2 Top cricketer

2 – Warren Barrett

Warren Barrett

A TRULY exceptional cricketer and, yet, it just may be that both he and we missed his prime years, 28 through to late 30s. Having toured the island with his college side, Warren Barrett, who is thought to have played second XI county cricket, married a Guernsey girl and aside of that big break from the game, which occupied much of the 1960s and into the early ’70s, was highly influential in the domestic and representative game into the new millennium. His 23 caps are more than any other player with the exception of his fellow spin-twin, Ralph Anthony, who ended his own career stuck on the same number.

Although a very fine batsman with all the shots, great courage in the face of fast bowling and a willingness to get on with things, it was his off-spin bowling which put him on a different plane. In his early years, especially, and until he passed 40, you could often hear the whirr of his most tweaked deliveries, such was his capacity to turn the ball and at a surprisingly quick pace. There was a real zip to his bowling and he could bowl the leg-spinner consistently, which made him doubly dangerous. Jersey’s premier batsmen had little idea how to cope and certainly flourish against his spinners, and he ended his career not only having taken more wickets – 50 – than anyone else against the Caesareans, but also having amassed more runs – 523.

Back to the start. Having made an instant impact on the local game and making his representative bow in 1961, after claiming nine wickets in his first three representative matches he did not play again for nine seasons. Had he not taken that break to concentrate on family and his musical career, which was outside his daily teaching commitments at the Grammar School, his numbers would probably leave him in an unassailable position for ever and a day. Jersey occasionally managed to contain his batting, but never conquered his bowling.

Perhaps his finest knock in the main Jersey game was the 76 he smashed in the 1963 win. On a rain-soaked College Field strip, he cut loose, scoring 17 of the 20 runs scored from the first over after lunch.    He then took three wickets to scoop the man-of-the-match award. Jersey will have been glad to see the back of him, but on his return to the fixture nine years later he was keen to make up for lost time and produced an exhilarating undefeated 58 off 35 balls which raced Guernsey towards the declaration.

Guernsey innings
A C Bisson c Chanter b Hunt 20
P V Sarre lbw b Bromley 8
*R C N Roussel c Chanter b Kearns 53
W E R Barrett c Chanter b Kearns 76
B A Anthony c Chanter b Kearns 7
P L Le Cocq b Kearns 13
R A Strappini c Chanter b Kearns 0
M J Mechem b Bromley 2
D J Lewis-Bowen not out 15
+W Robilliard, C Eley dnb
Extras (b0, lb0, w0, nb0) 0
Total (for 8 wickets declared in 59.2 overs) 194

Jersey bowling
G Bromley 13-5-33-2, I Kearns 25.2-8-47-5, D Hunt 6-1-34-1, M Briant 8-0-37-0, C Poree 3-1-9-0, G Vowden 4-0-34-0

Jersey innings
R A Furness c Robilliard b Le Cocq 9
D Young b Bowen 0
+A R Chanter b Barrett 39
C Armstrong b Lewis-Bowen 10
B Le Marquand b Barrett 37
G Bromley c Barrett b Eley 1
D C Hunt c Roussel b Eley 0
G Vowden st Robilliard b Eley 2
*C J Poree c Mechem b Eley 0
M Briant lbw b Barrett 0
I Kearns not out 0
Extras (b, lb, w, nb) 4
Total (in 44.3 overs) 102

Guernsey bowling
D Lewis-Bowen 6-2-16-2, P Le Cocq 9-4-16-1, P Sarre 5-0-14-0, C Eley 13-1-35-4, W Barrett 11.3-4-17-3

In 1976 he scored 75 and added 151 for the third wicket with Ricky Mills and two years later smashed another half-century. But, all the while, it was his spinners which Jersey feared most and in the 1975 home victory his 7 for 52 from 31 overs downed Jersey. His bowling bamboozled the Caesareans and John Le Poidevin wrote of the longest bowling spell ever in the fixture, ‘That marathon of Barrett’s was a joy to watch. He varied his pace, threw in the odd leg-break and was always giving the batsmen something to think about.’

Jersey innings
+J Poynton c Le Cocq b Barrett 8
N Fage c Webber b de Haaff 0
D C Hunt b Barrett 34
D Faux lbw b Le Cocq 14
*D Billingham b Barrett 17
M J Weaver b Barrett 22
M L A Dodd c Lewis b Barrett 1
C Murrin c Le Cocq b Barrett 11
R Allott b de Haaff 12
R A Pearce st Fooks b Barrett 2
D K Warren not out 11
Extras (b0, lb1, w2, nb0) 3
Total (in 69.5 overs) 135

Guernsey bowling
de Haaff 14.5-5-30-2, Le Cocq 20-7-44-1, Barrett 31-9-52-7, Mills 4-1-6-0,

Guernsey innings
*R W Mills b Warren 3
A Lewis c Hunt b Warren 13
M C C Webber c Warren b Dodd 32
A C Bisson b Allott 0
R C Kimber c Poynton b Allott 10
P L Le Cocq not out 51
W E R Barrett c Warren b Pearce 10
M J Mechem c Weaver b Pearce 12
H A J Mountford not out 4
+M A Fooks, M de Haaff dnb
Extras (b0, lb3, w0, nb0) 3
Total (for 7 wickets in 47.4 overs) 138

Jersey bowling
Allott 15-6-45-2, Warren 12-1-41-2, Pearce 12-0-30-2, Dodd 8.4-2-19-1

That same summer, he took 6 for 32 as the Guernsey Cricket League thrashed their counterparts at FB Fields and he was still playing representative cricket until 1990 when he had reached a personal half-century. In 1989, aged 54, he was scoring an undefeated 45 in the GCL-JCL game and 4 for 52 in the main inter-insular.

A year on, he was playing his part in Guernsey’s prestigious European Cricketer Cup tournament triumph. On top of that there are countless star performances with bat and ball in club cricket. Initially it was with Optimists and when he came back after his lengthy sabbatical, it was with Cobo, then Rovers and back to Optimists for another stint. He underpinned trophy success for all those clubs and one of his most outstanding all-round displays came in the 1975 GCA KO final when he took five St Martin’s wickets for 19 runs and then hit 42. Remarkably, he still finished on the losing Cobo side.

It was a couple of years later when, with Cobo vying with Rovers for the Division One title, he single-handedly took on the pace duo of Miles Dobson and Andy Creed, hooking and cutting his way to a brilliant and brave decisive half-century on the hard and bouncy Osmond Priaulx Field Ruberoid strip.

His influence on the game stretched to forming and overseeing the Guernsey Touring Cricket Club who went to the Caribbean, Holland and UK, and it was through his extensive connections that the Delhi Blues toured the island. Given how he rediscovered a huge love for the game after his sabbatical, he would have wished to have had the ICC tournaments modern-day players enjoy, to test his great skills.

Other notable performances:

Int Ins   4 partnerships of 50, 14 & 3-30    1961, 12 & 3-36    1962, 76 & 3-17    1963, 58* & 2-75    1972, 20 & 4-42    1973, 5-20    1974, 10 & 7-52    1975, 75    1976, 54     1978, 32 & 2-25    1986, 9 & 4-31    1987, 4-68    1988, 14* & 4-52    1989

CI O50s        60    v Cornwall 26 Jul 1993

Cricketer Cup         24 & 1-10 v Greece and 29* & 4-32 v Belgium in May 1990

Domestic cricket     6-26    Opt v Rov    15 Jun 1961, 6-31    Opt v Pilg    29 May 1962, 77    GICC v MCC    8 Jun 1962, 5-19    Opt v Pilg    15 Jun 1962, 6-25    GCL v Univ Coll, Ox    2 Jul 1962, 48 & 4-18    Opt v Rov    13 Jul 1962, 7-25    GICC v Bandits     9 Aug 1963, 5-27    GICC v GCL    5 Aug 1963, 23 & 5-18    GCL v Bandits    13 Aug 1963

Friendly 31 & 1-23    Gsy v Hampshire    24 Sept 1988

Placed 33rd in R Batiste’s Guernsey top 100 sports people