the World Cup final.

Kenny Benjamin (1993) picked up 37 first class wickets at 24.62 in his only season at New Road.

He played in 26 Tests which brought him 92 wickets and ended his career with 403 first class wickets.

Chris Gayle (2005) played three Championship matches for Worcestershire a decade ago and scored 192 runs at an average of 32.00 with two half centuries.

He has since gone onto become one of the most destructive List A batsmen in world cricket and this summer hit 29 sixes in three NatWest T20 Blast matches for Somerset.

But Gayle has also amassed 7,214 Test runs at an average of 42.18 and 9,221 ODI runs at 37.33.

Kemar Roach was brought in by Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes for the final three matches of 2011 in the battle to stay in Division One and responded with 14 Championship wickets.

It was a summer where Worcestershire also used Damien Wright, Shakib Al Hasan and Saeed Ajmal to supplement the skills of Allan Richardson who ended with 73 wickets.

Andre Russell was the last West Indian to play for the County in 2013 but he only participated in T20 cricket.

*Thanks you to Andrew Thomas for pointing out the 10 players and his book 'Pears 150' will again be on sale in the Supporters' Association Shop at the back of the Basil D'Oliveira Stand during the match with Middlesex (September 22-25).