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Gary Campbell has compiled a noteworthy amount of Bahamian cricket records. He has been closely observing the game for 32 years since he began playing at the age of nine and along the way he has put in many hours of research.
One area of concentration for Campbell of course, was batting.
There have been many Bahamians who were terrific at batting in cricket, but overall, Eddie Ford stands clearly at the top. Many who have been a part of the Bahamian sporting scene over the last five decades, credit Ford with being the most versatile athlete The Bahamas has ever produced.
A case could be made for Fred ‘Papa’ Smith, Tom ‘The Bird/Berruti’ Grant, Cynthia ‘Mother’ Pratt, Roy Armbrister, Leonard ‘Boston Blackie’ Miller and a few others but if a national poll was taken and Ford emerged the winner, I doubt anybody would be annoyed.
Ford’s cricket background makes a strong argument for him. He has played professional baseball and arguably is the best centerfielder in our history. He has scored 100 points in a single basketball game. He has been one of our best softball players.
However, cricket is in my view, his top sport.
Campbell was bursting with pride when he talked about Ford who has been his mentor in cricket.
“There hasn’t been any player like Eddie. What I always liked about him is that fact that he was there to teach and help everyone. I made sure to stay around him and gain as much as I could about cricket,” said Campbell.
According to Campbell’s list, Ford is the game’s leading centurion. He has 40 centuries, followed by his brother Mario with 37, Whycliff Atkinson with 28, Kevin Ford with 20 and Ken Rodgers with 16 to round out the top five.
Eddie Ford also has the top league single-game batting mark.
In 1951, S.J. Symington who competed for the Civil Service Team, knocked in 162 runs to set the new modern day record. He didn’t remain ahead for long. Later that season, batting for St. Agnes, the legendary Tan Bain produced 167 runs not out.
That record would stand for 29 years. In 1980, Eddie Ford, for St. Bernard’s, had 180 runs not out. Four years later, he established the record that still exists for league play, 221 runs.
Ford does not own the highest single game effort ever done in the country however. In a match against an English side during the CARICOM Tournament in 1999, Atkinson knocked in 230 runs.
In league play, Rodgers, also of St. Bernard’s, is second at 210 and Mario Ford registered 207 runs while playing for the T-Bird Flyers to sit at No. 3 all time in the country.
The statistical milestones compiled by Campbell add a special flavor to our cricket history. No doubt, they will result in renewed interest in the sport, by players, fans and others within the Bahamian sporting family.
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com)