Tribute To Leslie Wight
George Leslie Wight, "Les" to his friends and the cricketing fraternity, was born on May 28th, 1929 in Georgetown. The Wight brothers, Arnold, Norman, Leslie, Peter and Darwin all attended St. Stanislaus College and the first four named went on to represent British Guiana in cricket at the Inter-Colonial level. George Leslie Wight, "Les" to his friends and the cricketing fraternity, was born on May 28th, 1929 in Georgetown. The Wight brothers, Arnold, Norman, Leslie, Peter and Darwin all attended St. Stanislaus College and the first four named went on to represent British Guiana in cricket at the Inter-Colonial level. Les went one step further when he was selected to represent the West Indies in the Third Test Match against India at Bourda in 1953.
Leslie's first Inter-Colonial match was against Barbados at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown in 1950. He once told me that it was a baptism of fire, as the Barbados attack was spearheaded by Frank King who had the ball whistling past his ears. There were no helmets in those days.
Les will forever be remembered for his part in a then record opening partnership of 390 with the late Glendon Gibbs against Barbados at Bourda in 1951. Gibbs made 216 and Les was 262 not out when the innings was declared closed at 692 for 9. Les batted for the better part of 2 days and in the process established a world record for continuous presence on the field of play. The record opening partnership stood for 50 years and was eventually eclipsed in 2002. Les's Inter-Colonial career spanned the years 1950 - 1953, during which time, in 12 matches, he recorded 4 centuries at an average of 72.19.
In his one and only Test match, batting at the unusual number 6 spot in the order, he scored 21. This was unusual because he was an opening batsman and, for reasons only the captain knew, Jeff Stollmeyer elected to open the innings with Bruce Pairaudeau, much to Les's dismay and chagrin. Shortly after the Test series was over, Les decided to emigrate to Canada.
In 1953, Les married Elaine (da Silva) and they produced a family of 4 sons. A devoted husband and father, Les somehow found the time to pursue his lifelong love - cricket. Not one to talk too much about the game, he was however an ardent student of the game, and continued to amass countless centuries in Canadian cricket. Best described as a dour, disciplined, patient batsman, Les exhibited tremendous powers of concentration and, quite simply, he hated to lose his wicket. Modern day West Indian batsmen would do well to develop some of his traits.
In 1984, Les was diagnosed with cancer of the spine. His doctor told him he would never walk again, and that he had played his last cricket match. As we all know, not only did he walk again, but up to 3 years before his death, he was playing the game he loved. His doctor could not have known of the man's indomitable spirit and courage. He played the innings of his life and lived another 19 years before the great umpire lifted the bails.
Les was a credit to his old school, his country and above all his family. We extend our condolences to Elaine and his sons Marvin, Jamie, Scott, Andrew and their respective families. It was a pleasure and a privilege to have known Les. I shall always treasure the many hours we spent talking and watching cricket (via satellite in the latter years).
George Leslie Wight died peacefully on January 4/04. May his soul rest in peace.