Middlesex and England bowler
Monday 03 April 2006
Neil Fitzgerald Williams, cricketer: born Hopewell, St Vincent 2 July 1962; (one son with Valdene Parris; one son with Camille Shallow); died Kingstown, St Vincent 27 March 2006.
Neil Williams, whose death at 43 from pneumonia came as a sad surprise to the cricket world, was one of those able Caribbean cricketers of English birth or upbringing who changed the championship from 25 years ago. Northern counties who had benefited from the stream of ambitious youngsters escaping the mills and mines found these sources drying up, while the South-East grew immensely stronger from the talent emerging in London's ethnic minorities.
Born in St Vincent in 1962, Williams, not the tallest nor the fastest of the many West Indian fast bowlers then around, came to England as a 13-year-old, joined MCC Young Professionals from Hornsey and graduated into a Middlesex team along with Roland Butcher, Wilf Slack and Norman Cowans, all with similar backgrounds. His 479 wickets in a 12-year career with the county was a valuable contribution to four championship-winning Middlesex teams.
Neil Williams was an accurate right-arm bowler, with a dangerous faster ball and late outswing, and a useful lower-order batsman. He took 63 wickets at an average of 26.33 in 1982 and was capped the following year. In 1990, when Chris Lewis was a late withdrawal, he played in his one Test match for England, against India at the Oval, and although his figures read 2-148 he was proud that his victims were Sachin Tendulkar and Mohammad Azharuddin and that he contributed 38 runs as a nightwatchman.
But "Nelly" will be best remembered for his flowing run-up, his gentle courtesy and his religious beliefs. He was immensely popular, "always giving his absolute best", in the words of Mike Brearley, his captain at Middlesex. He also played for Windward Islands and for Essex later in his career, and was coach to the St Vincent Academy for Kids when he died.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 2 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
- 3 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week
Instagram of US airport security chiefs: Lipstick knives and IED training kits among items seized
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber reach almost £154,000 on eBay
Israel-Gaza crisis: Eight killed in Gaza Strip cafe while watching World Cup semi-final
Supermoon 2014: When and why will the moon look bigger and brighter this summer?
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories
£50000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...
competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a FTSE 100 organisation are u...
£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...