He’ll be listening: Long-time cricket commentator Jim Woolridge has an injury and his doctors have advised him to sit out this Cup Match by he will tune into VSB 1450 Gold to hear Sean Tucker and Mike Sharpe broadcast the game. *Photo by Nicola Muirhead
He’ll be listening: Long-time cricket commentator Jim Woolridge has an injury and his doctors have advised him to sit out this Cup Match by he will tune into VSB 1450 Gold to hear Sean Tucker and Mike Sharpe broadcast the game. *Photo by Nicola Muirhead
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The “voice of summer” has had to give up his seat in the commentator’s box — but CV Jim Woolridge will be glued to the TV as St George’s take on Somerset in this year’s Cup Match.

Mr Woolridge has notched up more than 50 years in the commentators’ hot seat for the big game — but an injury and hospital treatment has ruled him out for this year’s game.

He said: “I had a little mishap and I’ve been advised by doctors to forego this one. This would have been my 52nd year. “You miss something like that — it’s a part of my blood.”

Mr Wooldridge, 86, a former MP and Minister for the UBP, added he played his first match for the Eastern Counties at just 15-years-old and had been a firm supporter of the game ever since.

He said: “It is, without a doubt, the greatest character building sport there is and I would urge youngsters to become an integral part of it.”

He added: “There are so many people who look forward to it — but there are a lot of people who can’t get out and look forward to having it brought into their homes.

“I’ve been very thankful to able to cover it and bring into the homes of the sick and the shut-in.”

Mr Woolridge said he had too many memories of his 51 years commentating on the big game to pick out special moments.

But he singled out a handful of players as providing some of the best moments of his time watching the match, which dates back more than 100 years.

Mr Woolridge said Nigel “Chopper” Hazel, who hit his peak in the 1940s through 60s for St George’s, Alma “Champ” Hunt, who played between the 1920s through 1940s and represented Somerset, Lloyd James, who played his best cricket in the early 60s for St George’s and Clarence Parfitt, the bowling sensation who played for St George’s from the 60s to the 80s.

Mr Woolridge said: “I saw Nigel Hazel make 99 down at the St George’s Cricket Club, while Alma Hunt and his entire family were all outstanding cricketers. Lloyd James batted 173 one year, which was a record that stood for decades and the great Clarence Parfitt, who is now coaching in Scotland, performed some spectacular bowling feats — he was like a wizard with the ball.”

Wonderful

He added: “I remember the wonderful atmosphere — everybody seems to be in a very festive and happy mood.

“When you back to the historical aspects, it celebrates two significant parts of our history – the founding of Bermuda by Admiral Sir George Somers and the elimination of slavery.

“These are two days which should be paramount in the minds of people when they are going off to enjoy themselves.” 

 



On the mic with Mike

 

Broadcaster Mike Sharpe said he was “honoured” to be asked to step in as a Cup Match commentator after veteran CV Jim Woolridge had to pull out due to illness. Mr Sharpe will partner with Sean Tucker and cricket veteran Arnold Manders on VSB 1450 Gold

Mr Sharpe, himself a runner and former Olympian, said: “I’m honoured that he came to me after a few of the people he worked with weren’t available and he said ‘Mike, help me out.’

“I really was honoured — I said ‘Uncle James, you know I’ll do it for you.’ I’m just keeping the seat warm for him.”

Mr Sharpe, a veteran broadcaster with around 35 years’ experience under his belt – was a noted runner and represented Bermuda at the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics.

Mr Woolridge — known as “the Voice of Summer” — was forced to pull out the biggest sporting event in the Bermuda calendar due to a recent injury.

The 86-year-old cricket fan, who played his first major match for Eastern Counties aged just 15, has commentated on the annual tussle between east and west for more than 50 years.

Mr Sharpe added that the game promised to be an interesting contest between youth and experience.

He said: “We have got the same 2012 team from Somerset up against youth. St George’s is bringing a youth team to try and change things up.”