Bermuda mourns death of former cricket captain Brown

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HAMILTON, Bermuda, Jan 19 (CMC) — Gladstone Brown, a former Bermuda cricket captain who was also an outstanding footballer, has died following a recent illness. He was 73.

Brown, known by his nickname of “Sad”, was Bermuda’s first ICC Trophy Tournament captain in 1979, when he led the island to the semi-finals of the inaugural tournament in England.

He was a forward for Young Men’s Social Club, one of the island’s top football teams during the 1960s, when they won three-straight league titles.

Winston Trott, who played football with Brown at Young Men’s Social Club, cricket with him at Devonshire Recreation Club and also for both the Somerset Cup Match team and Bermuda, was saddened to hear of Brown’s passing.

“As a cricket captain, he set his standards pretty high, as far as how it should be done and why it should be done this way or that way. He was a good team player,” Trott told the Royal Gazette newspaper.

“I had been visiting him but there wasn’t a whole lot we could do, just make sure he was comfortable and let him know we were thinking about him at all times.”

Trott opened the bowling while Brown opened the batting in the various teams they played for. Brown led from the front as Bermuda finished top of their group in the 1979 ICC Trophy, then a 60-overs competition, against East Africa, Argentina, Papua New Guinea and Singapore to reach the last four.

In the semi-final, when reaching the final would have guaranteed a place in the World Cup against the Test-playing teams, Bermuda suffered their only loss of the tournament, making 181, with Brown the second-highest scorer with 34, before losing to Canada by four wickets.

Bermuda, then led by Barbadian Colin Blades, reached the final of the next Trophy tournament in 1982, again held in England, but with Sri Lanka now a Test-playing country, only the winner advanced to the World Cup.

Although Bermuda did eventually reach the 2007 World Cup staged in the Caribbean, Zimbabwe dashed their hopes in the 1982 Trophy final by overhauling the 231 for eight posted by Bermuda, led by Brown’s team-high score of 48, Zimbabwe winning by five wickets.

Earlier, Brown scored the tournament’s first century when he finished with 100 in an opening stand of 211 with Winston Reid, a Barbadian who made 128 that day against Malaysia as Bermuda piled up 348 for nine. They then dismissed Malaysia for a paltry 64, with fast bowler El James taking five for two in 7.1 overs.

“Reid was usually the faster scorer but ‘Sad’ got his century first,” Trott told the Gazette. “We had a team meeting, it was a little heated, and the next day Reid and ‘Sad’ opened up and ‘Sad’ got to his century first, which was unusual because he was the anchor man.”

The friendship between Brown and Reid continued into retirement when Brown, who later owned his own taxi, would often visit Reid at his upholstery shop in Somerset.

“We would talk cricket, about the national team,” Reid, who moved to Bermuda in 1974, said. “He was passionate about the national team. He loved cricket and wanted to see Bermuda cricket move forward.”

Brown scored a total of 206 runs in 11 innings in Cup Match, Bermuda’s premier annual domestic fixture between Somerset and St George’s, between 1969 and 1983. He produced more notable performances in the Central Counties Cup, scoring 153 not out in a match in 1984 after sharing in an eighth-wicket stand of 284 with Arnold West.

Brown later served as a cricket administrator, including being first vice-president of the Bermuda Cricket Board of Control (now the Bermuda Cricket Board) in 1997 when fast bowler James was elected president. Brown also served as chairman of the BCBC disciplinary committee and treasurer in 1999.

Paying tribute, current board president Lloyd Smith said: “It is a very sad day as we mourn the passing of Gladstone ‘Sad’ Brown, a legend in the local cricket fraternity. ‘Sad’ played a huge role in the development of our great sport, on the field as a player and off the field as an administrator.”

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