13a Top cricketer

13a – Paul Wakeford

Hard-hitting right-hand bat whose average full inter-insular record belies a terrific representative and club career. At Elizabeth College, he was robbed of a deserved century against Victoria and that 94 in 1979 was the first of several big-game ‘near-tons’ for this occasionally fiery middle order batsman who was to win every trophy in club cricket with Pessimists, Pilgrims, Cobo and St Pierre. Robin Winstone, his College coach, was a big fan, penning these words in The Elizabethan magazine four years before he made his senior Island debut: ‘Often a tentative starter, but once set a murderer of the short ball to off or his favourite leg side’. That description was very apt, and nothing much changed when he moved into senior cricket where Pessimists were keen to include the youngster in their GCA KO final sides of 1979 and 1980. He was awarded the GCA young player of the year award in 1981.

‘Wakey’ did not make a telling contribution in either of those games, but in 1982 he was featuring in his third final, this time with Pilgrims and playing a decisive role. In a low-scoring game his 37 was comfortably the best score and with victory set Pilgrims on their way to a golden period. The 1983 season was an outstanding one for the young OE.

In the Evening League his ‘magnificent 60 not out’ saw Pilgrims thrash           champions Rovers A to deny Ricky Mills’ side an outright title win.

That evening at the Osmond Priaulx Field he took the attack to the strong and varied Rovers bowling and with Tony Ayton providing steady support, they rushed to victory with more than two overs to spare. That performance was in addition to a stunning 83 for the Guernsey Cricket Association against the Jersey Cricket League at FB Fields. His 81-ball knock, which included 12 fours and two massive sixes in a match-winning partnership of 108 with Warren Barrett, was the first of three straight classy knocks by the Pilgrim against the JCL.

A year later he cracked 73 in another big Sarnian win and in 1985 he took 40 off the Jersey bowlers. Fast forward seven years and he was the star of the show as Guernsey beat Belgium in the final of the European Cricketer Cup at KGV.

Again, he was to just miss out on three figures, ending the innings unbeaten on 99.

The man-of-the-match award was consolation for missing out on a ton and it was well merited after Guernsey had lost four wickets and were wobbling.

Reflecting on that game 30 years later, he recalled the moment of missing out on three figures. ‘I was batting with Warren [Barrett] at the end and I had always said to my mate Dave Hearse that I didn’t want to know when I got near a century.’ So they did not and with KGV without a scoreboard that did not go beyond the basic total, wickets and overs, he was painfully unaware of how close he came to the hundred.

As it happened, he swung hard at the final ball of the innings and missed. All told, he would play seven inter-insulars, his best effort being the 46-ball 38 on debut before falling leg before to Barry Middleton.

In the club game, he would win a string of trophies with Pilgrims before heading off to Cobo where he would win more silverware, much of it as captain of the highly successful team in the 1990s.

He would then switch to St Pierre and collect another Division One winners’ medal.

The 1982 Pilgrims GCA KO-wlnnlng side.

Back row, from left to right: Guy Stuckey, Andy Burkhardt, Andy Hearse, Roy Martel, Owen Guille, Brian Farnham and Peter Webb.

Front: Dave Hearse, Tony Ayton, Chrls Parker, Paul Wakeford and Jeremy Lihou.          

Other notable scores:

1978 –          98 EC v King Edward School

1979 –          73 EC v King Edwards School, 59 v RCN Roussel XI, 65 v Pilgrims, 57 v GICC