Cricket: Mr Hungry threatens Mr Happys: Well-rested England prepare to face hostile Leicester club legend

Click to follow
The Independent Online
ONE win and an honourable draw has made for a contented bunch of tourists, the one reservation being that they have yet to hide their smiles behind a gumshield and a visor. Less modest opposition now lies in wait, and for the opening first- class game against the Leeward Islands, starting here tomorrow, England should be in for their first taste of what the locals describe as 'sniffin' the leather'.

The Leewards will be without Richie Richardson, Curtly Ambrose and two Test match candidates for the back-up pace attack, Winston and Kenneth Benjamin. However, their 13-man squad does include a 29-year-old rated by many good judges, Andy Roberts among them, as the most slippery bowler in the Caribbean. Vaughn Walsh, no relation to Courtney, is an unconventional character, given to turning up for matches on the back of an old moped and who did not even make the Leewards team until 1992.

Walsh, who for reasons no one seems able to pin down, goes by the nickname of 'Hungry', attracted two counties four years ago, largely through the number of doctors' notes batsmen in the Leicestershire League began producing when they spotted his name on the opposition team sheet.

In one local cup match in 1991 at the Dog and Gun ground just outside Leicester, Walsh took nine wickets for two runs (both no balls), eight bowled and one lbw, and was only deprived of all 10 when the visiting No 11 decided that he would much rather remain in the pavilion, thanks all the same.

Leicestershire expressed an interest, despite having Winston Benjamin on their books as their overseas player, and Somerset persuaded him to play against Sri Lanka. However, Walsh ultimately decided to play for his club team in Leicester instead.

Walsh is also unusual in that he generates his pace from a frame that is only 5ft 8in and 11st. He also prefers to pitch the ball up, while his short deliveries, like Malcolm Marshall's, tend to skid through at the rib cage rather than rear up at the helmet.

The Leewards squad also includes Hamesh Anthony, who had a spell with Glamorgan a few years back, and took five wickets - albeit at almost as exorbitant an expense as a round of drinks at one of Antigua's beach bars - when England opened the tour here.

John Maynard, who played in the second game in St Kitts, is also in the 13, although 'The Dentist', as he is known for causing batsmen to pop their teeth into a bedside glass, did not quite live up to his reputation. England will not lose too much sleep if they run into him again.

England, who name their team today, enjoyed another day on the beach yesterday - their fourth in a fortnight. If this seems a trifle excessive, it is worth remembering that at this stage last winter they had not had a single day off, and much good it did them.

LEEWARD ISLANDS (v England, tomorrow): (from) K L T Arthurton (capt), S C Williams, L A Harrigan, C Walwyn, D A Joseph, A Anderherbert, R D Jacobs (wkt), H Williams, L L Weekes, J C Maynard, H A G Anthony, V A Walsh, W P Phillip.

England's straight A, page 34

Comments