Howzat?! - Ed Bartlett was once a big-time cricketer

Howzat?! - Ed Bartlett was once a big-time cricketer


Sunday, September 27, 2020

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His achievements in tourism policy management have been hailed by many, but at one time Ed Bartlett might have thought that he was cut out for a sport that has become synonymous with Caribbean high achievement —cricket.

Born in George's Plain, Westmoreland, it seemed a natural that young Bartlett would attend Manning's High School in the parish capital of Savanna-la-Mar, but instead he was bussed off to Santa Cruz, St Elizabeth, to pursue his extra-curricular dreams and ensure that his academic work remained top notch.

Known for producing a high percentage of West Indies, Jamaica national, Under-19 and Under-15 cricketers for several decades, St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) was responsible for structuring the foundation for Bartlett's fulfilment of his early promise.

Not only did he go on to represent the school in the rural area Headley Cup cricket competition, but captained the team as well, playing as a leg-spinning all-rounder who started out opening the batting for his institution, but went down the order later on to expose younger talent to the new ball.

“It's interesting how I ended up at STETHS,” Bartlett told the Jamaica Observer in an interview last week. “When I passed the Common Entrance Exam, they had an asterisk, stupidly, against my name, because I was born in December and the way things were structured, if you were born at such and such a time you are over the age by a couple months. As a result I couldn't go to Manning's, so I had to go do what was called 'Over Age'. That's how I ended up in the technical stream,” added Bartlett.

Going a step further up the cricket ladder, Bartlett made the powerful All Schools cricket squad, led by Wolmer's Boys' School prolific batsman Paul Buchanan, who went on to represent Jamaica Youth, and Jamaica National teams. Buchanan also served as Member of Parliament for St Andrew West Rural.

That mid-1960s youth squad also included many outstanding schoolboys, some of whom went on to represent Jamaica and the West Indies, among them Lawrence Rowe, Basil Williams, Anthony Wright, Uton Dowe, Courtney Daley, Delroy Bembridge, George Mudie Jr, Sam Morgan, George Prescod, Lyndel Wright, Livern Wellington, and Joshua Hamilton.

One of Bartlett's great achievements was leading STETHS to the Headley Cup final, but losing to a powerful Vere Technical High School with Kenneth “Bop” Campbell, who played Senior Cup cricket for Kensington, and represented Jamaica at football; and others in the side.

He also played Senior Cup for University of the West Indies (UWI) against top clubs like Kingston, Kensington, Melbourne and others.

“I never thought I would have become a professional cricketer. I just liked the game,” he said to the Sunday Observer. “When I went on (UWI) campus I stayed there, and participated in Inter-Campus Games against Trinidad and Barbados and used to, and remember people being around like Rudi Cohen and Stewart Stephenson, the latter, like Bartlett, a spinning all-rounder, but formerly for Kingston College.

“We had a good period at UWI and then I went to play for St James parish for a while when I went to Texaco to be the regional manager for the company from the west,” Bartlett went on.

“I enjoyed cricket. The last match I played was against Lashings at Sabina Park, with Paul Buchanan and others. I made five, in which I hit a cover drive and fell flat on my bam bam. It was the most spectacular cover drive, but it didn't get to the boundary and we ended up running only one,” Bartlett said of the light moment when he had the gathering at the world famous venue laughing uncontrollably when his backside hit the deck hard.

The match about seven years ago against the United Kingdom-based Lashings, also saw appearances from former England cricketers Devon Malcolm and Phil DeFreitas on the Lashings team; and politicians Dr Wykeham McNeill, Ruddy Spencer and Damion Crawford, as well as businessman Chris Dehring on the parliamentarians' team.

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