Former Empire pacer Lemar Mascoll dies at 32

Bridgetown, Barbados, April 26 – (www.barbadoscricket.org) – Former Empire top division pace bowler Lemar Mascoll has died at the age of 32 following an illness.

In paying tribute, his former captain Jamal “Bert” Smith described Mascoll as a “canny seamer“ and “reliable fighter”.

Mascoll first played in the BCA First division Championship for Empire in 2009 (renamed Elite division in 2012) and was a member of the team in 2014 when the famous Bank Hall Club captured the title in its 100th anniversary year.

The previous season he produced his best figures of five for 66 in the second innings against the highly touted Sagicor Life UWI at 3Ws Oval.

Following is the tribute by Smith, who is also a former Barbados and Combined Campuses & Colleges first-class player and now the coach/player of IGS Insurance Brokers Yorkshire Club.

“I first saw Lemar Mascoll playing in the Sir Garfield Sobers Tournament, somewhere around 2009,” Smith told the BCAwebsite.

“Subsequently, Sammy Skeete his games master endorsed his ability and then encouraged him to become a member of Empire Club. He came over to Empire from the Lester Vaughan School.

“He was a canny seamer with the ability to go both ways, particularly with the older ball. Predominantly though, he liked to slant the ball across the left-hander. This meant that naturally he possessed the ability to nip back the ball to the right-hander.

“He possessed in his early days a sharp bouncer as well, and as he went on he developed slower deliveries. His best slower ball in my opinion was the looping off cutter that usually caught batters unawares. His skill set made him the perfect go to man for me as skipper when in need of breaking partnerships.

“While the Empire Club always boasted of more illustrious names, “Sketch Pad” as I called him was always in the starting X1. I was confident in his ability to make critical breakthroughs and as time went on he became one of the senior seamers in the team.

“I remember putting a tremendous workload on him in 2015 (he took 20 wickets at an average of 24.25 in the Elite division). We won the Elite division Cup the previous year but most of the seasoned players were selected for national duties that ran currently with the local season and the Empire Club found itself short of a quality attack.

“Sketch Pad” stepped up alongside Tennyson Roach and both seamers were bowling no less than three spells per day, sometimes four or five. I remember apologising to Lemar in the team meeting in a particular game we chased leather all day. I had asked five spells of him that day. He said to me “that small Bert, real small too. I going run up for you and I going run up for Empire every time until my legs can’t carry me no more”.

“I always knew he was a reliable fighter but the sincerity and conviction with which that statement was made stayed with me from then until this very day.

“They often say that you can tell the way a man lives by the way he plays his cricket. If that’s truly the case then I surmise Lemar Mascoll as a quietly confident guy who stood up to the challenges faced when he had to. Also easy going but if the situation merited it you would hear the sound of his voice and you would know of his convictions through his actions. You’d forget he was in the dressing room unless addressed directly but somehow you never underestimated his presence on or off the field.

“He created his own impression on the Empire Club and his teammates and members like myself and surely that impression will be lasting even though he’s no longer with us.

“Our birthdates are one day apart and is customary since we first met we would still greet each other with a phone call acknowledging another trip around the sun. Thereafter we would have a decent chat to catch up. It was on our last birthday catch up in 2022 that I learnt of, and understood the true nature of his challenges. The human condition most times points us to hope for the best, but ever so often we are forced to face the worst. We now have to come to terms with the reality of his passing, still very much in the prime of his life.

“I take this opportunity to express to his family and friends my sincere condolences and hope that in time they find the peace needed to recover from instances such as these. His legacy now lives on through his son and in the hearts and minds of those who knew him best. Rest well “Sketch Pad” as we meet again.”