Sir Everton Weekes, a much-loved cricketer, died at his home in Christ Church, Barbados, on July 1 after suffering a heart attack in June. He was the last survivor of the “Three Ws” of West Indies cricket, alongside the greats Sir Clyde Walcott and Sir Frank Worrell. This formidable trio, all Barbadians, were contemporaries and were knighted for their contribution to the sport.
A powerful hitting right-handed hitter, Weekes made his test debut several weeks after Walcott and Warrell in 1948. Together they were part of the West Indies first team to win a test match in England in 1950. It was an important milestone for the Cricket fans in the region and sparked joyous victory celebrations among the relatively small West Indian population of London.
The Cricket West Indies team tweeted their condolences on Sir Everton's passing:
Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of an icon. A legend, our hero, Sir Everton Weekes. Our condolences go out to his family, friends and many fans around the world. May he rest in peace. 🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/RnwoJkhjPd
– Windies Cricket (@windiescricket) July 1, 2020
Our hearts ache, we mourn the loss of an icon. A legend, our hero, Sir Everton Weekes. Our condolences to his family, friends and the many fans around the world. Rest in peace. 🙏🏽
The West Indies Players Association also mourned his death:
WIPA extends sincere condolences at the passing of Sir Everton Weekes. We salute a great West Indies icon; Sir Everton made an invaluable contribution to the sport, his country and the region, we were blessed to have him among us, may his soul rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/T6EDBxhVgo
– WIPA (@wiplayers) July 1, 2020
WIPA expresses its sincere condolences on the death of Sir Everton Weekes. We say goodbye to a great icon of the West Indies; Sir Everton made an invaluable contribution to sport, his country and the region. We were blessed to have him among us, may his soul rest in peace.
Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley called Weekes a “legend of the game (…) who made cricket a sport for men” and a “citizen of the world with Bahamian roots.” On a personal note, he added, “For me, he was one of the most brilliant men, with unmatched expressions and sense of humor.”
With his “it can be done” spirit, Weekes was a great inspiration in Barbados and throughout the region. He was born on February 26, 1925 to a poor family in Bridgetown, Barbados. His home was in Pickwick Gap, near what is now the Kensigton Oval Cricket Ground.
He dropped out of school at age 14 and served in the Barbados Defense Force from 1943 to 1947, and had the opportunity to play cricket at the club level. At the age of 22 he was selected to play for the West Indies club against a visiting team from England. This match was the beginning of his extraordinary career: not only did he score a hundred runs in this match, but he went on to hit four hundred more consecutive games in Delhi, Bombay and Calcutta, India that same year.
Weekes' record of five consecutive hundreds remains intact to date.
An Australian sports blog noted that Weekes achieved that excellence despite the challenges black cricket players faced during the 1940s and 1950s:
Due to the era in which I played, his career was affected by a racial controversy. Weekes, despite his greatness as a cricketer and man, never captained West Indies. (George) Headley became the team's first black captain for one test in 1948 but it was not until Worrell in 1960 that West Indies appointed their second non-white skipper; after Weekes ’career had ended. Sir Everton bore the injustice with typical good grace.
Due to the time in which he played, his career was affected by racial controversy. Weekes, despite his greatness as a cricketer and as a person, never captained the West Indies. (George) Handley became the team's first black captain in a test in 1948, but it was only in 1960, when Worrell named his second non-white captain, after Weekes' career ended. Sir Everton endured injustice with his typical good will.
Eleven years after his sensational mark of hundreds in 1947, Weekes retired with a thigh injury but continued to play first-class cricket until 1964. He became an excellent coach in Barbados and coached the Canadian team at the World Cup in 1979 while serving as executive of the Barbados Cricket Association. In 1994 he was named as a benchmark by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and in 2008 he was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame. He was knighted in 1995, when he was also awarded the Barbados Gold Merit Crown and received the country's highest honor, Knight of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (KCMG in English).
Former Australian cricket captain Ian Chappell recalled Weekes (who later became a bridge champion) and his “peculiar sense of humor”:
It was sad to hear of Everton's passing at age 95, but he wouldn't abide any long faces. Everton Weekes was a great Barbados champion who epitomized living life to the full.
It was sad to hear of Everton's passing at age 95, but he couldn't stand long faces. Everton Weekes was a great champion of Barbados who personified life to the fullest.
The cricket blog ReadScoops also paid tribute to him:
It’s been a tough time for cricket fans across the world because you know that there hasn’t been any sporting action taking place. To make matters worse (…) one of the legends of the game of cricket is no longer with us (…) Caribbean iconic cricketer, Sir Everton Weekes.
48 test matches for West Indies saw him scoring 4,000+ test runs at the highest level which included 15 centuries and of course, 1 international wicket as well. His international career was a long one which spanned between Jan 1948 to March 1958, inspiring thousands and contributing much to the rise of cricket in the West Indies.
It has been a difficult time for cricket fans around the world as it has not been possible to hold any sporting activity. To make matters worse (…) one of the legends of cricket is no longer with us (…) the Caribbean icon of cricket, Sir Everton Weekes.
In 48 test matches with the West Indies, he scored over 4,000 test runs at the highest level including 15 hundreds and also an international wicket. His international career was long and ran from January 1948 to March 1958, inspiring thousands of people and greatly contributing to the rise of cricket in the West Indies.
Online tributes abounded from countries where cricket is played. A New Delhi blogger tweeted:
Cricket world has lost an icon and the West Indies a true champion. Long live the legend of Sir #EvertonWeekes
– caught @ point (@ caughtatpoint17) July 1, 2020
The world of cricket has lost an icon and the West Indies a true champion. Long live the legend of Sir Everton Weekes.
Another Indian cricket blogger claimed that Weekes' passing is the end of an era:
END OF AN ERA
Everton Weekes the first & only batsman to score 5 Test Hundreds in 5 consecutive inngs – passed away at the age of 95.
– YESCric (@YesCricNow) July 1, 2020
END OF A TIME
Everton Weekes, the first and only hitter to score five hundred tests in five consecutive innings, passed away at age 95.
141 against England, Kingston 1948
128 vs. India, Delhi 1948
194 against India, Bombay 1948
162 and 101 against India, Calcutta 1949
Everton Weekes. Cricket.
Weekes played for Bacup in the Lancashire League of Great Britain for seven seasons, beginning in 1949. On its official website, the League published:
Sir Everton was regarded as the finest batsman to play in the Lancashire League. Speaking to Paul Yates in 2010, the late Ken Barnes recalled playing against Sir Everton:
‘He was the typical swashbuckling West Indian batsman. Allow him to get his eye in and the match was over. But he was so entertaining and such a gifted crowd pleaser that he would always give you a chance of taking his wicket due to his aggression and risk taking. ’
Sir Everton was considered the best hitter in the Lancashire League. In conversation with Paul Yates in 2010, the late Ken Barnes recalled playing against Sir Everton:
“He was the typical West Indies hitter. I allowed him to participate and the match ended. But he was so entertaining and so gifted at pleasing the crowd that he always gave you a chance to take his wicket because of his aggressiveness and taking risks. ”
Meanwhile, the University of Sheffield commemorated Weekes with a photograph of the “Three W” statue:
– From Pitch to Plinth (@SportingStatues) July 1, 2020
Everton Weekes, QEPD. One of the best hitters in the West Indies. Here with the other two Ws, Clyde Walcott and Frank Worrell.
The statue is in the park across from the 3W Oval, the cricket ground dedicated to the trio, on the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies in Barbados. This is where Worrell and Walcott are buried. In an interview with the English newspaper Telegraph, Weekes joked:
I'm the only person on Earth who knows, to an inch, where he is going to be buried.
I am the only person on Earth who knows where they will bury him.
The Australian cricket network posted on Facebook:
Worrell and Walcott are buried alongside each other at the Three Ws Oval in Barbados and while there is no confirmation yet about Weekes ’final resting place, there is a vacant plot for the third member of the trio, should his family wish.
Worrell and Walcott are burying together at the Three Ws Oval in Barbados, and while there is still no confirmation on Weekes' place of eternal rest, there is an empty spot for the third member of the trio, if their family wishes.
In his obituary, the late Cricket commentator Tony Cozier mentioned the legacy of the “Three Ws”:
In the fading days of British colonialism, all three broke the long-standing racial barrier of a sport always held as a badge of excellence by the islands of the cricketing Caribbean.
In the last days of British colonialism, all three broke the ancient racial barrier of a sport that the Caribbean islands of cricket have always regarded as a badge of excellence.
Quite appropriately, when the West Indies cricket team plays three games in England in July, the team, with Barbadian Jason Holder as captain, will wear Black Lives Matter logos on their game jersey.