Queen's College Cricket History

Date Published: 
Norman Gonsalves


Queen's College (QC) has been the leading high school in Guyana for many decades, along with its principal academic rival St Stanislaus. A boys-only school until 1975, QC's playing fields was large enough to accomodate three cricket matches simultaneously, with two pavilions, at one time. The school also possesses good quality facilities for other sports, including soccer, volleyball, basketball, badminton, table tennis, athletics and gymnastics.

Conditions favorable to cricket and other sports, however, did not always exist at QC.

The Early QC, 1844 - 1918

Queen's College Grammar School first opened in August 1844 at Colony House (where Victoria Laws Courts is today) as an Anglican school. Its establishment served both the church's altruistic aspirations and the British colonists' need for an acceptable alternative to schools in Britain. Like cricket, QC was intended to make the British colonists feel at home in British Guiana.

Cricket did not capture the interest of the Guianese public until the colony hosted its first first-class match at the Parade Ground in 1865, against Barbados. Thus, it is doubtful if QC allocated any resources to the game, or any other sport, when the school opened in 1844.

In 1854 QC moved to new facilities at Quamina & Carmichael Streets (where Bishop's High School is today), across the street from the Parade Ground. In 1858 the Georgetown Cricket Club (GCC) was formed, with its headquarters and activities at the Parade Ground. QC students and GCC members practiced at the Parade Ground, often together, sharing the ground for matches and forming a bond that lasted for decades.

The Parade Ground, however, was owned by the Georgetown Town Council, which allowed the ground to be used for other recreational activities such as stilt walking, donkey racing, sack racing, pig racing and rifle shooting(!), in addition to cricket. In 1883, GCC (whose membership included powerful lawyers, business men and other professionals) applied to the Town Council for the exclusive use of the Parade Ground for cricket, and was denied.

GCC then acquired sugar plantation lands previously owned by Joseph Bourda, where it built its own cricket ground in 1885. Cricket facilities at the Parade Ground were no longer maintained and the ground was soon unfit for cricket matches.

Meanwhile, the Anglican Church turned over Queen's College Grammar School to the colonial government in 1877, so that the school could be better funded. Its name was changed to "Queen's College" and a layman, Exley Percival was made principal. Mr Percival, an outstanding administrator, earned the trust of the Combined Court, as the colonial government at that time was known.

Thus, when GCC abandoned the Parade Ground in 1885, Mr Percival was able to secure funds from the Combined Court to purchase neighboring premises for a school play-field. This turned out to be large enough for soccer but only suitable for junior cricket matches. Fortunately, the older students were allowed by GCC to play or practice on Saturday mornings at Bourda.

In 1901, former QC student Edwin Moulder made his first class debut for Guyana, as an opening batsman. Moulder represented Guyana and the West Indies (before West Indies started playing Test cricket) from 1901 to 1913. He had won the Guiana Scholarship at QC in 1891, after which he obtained a Bachelor's degree in History at Oxford in 1896. He was Assistant Master at QC from 1901 to 1914, and Principal from 1920 to 1929.

Another former QC student, Fred Abraham, represented Guyana in first class cricket from 1905 to 1912, as a pace-bowling all-rounder. Fred Abraham gave his life for his country in the First World War in France in 1918.

Former QC student John Veerasawmy made his first class debut for Guyana against Trinidad in 1910 at the Queen's Park Oval, as a left-arm pacer. After this he studied law in London from 1910, graduating and becoming a barrister in 1913. Cricket was suspended in Guyana from 1914 to 1920 because of the First World War, after which Veerasawmy played for Guyana again, in 1921. He was a magistrate from 1922 to 1944.

Veerasawmy was also the school's soccer captain in 1908 and its senior athletic champion in 1909. He was the first player of East Indian origin to play first class cricket for Guyana and a founding member of the East Indian Cricket Club (in 1914), which later became Everest Cricket Club.

Another former QC student, Clarence Hunter, made his debut for Guyana in 1913, as a middle-order batsman. He also represented the West Indies in first class cricket.

The house system was introduced in 1916, during the First World War, with enough students for two houses only. The first inter-house cricket competition was won by B House.

QC At Brickdam, 1918 - 1951

A government committee on education in British Guiana recommended in 1917 that, though "scholastic efficiency" was excellent at QC, masters should take greater part in the boys' recreations, and athletic qualifications should be considered in the appointment of masters. The committee also recommended that QC be relocated to the Orphan Asylum Buildings and Ground in Brickdam (where the Ministry of Health is). QC relocated as recommended in 1918.

After relocating to Brickdam, the school set about preparing its play-field, which was much larger than that in Carmichael Street, for cricket and other sports. Meanwhile, the school participated in the second division Garnett Cup and school cricketers practiced at the GCC ground, now just three blocks away, and other clubs (GSC and DCC).

Despite not being able to use of its own play-field in 1918, QC almost won the Garnett Cup that year. Believing that the competition was already won, they became complacent and lost their last match. Credit for this outstanding performance was due to VI Evan-Wong, JB Ewing-Wong, CV Wight, CB Wishart and others. The play-field was ready by 1921 and three Garnett Cup matches were played there. By this time QC had about 170 students and a third house was formed.

Principal Edwin Moulder played in the QC cricket team in the Garnett Cup while school principal from 1920 to 1929 and helped to raise the team's standard of play. QC was runner-up in the Garnett Cup again in 1926, but the school won the Hing Cup in 1931.

Everyone at QC was proud when former QC student MP Fernandes was second in the batting averages on the West Indies tour of England in 1923, playing first class cricket only. He had made his first class debut as an opening batsman for Guyana in September 1922. Former QC students Clarence Hunter and John Veerasammy also played in that match.

Another former QC student Vibart Wight made his first class debut as an opening batsman for Guyana in October 1925. He went on to represent the West Indies in Test cricket and become mayor of Georgetown three times.

In June 1928, MP Fernandes became the first Guyana-born Test cricketer when he represented the West Indies in its inaugural Test at Lords, in England. That team also included CR Browne, who represented Guyana at that time but was born in Barbados. In the third Test of that series former QC student Vibart Wight also made his Test debut.

It has been reported that, in February 1930, the great English batsman Patsy Hendren visited QC during the English tour of the West Indies and coached at the school for a couple of days.

Magistrate, former Guyana cricketer and QC Old Boy John Veerasawmy coached QC students in cricket in 1933, and in 1934 they were coached by former Australia Test all-rounder Arthur Richardson, who was on assignment in Guyana through GCC. The students responded by winning the Hing Cup for the third time in 1936.

In 1935 another former QC student, Ken Wishart, made his Test debut for the West Indies. He had made his first class debut for Guyana in 1929. In later years he managed the Georgetown Cricket Club and was secretary to both the Guyana Cricket Board and the West Indies Cricket Board.

In 1935 the school population had grown to about 300 pupils, and the facilities at Brickdam were overcrowded. The school acquired a very large play-field on Thomas Lands, over a mile to the north and closer to the Atlantic Ocean. This play-field was playable by 1936, largely through the efforts of former professional cricketer and groundsman Sammy Hinds, and by 1938 it was in excellent condition.

QC students visited St Lucia in 1935 and Grenada in 1938, participating in cricket, soccer and athletic competitions.

The CR Jacob Cup was introduced in 1935 for cricket competition between QC, St Stanislaus and Berbice High School. QC won this trophy on several occasions. In 1937, QC was promoted to first division competition for the Parker Cup, but did not last long at this level. In 1942 QC won the Wight Cup, for second division competition.

The 1942 Jacob Cup final, between St Stanislaus College and QC, was played at Bourda. QC won the match, and the Jacob Cup, after the St Stanislaus middle order batting collapsed in their first innings.

QC was promoted to the first division again, in the late 1940s - this time to compete for the Case Cup. The school kept its first division place at least from 1949 to 1962.

CA (Charlie) Agard was captain of the QC cricket team from 1945 to 1946, forming a "nearly impregnable" opening partnership with Bruce Pairaudeau.

In 1947 QC student Bruce Pairaudeau became the youngest player to represent Guyana in inter-colonial cricket, at the age of 15. He also became the first QC student to score a century in an inter-colonial match when he scored 130 against Jamaica. In 1948 he established the record individual score of 216 not out made by a QC student for QC in any division of cricket. Pairaudeau also played soccer for QC.

In 1948 the school cricket vice-captain was "Pryor" RM Jonas, who is believed to be the first schoolboy to take 100 wickets in a season in the Wight Cup competition. Pryor later became a math teacher at QC and a well-known cricket writer. A selection of Pryor's sports articles was compiled in a book called "Sportsmen and Sportsmanship" in 2006, after his death in 2005. Pryor believed that involvement in sports made young people better members of society.

In 1949, the school cricket captains were RA Gibbons (Case Cup) and HI Leal (Wight Cup). The Case Cup team included: RC Bacchus, M Baird, AFR Bishop, WA Chin, RA Gibbons (captain), RM Glasford, A Gonsalves, LA Jackman, WI Lee, TD Mohamed, FK Mongul, M Moore and C Pilgrim.

The 1950 QC team included: RC Bacchus, AFR Bishop (captain), RM Glasford, A Gonsalves, LA Jackman, EB John, HI Leal, WI Lee, F Mongul, M Moore and C Pilgrim. QC lost to Saints on first innings in the 1950 Jacob Cup semi-final, played at Malteenoes. Scores were QC 236 (LA Jackman 94, F Mongul 46, J Gouveia 2 for 19) and 132-5 (WI Lee 49, O Gibson 4 for 43). Saints 267 (O Gibson 61, B Patoir 45, C Pilgrim 4 for 78).

The New QC, 1951 - 1999

In 1951 QC moved to its present site at Thomas Lands, where it had previously acquired another play-field. The number of QC houses was expanded from three to ten and one of the new houses (G House) was named "Moulder House" in honour of Edwin Moulder.

In 1951 former QC student Leroy Jackman made his first class debut for Guyana, against Barbados at Bourda. He batted at No 3 and was run out for 34. Jackman played one more match for Guyana and went on to become an attorney-at-law.

In 1952 Aubrey Bishop made his first class debut for Guyana, against Jamaica at Bourda. He later had a distinguished legal career in Guyana, becoming Chancellor and Head of the Judiciary in 1996. After this he became Professor of Law at the University of Guyana. Professor Bishop also represented Guyana at soccer and was a FIFA-certified international soccer referee.

Bruce Pairaudeau, former QC student, made his Test debut for West Indies against India at the Queen's Park Oval in January 1953. He scored 115, becoming the first Guyana player to score a century on Test debut. Pairaudeau migrated to New Zealand in 1958, where he continued playing first class cricket, for Northern Districts.

In March 1953 former QC student Arnold Gibbons made his first class debut for Guyana, against India at Bourda. He kept wicket and had three dismissals (2 catches and a stumping) in India's only innings in the rain-affected match. He played one more first class match for Guyana, against England in 1954, performing creditably with the bat in both matches. Gibbons went on to become Professor of Communications, Hunter College, New York University.

In 1955 QC was defeated by Central High School, who won the Chin Cup for the second consecutive year. Playing at QC, Central High School opening bowlers Harvey Ng-a-Kein (4 for 17) and C Naughton (3 for 25) limited QC (with capable batsmen in Rustic Fung, the Roopnaraine brothers and Laurie Lewis) to 76 in slightly windy conditions.

QC bowlers Ron Willock and Julian Archer immediately struck back, dismissing Central High School openers Davis and De Nobrega with the score below 10. The elegant Mervyn Dornford held on tenaciously for 24, aided by Lennie Shuffler 18. The match see-sawed into the sixties, until wicketkeeper Alan Mann carried the score to 78 for 7.

In 1955, twenty-four students and five masters from QC toured Trinidad to compete in cricket, soccer and athletics against Queen's Royal College and Naparima High School. QC won the first cricket match (and won two soccer matches, drawing one and losing one) but the second cricket match and the athletics event were cancelled after the unexpected discontinuation of the tour.

QC won the Jacob Cup again in 1955. Percival House won the inter-house cricket competition. The 1955-1956 cricket team First XI consisted of: DW Bacchus, RE Fung, G Joseph, RMS Khan, FA Lawrence (captain), DA McWatt, GH Mitchell, JA Nicholson, DO Niles, F Ramprashad, DB Rayman and BI Smith.

The 1956-1957 QC cricket team included: M Fung (captain), RMS Khan, FA Lawerence, DA McWatt, JA Nicholson, DO Niles, F Rampersaud, RR Roberts, KWK Saul, BI Smith, Spence and PM Stuart.

The 1958-1959 QC cricket team included: HS Birkett, TC Edwards, NW Grant, RM Jankie, RMS Khan (captain), LL Lewis, DA McWatt, DO Niles, GF Rampersaud, JRG Ramprashad, RR Roberts, Mr. Rock, R Roopnaraine, CS Spence and ROH Spence.

The 1960-1961 QC cricket team included: JRK Butchey, HE Dolphin, Mr. BA Eyre, LF Fraser, PAM Griffith, RM Janki, PE McLean, AR Morrison, GF Ramprashad, JRG Ramprashad (vice-captain), R Roopnaraine (captain), RM Stephen and AM Stuart. WF McGowan was captain of Wight and Rajah Cup cricket teams.

The 1961-1962 QC cricket team included: J Babb, LS Birkett, HE Dolphin, PAM Griffith (vice captain), CW London, PE McLean, AR Morrison, GP Murray, R Roopnarine (captain), H Ross, JO Smith, RM Stephen and CLY Walcott.

The 1962 QC Case Cup team included: D Angoy, J Babb, H Dolphin, A Hamilton, C London, C Morrison, G Murray, RK Roopnarine, H Ross, R Stephen, C Walcott (Source: The Daily Chronicle Monday, September 17, 1962: page 8).

The 1962-1963 QC cricket team included: CE Denbow, HE Dolphin, LO Griffith, AR Morrison, M Niamatali, G Rohlehr, H Ross, RM Stephens, H Syed and CLY Walcott.

The 1963-1964 QC cricket team included: R Cambridge, CE Denbow, P Foo, L Innis, C Jobe, Mr EW London (Supervisor), B Moore, A Morrison, G Rohlehr and K Wills.

The 1964-1965 QC cricket team included: P Alexander, S Bacchus, R Cambridge (captain), C Jobe, M Khan, C Kirton, Mr EW London (Supervisor), B Moore, A Morrison, N Ng-A-Qui, G Robinson and P Walcott.

QC toured Trinidad in 1964 and played two cricket matches against the Queen's Royal College (QRC). Scores were: (First Match) QRC: 143 and 90 - QC: 87 and 111. (Second Match) QC: 169 and 17 without loss – QRC: 158.

QC cricketers on the tour included (with age) Charles Cambridge (16), Richard Cambridge (18, captain), Mushtaq Khan (18), Clairmont Kirton (17), Terry Martindale (14), Andy Morrison (15), Nippy Ng-A-Qui (18) and George Robinson (17). Richard Cambridge was the most outstanding cricketer on either side and Andy Morrison, one of the youngest members of the group, was the best all-rounder.

Former student HE Dolphin represented the British Guiana Colts against Australia at Bourda in April 1965, scoring 61 in a century opening stand. While a student at QC, he had the highest runs aggregate in the Northcote competition. He later taught Spanish at QC. In 1965 Keith Aaron captained the Wight Cup team, and was vice-captain of the Northcote Cup team in 1967.

The 1967 QC cricket team included: KA Aaron, L Baird, WO Boxhill, D Cheddie, D De Freitas, D Dewar, D Hales, BCG Jackman, "Saggy" Jarvis, Mr EW London (captain), M London, F Massiah, Eric Phillips and TJ Morris.

Keith Aaron represented the Guyana Colts against England at Bourda in March 1968. He then lead the Guyana Under-20 team to victory in the annual regional British American Tobacco youth competition, in Trinidad & Tobago in 1969.

Former QC student Errol Jackman made his debut as an off-spinner for the Guyana Youth team in the 1969 British-American Tobacco regional youth competition, under Keith Aaron's captaincy. Errol Jackman represented the Guyana youth team again in the 1970 regional youth competition, in Guyana.

Mike Christophe represented the Guyana Under-19 team as an opening batsman in the 1970 regional youth competition, in Guyana, while still a student at QC. The mild-mannered and talented Christophe also represented QC (and Guyana) at table tennis and soccer.

The 1970 QC cricket team included: Keith Bazilio, Mike Christophe (captain), Alfred "Horsie" Granger, Colin Jackman, Steve Jarvis, Sasenaraine Kowlessar, Charlie Lawrence, Theo Morris, Victor Moses, Eric MD Phillips, Steve Sagar, Bramdeo Singh and Satrohan Sukhdeo.

The 1972 QC cricket team included: Mike Christophe (captain), J Haribarran, S Hyles, Sasenaraine Kowlessar, Victor Moses, Nelson and S Sagar.

In 1972 QC student Sasenarine Kowlessar made his debut as a wicketkeeper/batsman for the Guyana Under-19 team against the England Young Cricketers, at Bourda. The following year he again represented the Guyana Under-19 team, in the 1973 regional youth competition in St Lucia. Kowlessar was also an assistant master for a short period at QC.

The 1973 QC cricket team included (Northcote Cup): Mike Christophe (captain), Victor Moses, Brian Woodroffe.

Former QC student Colin Jackman, whose older brother Errol Jackman had already represented QC and the Guyana youth team at cricket, made his debut for the Guyana Under-19 team in the 1973 Benson & Hedges regional youth competition, in St Lucia. He scored 132 in his second youth match, also in St Lucia. His younger brother, Trevor Jackman, also represented QC in the early 1970's.

In 1974 the great West Indian all-rounder Sir Garfield Sobers visited Queen's College for a brief coaching stint. Unfortunately it rained incessantly and Garry could only chat with the students, without a single ball being bowled. He advised students to chose role models and study them carefully, and to learn from both their successes and failures.

The 1975 QC cricket team included: Terrence Agard, Victor Agard, Mr Keith Austin, Roger Boxhill, Raymond Patrick Brutus, Orin Gordon, Roger Harper, Tony McWatt, Nigel Rosheuvel, Mr Stanton Sheegobin, Osca Wailoo, Brian Woodroffe (captain).

In 1975, the year that girls started to attend QC, the school dropped out of the Northcote Cup competition, in the county intermediate division, and kept a single team in the Wight Cup second division competition. This was also the year that 12-year-old Roger Harper started attending QC. He started playing cricket for QC from First Form, which was very rare.

In 1976 Brian Woodroffe was the QC captain.

It has been reported that as many as six QC players represented Georgetown in the Inter-District cricket competition in 1977. That Georgetown team lost to East Coast in a match on the QC first ground (the one closest to the school building).

It has also been reported that there was a cricket tour by QC to a Barbados school in 1977. The QC team included the Charles brothers, Archer, Roger Harper and others. The Barbados school reportedly won handsomely!

In 1977 former QC students Roger Boxhill and Orin Gordon made their debut in the same match for the Guyana Under-19 team in the Benson & Hedges regional youth competition, in St Kitts. Gordon represented the Guyana youth team again the 1978 regional youth tournament in Barbados, and then made his first class debut for Demerara in 1981.

Boxhill represented the Guyana Under-19 team again, against Trinidad & Tobago, in the 1979 Benson & Hedges regional youth competition, in Guyana. Another QC student, Roger Harper, made his debut for the Guyana Under-19 team in this match.

Roger Harper went on to play for Demerara in 1979, the West Indies Under-19 team in 1980, the Guyana first class and List A teams in 1980 and the West Indies Test and One-Day  teams in 1983. After the end of his career in 1996 he coached the West Indies (in 2000) and Kenya (in 2005) teams, before becoming president of the Georgetown Cricket Association in 2010.

In 1979 QC student Garfield Charles made his debut as a pace bowler for the Guyana Under-19 team, in the regional youth competition in Guyana. He continued playing youth cricket for Guyana until 1982, after which he represented the senior Guyana team from 1983 to 1991. In 2012 he was a cricket coach in New Zealand.

In 1980 former QC student Roger Charles made his debut as a pace bowler for the Guyana Under-19 team, in the regional youth competition in Barbados. He represented the Guyana Under-19 team again the following year, in Guyana, in a single match against Barbados, at the Guyana Defence Force ground. He took 5 for 21 and his brother Garfield, who opened the bowling with him, took 4 for 39.

The 1980 QC cricket team included: Baichu, Garfield Charles, Roger Charles, Gansham Singh.

In 1985 the openers of the U16 team were Amegah Blackman and Rajesh Bisnauth and the openers on the U19 team was Amegah Blackman and Nigel Greaves. The 1985 QC Under-16 cricket team also included: S Ali, I Mohamed, B Mutuma, A Roopan, C Stewart and K Tai-O-Young. 

In 1985 former QC student Colwin Cort made his debut as a pace bowler for the Guyana Under-19 team, in the regional youth competition in Guyana. He continued representing the Guyana Under-19 team until 1987, after which he made his first class debut with Guyana senior team in 1991. He last represented Guyana in 1994.

A week after Colwin Cort made his debut, another former QC student, Neil Barry, made his debut as a wicketkeeper for the Guyana Under-19 team, in the 1985 regional youth competition in Guyana. He made a half century in his very first innings for the Guyana youth team. Neil Barry made his first class debut for Demerara in 1987 and first represented the senior Guyana team in 1992. He last played for Guyana in 1996.

In 1986 QC student Nigel Greaves made his debut for the Guyana Under-19 team as a middle-order batsman in the regional youth competition, in Trinidad. He played for the Guyana Under-19 team again in 1987, in the regional youth competition in Jamaica.

In 1996 QC student Lawrence Farnum made his debut as a middle order batsman for the Guyana Under-15 team in the Carib Cement Regional Under-15 Competition, in Trinidad & Tobago.

QC in the 21st Century, 2000 - Present

Cricket at QC in 2001 was revitalised with the refurbishing of the play-field, which was then used for the national Under-19 competition under the Guyana Cricket Board. Playing in Zone B of the competition under captain George Norton, QC beat Richard Ishmael Secondary School by 218 runs, Tutorial High School by 6 wickets and North Georgetown Secondary by a nail-biting 2 runs.

Boys and girls cricket teams participated in the All Star Inter-Schools Competition in 2001. The girls team, captained by Taijranie Rampersaud, emerged as champions. Several male cricketers played for clubs and they participated in trials for selection to the national Under-19 teams. These included: Antonel Atwell, Patrick Joseph, George Norton and Charles Ramson.

In early 2007 Queen's College participated in the Georgetown Cricket Association Under-19 40-overs competition.

The 2009 QC cricket team included: Neil Barry Jnr (captain), Carlyle Collins, Jimol Marks, Feaz Mustapha, Tejprakash Persaud, Javed Rasheed, Avion Rodrigues (wicketkeeper), and Sunil Rupee.

In February 2009 QC defeated Berbice High School (BHS) in the National Sports Commission (NSC)/Allied Arts Department 40-overs-a-side cricket match at the Providence Stadium. Scores: BHS 167 for 9 in 40 overs (Brandon Balkissoon 54, Kumar Brijlall 51, Feaz Mustapha 2-28). QC 168-5 in 39 overs (Sunil Rupee 57 not out, Feaz Mustapha 51).

The preliminary rounds of the 2009 inter-house cricket competition were played on the YMCA ground, across the street from QC, in September. Only four of the ten houses fielded teams. The others failed to show, completely or in insufficient numbers. A House defeated F House in the morning and H House defeated L House in the afternoon. The final, between A House and H House was scheduled for October.

The final of the inter-house competition started in September 2009 was played on 25 March 2010 on QC ground. The winner, A House, received the Asheeki Asgarally Memorial Cricket Trophy.

In July 2010, in an address to the QC Alumni Associations, Roger Harper expressed the view that schools like QC could play a big part in the revival of West Indies cricket, but the culture at QC and other schools that is heavily biased toward scholastic achievement only should be adjusted to produce a more balanced individual.

In 2012 Queen's College was raising funds to construct a new pavilion at an estimated cost of US$70k on its play-field. The school received a donation of US$15k from the Ministry of Culture, Youth & Sports towards this endeavor.