Cricket icon passes
November 26, 2010
Cricket icon passes

Local cricket icon Frank Gilbert “Frankie” Thomas will be laid to rest today, Friday, November 26, at the Kingstown Cemetery, following a funeral service at Kingstown Methodist Church starting at 3p.m.{{more}}

A servant of cricket to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Windward Islands and West Indies cricket, Thomas died at his Cane Garden home at the age of 86 last Sunday.

Born in Barbados, Thomas piloted the effort to establish the Arnos Vale Sports Complex, this country’s only international cricket venue.

Thomas came to this country in 1946 as Captain of the YMCA Team on a tour to play cricket, football, and table tennis. He was summoned by then Administrator Ronald Garvey, who met him at a cricket match and offered him a job here in the Public Service and to assist with coaching cricket.

As a public servant, Thomas moved through the ranks and held substantives posts of Cabinet Secretary and Chief Personnel Officer.

In his early cricket life, Thomas was a member of the Combermere School Cricket team, which had won the Barbados Cricket Association First Division Cup in 1940 -41. This is the only time ever that a school team has won that competition.

Also a member of that team was the famous Sir Frank Worrell, who went on to play for Barbados and the West Indies.

Thomas played at school, club level and for Barbados with Worrell (part of the famed three “Ws”), which also included Sir Everton Weeks and Clyde Walcott. He remained close with Sir Everton up to the time of his death.

In 1947, Thomas became a member of the St. Vincent Cricket Association selection panel.

Two years later, Thomas was selected to the St. Vincent National Football Team for the Popham tournament, but later gave up football to focus on cricket.

Thomas represented his adopted homeland, and played in Cork Cup tournament in Dominica and became a member of the Windwards/Leewards team to then British Guiana as Vice Captain and wicket-keeper.

In 1949, Thomas moved up to be Vice Captain of the St. Vincent Cricket team.

He served the SVG cricket Association in the capacities of Secretary and Vice President between 1951 and 1977.

He was a West Indies Cricket team selector from 1967 to 1974, and was the West Indies Team Manager in 1977.

Local cricket sports commentator and long standing cricket administrator Lennox John told SEARCHLIGHT that he remembered Thomas as a “very unassuming individual, very humble, and one who was never showy nor pushed himself in the limelight.”

“He had a very good cricket brain, and was a very knowledgeable cricketer and an excellent captain,” John said of Thomas.

John, highlighting the humility of Thomas, recalled an occasion in a cricket match in Grenada when Thomas, as captain of the St. Vincent team, dropped himself, as he felt that another member of the team was in better form than he was.

President of the West Indies Cricket Board, Julian Hunte, sent condolences to Thomas’ family.

Hunte wrote: “ Frankie Thomas was a soft spoken gentleman, but a leading figure in Windward Islands cricket, he worked tirelessly to ensure that the Windward Islands featured prominently in West Indies cricket and he leaves a rich legacy for us to build on.”

For edificial memory for the cricket icon’s contribution to sports here, the Frank Thomas Pavilion at the Arnos Vale Sports Complex was named in his honour in 1994.

Thomas was also awarded the OBE for services to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

He is survived by widow, Annelle Thomas and their three children, Alana, Bernard and Alison.(RT)