By Wade Kojo Williams, Sr.
‘F.O.’ at Arnos Vale
I was less than 10 years old when I first saw F.O. Mason bowl.
My father took me to a game played at the old Arnos Vale Cricket Field, which was located at the old racetrack, at the area where the Arnos Vale Methodist Church is now located.
After watching F.O. bowl, I decided there and then that I wanted to be a fast bowler. A few years later, I was a fast bowler on the Richmond Hill Government School Cricket Team. I got very little bowling, playing on the same team with the greats of SVG Primary School Cricket, Noel “Reds” Riffin and Sydney Sargent.
Later, having entered the Boys Grammar School, I got all the fast bowling I wanted as captain of Reeves House Juniors. I shared the new ball with Dempster “Candy” Veira.
Thanks to F.O. Mason, I went on to play for Reeves House Seniors (BGS), Regent Cricket Club (Calliaqua), Regional Police Training Centre (Barbados), Royal St. Vincent Police Force, Eagles Cricket Club (Winnipeg) and Manitoba Senior Provincial Cricket Team.
As an Auxiliary Police Officer, F.O. coached most of the bowlers around Kingstown.
F.O. takes 9 for 13 in 1962
The Windward Island Tournament was being played at the Victoria Park. On that eventful Friday, St. Vincent came up against Dominica. The members of the Richmond Hill Cricket Team were given time off (from school) to attend the game.
Dominican Schoolboy, Irvin Shillingford beat F.O. and the SVG attack (which included Manning Jackson, Arton Clouden, Dougie Cambridge, Brisbane and Sparrow Duncan). Shillingford scored 103.
The story goes that one of the sixes Shillingford hit off F.O. Mason, picked a breadfruit behind the hospital.
In the second innings, playing his last first class game, F.O. showed Irvin Shillingford who would have the last laugh. In a “terrorist” spell, F.O. and SVG routed Dominica for just 32 runs. The best fast bowler the West Indies team never had, took 9 for 13.
It is said that F.O. was edged out of the West Indies Team by Wesley Hall.
May our SVG sports icon rest peacefully.
Frank “F.O.” Mason died on May 08 at the age of 84.
Note: The views expressed herein are solely those of Wade Kojo Williams, Sr. and do not necessarily reflect the position of I-Witness News.