Glowing tributes paid to late St. Catherine all-rounder Roger Blades

Bridgetown, Barbados, February 22 – (www.barbadoscricket.org) – Glowing tributes have been paid to former St. Catherine Club cricketer Roger Blades, who also played for Bermuda in the regional one-day Championship and the International Cricket Council (ICC) Trophy.

Blades, a fast-medium bowler and lower order batter, who had the honour of taking a beaver-trick in the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) First division (now Elite) Competition, died at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, aged 58, following an illness.

He made his Division 1 debut for St. Catherine in 1982 and was a regular member of the team until 1989 before taking up residence in Bermuda where he served as a member of the Bermuda Police Force during the 1990s.

On returning home, he again turned out at the highest BCA level for the Bayfield, St. Philip Club between 2000 and 2007.

Blades played 119 matches in the First division Championship. He scored over 2400 runs and took 191 wickets at an average of 18.17.

His best season with the ball was in 1988 when he took 37 wickets (ave: 11.89). In the sixth series against Wanderers at Bayfield, at the age of 25 he performed the beaver-trick in the first innings in career-best figures of eight for 39 off 25.1 overs under the captaincy of St. Catherine’s most prolific batter ever, Thelston Payne.

Blades played in the 1989 BCA one-day Fire Cup (40-over) Final against Carlton when St. Catherine were narrowly beaten by four runs at Kensington Oval.

The affable Blades, who also worked as a banker, played seven List A (50-over) matches. In the 1996 Red Stripe Bowl in Guyana, he grabbed his best figures of four for 30 against Windward Islands at Enmore before Bermuda agonisingly lost by two runs. He also played in the 1997 ICC Carlsberg Trophy in Malaysia.

Following are tributes to Blades from his former Combermere schoolmate and captain Pearson Bovell; St. Catherine clubmate and friend David Mason and the Bermuda Ex-Police Association.

Pearson Bovell – “I first met Roger, who is three years my junior, when he entered my alma mater Combermere School in 1974.

Roger was a pleasant youngster, who spent the majority of his lunch time playing cricket with his peers and overwhelming them with his all-round ability.

“Subsequently, as I assumed the role of the school’s Intermediate cricket captain and as Roger developed and progressed from the Under-15 Ronald Tree competition, I selected and integrated a comparatively young Roger Blades to the school’s Intermediate team.

“Roger was somewhat chubby but he was very mobile and athletic and performed his role as a lower order (number 8) batsman and handy medium-pacer competently. Due to his chubby, cuddly-like appearance while at school, he earned the nickname among teammates of “Teddy” which was short for Teddy Bear.

“Roger was a highly skilled cricketer who played a pivotal role in the St. Catherine Club’s consistent performances in Barbados’ Premier cricket competitions. He emigrated to Bermuda and eventually played for Bermuda in the West Indies Red Stripe Bowl competition.

“However, I was filled with much pride and admiration on hearing about Roger representing Bermuda in the 1997 ICC competition. My boy was on the International stage.

“Roger was best known as a very competent and competitive cricketer but first and foremost he was a wonderful and congenial person. He will be missed. My sincere condolences to all his family, friends and the Barbados and Bermuda cricket communities, especially to the St. Catherine Club.”

David Mason – “We at St. Catherine are deeply hurt at this time but will continue to seek solace in the Father above.

“Roger represented and possessed all the qualities any club would want as a member. I was fortunate to have shared a dressing room with him and when he spoke he drew the attention of all because his passion for and knowledge of the game were second to none.

“My memory takes me back to a young Ryan Hinds (former Barbados and West Indies player, who is now a BCA coach, senior selector and assistant coach of Barbados Pride) while batting in a First division game at Bayfield and facing Roger for the first time. After the first two balls he looked back towards the slips cordon and said ‘Mason, this man hitting my bat very hard’. Three balls later it was a hard edge to second slip.

“Sincerest condolences to his uncle Carl Blades and family including Kelly Thorpe, his cousin, who also played for St. Catherine but now resides in the USA.”

Bermuda Ex-Police Association – “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our good friend and former colleague, Roger Blades.

“Roger joined the Bermuda Police in March 1990, and served mainly in Eastern Division (St. George’s), in Eastern CID and also in Central CID.  He resigned in May 1998 and returned to his home in Barbados.

“Roger was an outstanding allround cricketer, who played for the Police Cricket Team and also played in Cup Match for Somerset and in the Bermuda National Cricket Team, representing Bermuda in the Red Stripe Bowl 50-over competition in the Caribbean, and in the ICC Carlsberg Trophy 50-over competition in Malaysia in 1997.  He played in the Police Team in the International Police Cricket Festival, 1996, in Worcester, UK, and in 1998 in his native Barbados where he was named Player of the Series. Roger was a key player for our Police Team during the decade of the 1990’s during the domination of the Police Team in local cricket.  “On behalf of the Bermuda Ex-Police Officers Association we offer our sincere condolences to Roger’s family.”