Cricketer Lloyd James Passes Away At 82

April 15, 2019

[Updated + Written by Don Burgess]

Cup Match legend Lloyd James has passed away at the age of 82.

Mr James was one of the true heroes of the 1960s St George’s Cup Match team that went undefeated. He finished his career for the Blue & Blue with 988 runs, a victim of the dominant St George’s sides in which he only had a chance to bat in nine of his team’s 19 innings. Even so, when he hung up his pads, he was the all-time runs leader in Cup Match history.

Many people forget he was also a gifted bowler and took three wickets as a colt.

Dorothy Eve introduced Mr James to competitive cricket when he was in the Cub Scouts. Ms Eve pushed the young cricketer to be his best and saw the talent he possessed; she had a special bat made for him so he could train and hone his skills.

Mr James’ father also made sure all his sons trained with the bat and the ball. After a hard day’s work at the Warwick quarry, he would take his sons for training.

He also spent many afternoons playing cricket on ‘Chile’ Simons’ concrete patio with his brothers and the other boys from the Warwick neighbourhood.

It was only natural that Mr James played for Warwick Workmen’s Club, but he did have a few seasons at Southampton Rangers and St George’s. While playing for Warwick in the Western Counties, he put up 1,334 runs.

He almost did not end up being a St George’s legend. As he was nearing Cup Match readiness, Mr James was directed toward Somerset. However, because Somerset had strong bowlers like Charles Daulphin and Austin ‘Cheesey’ Hughes, he figured his odds of making St George’s were better.

And in his first Cup Match, he displayed the talent with the arm as he took three wickets for 50 runs in the first innings, with one of his victims being Timmy Edwards, who at the time held the Cup Match record of 170 runs in an inning. Rain interrupted the second innings and, after a promising start, Lloyd would never bowl again in the history of the Classic.

In 1959, after James had a splendid knock of 68 in the first innings, it was decided that Mr James was too valuable as a batsman to ever retake the field as a bowler.

The 1961 Cup Match Classic saw Mr James rocket his way to 157 runs in the first innings as he and Alfred Hall put up a seventh-wicket record partnership of 173 runs.

As an encore in 1962, he blasted a 173 all by himself. Many believe he could have been the first player to notch a double century except that St George’s captain Calvin ‘Bummy” Symonds declared after Mr James had surpassed Edwards’ record.

Mr James once told me that Bummy had urged him to break the record so St George’s could get the victory. He said, “My 200 was right there. It wasn’t so much about a personal achievement but about winning the match, so I opened up.”

In my conversation with Mr James, he told me that one of his greatest moments was beating a Sir Garfield Sobers West Indies team in 1965 in which St George’s had 112 to 108 for the West Indies.

He said to me, “I took my cricket game very, very seriously. Every match was special. I prepared for every match a game ahead of time, and it didn’t matter if it was a league match or Cup competition.”

In 2007, he was elected to the Bermuda Sports Hall of Fame along with fellow St George’s standout Eldon Raynor, and the two men that were indirectly responsible for him ending up at St George’s, Somerset legends Charles Daulphin and ‘Cheesey’ Hughes.

In describing how he wanted to be remembered as a cricketer, Mr James once told me, “That I played the game hard and played the game clean. That I accepted whatever decision the umpire made, and I accepted a loss gracefully.”

Update 12.14pm: A PLP spokesperson said, “The Bermuda Progressive Labour Party joins the community in mourning the passing of former Member of Parliament, Mr Lloyd James.

“Mr James was commonly remembered as a skilful St. George’s cricketer and Cup Match record holder and was elected into the Bermuda Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.

“In addition to being a skilful cricketer, Mr James was a former member of the PLP and devoted his time to serving his community from 1980 to 1983 as Member of Parliament for Warwick East with running mate Walter Brangman. Mr James was also appointed as Shadow Minister for Home Affairs.

“To his wife, Betty, daughters, Joanne and Ria, siblings, former MP Elvin James, Leon, Winfield, Lillian and Cynthia, and his entire family, we express our heartfelt condolences and appreciate the indelible impact he left on our communities and the entire island.”

Update 5.10pm: Premier David Burt today expressed his condolences on the news of the passing of Lloyd James, saying, “Lloyd James led a life of service; a humble yet dignified and true gentleman. His stride to the wicket struck fear in the hearts of many a Somerset bowler.

“His dominance in the game of cricket was matched with his time in representative politics when he served the people of Warwick at a time when to do so on behalf of the Progressive Labour Party required unique sacrifice. Whether in business, education or sport, Lloyd James served with distinction.

“On behalf of the Government and people of Bermuda I extend heartfelt condolences to his wife, Betty, daughters Joanne and Ria, as well as to his extended family and friends.”

Update 5.16pm: Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sports Lovitta Foggo said, “On behalf of the Ministry, I wish to extend my sincerest condolences to the family of Mr. Lloyd James. Mr. James was viewed as an icon in the sporting fraternity.

“He was an outstanding cricketer who represented Bermuda with dignity and grace. Lloyd James was not only a great cricketer he was also an outstanding golfer and his poise on the greens was truly admired. Bermuda and our sporting community have lost a legend.”

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