Everton Weekes : biography
Sir Everton DeCourcy Weekes, KCMG, GCM, OBE (born 26 February 1925) is a leading former West Indian cricketer. Along with Frank Worrell and Clyde Walcott, he formed what was known as "The Three Ws" of West Indian cricket.
Weekes had a classic batting style, possessed a variety of shots on both sides of the wicket, and is considered one of the hardest hitters in cricket history.Armstrong p. 122. Described by The Times as lightly bow-legged, with a wonderful eye, wrists the envy of any batsman, and feet always the right place to play a shot,Our Cricket Correspondent, "Weekes and West Indies earn Honour in Defeat", The Times, 24 June 1957. Richie Benaud stated that many Australians who saw Weekes in action said he was the closest batsman in style to the pre-World War II Donald Bradman. He was also compared to Bradman in his ability to keep the scoreboard moving and at using his feet to come down the pitch to slower bowlers.Walcott p. 21.
Additionally, Weekes was an excellent fielder, initially in the covers before moving into the slips, and produced a training manual entitled Aspects of Fielding.
In 1949 Weekes accepted an offer of £500 to play as the professional for Bacup in the Lancashire League.Kay, J. (1969) "An Invitation from the Forgotten Leagues", The International Cavaliers Cricket Book, Purnell, London When he first arrived in Bacup, Weekes was greatly affected by the cold and took to wearing an army great coat everywhere, to the extent it became part of his League image.Edmundson p. 69. His homesickness for Barbados was tempered by his landlady's potato pies and the presence of Worrell and Walcott, who were playing for League clubs Radcliffe and Enfield respectively. The three Ws would regularly meet at Weekes's house midweek for an evening of piano playing and jazz singing.Edmundson p. 71.
In all, Weekes played seven seasons in the Lancashire League between 1949 and 1958, passing 1000 runs in each.Lancashire League http://lancashireleague.com/Records/LL1000RUNS.html 1,000 runs in a Lancashire League season Accessed 26 April 2008 His 1,518 runs scored in 1951 is still the club record and for 40 years was the League record, until broken by Peter Sleep.Edmundson p. 125. Weekes scored a total of 9,069 runs for Bacup at 91.61, with 25 centuries, including 195* against Enfield, a score that remains a League record, as does his 1954 batting average of 158.25. Weekes also had success with the ball, taking at least fifty wickets in all but one season at Bacup, including 80 wickets in 1956.
During the 1954 season he also played for neighbouring Central Lancashire League club Walsden as sub professional in the Wood Cup Final. His 150 runs and 9 wickets helped the village club to their first trophy in the seventy years since they became founder members of the CLL.
Weekes's performances were a significant contribution to League crowds, with over 325,000 spectators attending Lancashire League matches in 1949, a record as yet unsurpassed. He also played up for the crowds; batting in a match against Rawtenstall Cricket Club, Weekes waited until a ball had passed him before taking his left hand off his bat and hitting the ball around his back through square leg for four.
Honours and Legacy
Following the end of his cricketing career, Weekes received a range of distinctions, including being made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), the Barbados Gold Crown of Merit (GCM) and in 1995 Weekes was made a Knight of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) for his services to cricket.Reuters, "Everton Weekes and Peter Blake Knighted" 16 June 1995.
For the 2000 edition of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, Weekes was asked to be a member of the 100 strong electorate to select the Five Cricketers of the 20th Century. All voters were allowed to nominate five players and while there was no disclosure of which five each voter chose, Wisden editor Matthew Engel revealed that Weekes voted for Dennis Lillee and, as Sir Donald Bradman received 100 votes, it is obvious Weekes voted for Bradman as well.Engel, M. "How they were chosen", Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2000, John Wisden & Co. Ltd, Guildford, Surrey.
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