Professor Henry FraserArchitecural Historian / Heritage Consultant
Chairman, Sentinel Committee, Barbados National Trust
Writer, TV Presenter, National Orator & Motivational Speaker
Professor Emertius, Medicine and Clinical Pharmacology.
Immediate Past Dean, Faculty of Medical Sciences.
University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados.

 



WESLEY WINFIELD HALL

Citation on the award of the Honorary Doctorate of Laws, UWI - October 22nd, 2005

Chancellor, when we were growing up it was the dream of every schoolboy to be a West Indian cricket hero and to drive an MG sports car.  Before you this evening is a man who not only became a West Indian cricket hero, but also acquired not one but two MGs – a Minister of Government and a Minister of God.  Wesley Winfield Hall has dominated West Indian cricket, politics and culture in one way or another for nearly 50 years.

He has done it all. He was a product of the famous Ronnie Hughes cricket nursery at Combermere School in the 1950s.  He began as a wicket-keeper batsman, but when he joined the staff of Cable and Wireless in 1955 he switched his internet connection to fast bowling, and used his great height to become the fastest and most feared bowler in the world by 1960.  He played 48 tests for the West Indies, capturing 192 wickets for 26 runs each.  With his great partner, Charlie Griffith, he formed one of the greatest opening attacks in the history of cricket, and he was a favourite on and off the field, wherever he went, wherever he played, which included the Lancashire League.  There he took 100 wickets in each of three consecutive seasons; while in Australia, playing for Queensland for two years, he established a state record of 43 wickets.  After retiring he coached in Trinidad and Tobago, the land of the Bajan flying fish, and even played a few games for them.  Indeed he has played every possible role for the West Indies – player, manager, selector, coach, and finally President of the Board!  What a Superman!

But don’t just take my word for his heroic feats.  Take that of the great sage of West Indian cricket – CLR James - who described him in “Beyond the Boundary” as “that bowler of old-fashioned pace, carrying all before him, by which I mean wickets, not humans.”  

And our own cricket guru, Principal Hilary Beckles, in his book “Liberation Cricket” says: “No one who has seen Hall making his long, muscular run-up to the wicket can fail to be impressed by the beautiful, sweet violence of the act – the slow, menacing beginning, the gathering pace, the sudden climactic explosion of energy on delivery, the dashing follow-through, and the plight of the lonely batsman at the other end”.

And all cricket lovers will know, of course, that Hall bowled that famous last over, in the greatest test match of all time – the Tied Test at Brisbane in 1961.  He took 9 for 203, and those here under 50 deserve to hear the details.  The time was 5:56 – four minutes to go.  Australia was 227 for 7, needing six to win from the 8 ball over.

First ball:  Wally Grout, facing, was hit on the thigh.  Benaud called for a single to take strike. Five to win from seven balls.

Second ball: Benaud caught behind.  228 for 8.

Third ball: Meckiff cuts to mid-off.  No run.  Still five to win from five balls.

Fourth ball: they scamper for a leg bye. Four to win from four balls.

Fifth ball: A bumper to Grout and a catch to square leg – Kanhai and Hall collide and drop it.  Three to win from three balls.

Sixth ball: MEckiff swings desperately to mid-wicket and they run for three – Conrad Hunte throws straight and true to Alexander, who runs Grout out.  The score is tied.  One run to win - one wicket left - two balls left.

Seventh ball: Hall to Lindsay Kline who pushes to square leg and tries a single.  Solomon, aiming at a single stump, throws like a rocket and runs Meckiff out by inches.  A miracle!  The first tie in Test cricket history, the greatest match in Test cricket, and   Hall, the hero!

In retirement Wes Hall managed West Indies touring teams, and that was the Golden era – under his management, they never lost a series.  He became Minister of Tourism and Sport in the Barbados Government, and then a Minister of God.  The manly art of cricket prepared him for the cut and thrust of politics, and the cut and thrust of politics drove him into the arms of God. And with a big heart and the guts of a true believer, he took on the toughest task in our times – President of the “West Indies Cricket Board of Attempts to Control.”

Chancellor, I present to you this giant of a man, who personifies the West Indian spirit – cricket hero, people person , politician, leader of men, Minister of Government and Minister of God – MG squared – and I invite you, by the authority vested in you by the Council and Senate of our beloved University,  to  confer on the Reverend Wesley Winfield Hall the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.


Henry Fraser Historic Houses Of Barbados Book CoverHistoric Houses of Barbados
Written by Henry Fraser & Ronnie Huges.
Available at all book leading book stores in Barbados.


Henry Fraser Treasures Of Barbados Book CoverTreasures of Barbados
Written by Sir George Alleyne and edited by Henry Fraser.
Available at the UWI Bookshop the publishers.


Henry Fraser Chattle House Book CoverBarbados Chattel Houses
Written by Henry Fraser and Bob Kiss.
Available at all leading book stores.


Henry Fraser A-Z Barbados Book CoverA-Z of Barbados Heritage
Written by Sean Carrington, Henry Fraser, John Gilmore and Addington Forde.
Available at Days Bookstore Barbados and Amazon.com


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