March 31, 2006


Former Vincentian, Windwards, Middlesex and England fast bowler Neil Williams died last Monday afternoon at the age of 43 after being in a state of unconsciousness since February 23.

The Vincentian-born cricketer was a swing bowler of some repute, but his all-round qualities were well defined. He played at the highest level, one test Match against India in 1990. He was a formidable lower order batsman and represented the Windwards in some glorious and epic encounters. {{more}}His impact was profound. He lived by example and hardly looked for personal popularity. He preferred to be out doing what he thought was necessary and that was working with the youngsters.

Williams since returning home distinguished himself as one of the leading coaches in the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Academy.

He was also a regular contributor to SEARCHLIGHT’S On Target Column.

Plans are being finalised for Williams’ interment next week Saturday. The cricket fraternity, sporting and civic sections have expressed condolences to Williams’s family. Lennox John, Vincentian and regional cricket administrator, described Williams as “very cool, calm and approachable.”

Tributes to Williams flowed immediately upon news of his passing. Tourism, Youth and Sports Minister Glen Beache endorsed Williams’s qualities when he spoke at the unveiling of the OECS sports calendar 2006.

Beache spoke of concern for Williams’ welfare shown by his former Middlesex colleague Desmond Haynes. Beache had just returned from Melbourne, Australia where the Commonwealth Games were staged.

Williams’ death brings to mind Vincentian left-handed batsman Wilfred Slack who also played for Middlesex. Slack died on an African tour in 1989.

Searchlight extends sincere condolences to his family.