National team coach Arnold Manders, left, and St George’s Cup Match batting legend Charlie Marshall, right, paid tribute. *File photos
National team coach Arnold Manders, left, and St George’s Cup Match batting legend Charlie Marshall, right, paid tribute. *File photos

Tributes were paid to Somerset Cup Match hero Anthony ‘Pacer’ Edwards yesterday after it was confirmed the former fast bowler had succumbed to his injuries following a motorcycle crash 12 days ago.

Former Bermuda and Devonshire Recreation Club player Edwards, 51, was described as a ‘warrior’ and a ‘ferocious’ competitor, who struck fear into batsmen on the island and abroad.

He had been in a critical condition in hospital since his motorcycle collided with an open-back intermediate truck that was exiting Marley Beach Drive in Southampton on February 6 at 3pm.

‘Pacer’, as he was affectionately known, who arrived on the island from Jamaica at the age of nine, caught the eye as a key member of the Bermuda Under-19 team that won the International Youth Tournament in Canada in 1979.

He went on to enjoy a distinguished career with Bermuda and was part of the team that came within a game of reaching the 1996 World Cup. Current national team coach Arnold Manders, whose brother and Edwards were good friends, was a regular team-mate and adversary on the field.

He told the Bermuda Sun: “He was one of the best strike bowlers and one of the best bowlers I have ever played with.

“I’m sad to hear it [the news] – he was a warrior. We could do with one of him in the national team right now, a couple of him and we would be fine.”

He added: “He always had a strong will to win. He was an excellent cricketer and he did Bermuda proud whenever he put on the colours.

“I remember the first game we played against Fiji in the ICC tournament — he took six wickets, we had seven [men] back, it was like the West Indies in the old days, the wicket keeper was catching the ball above his head. He was ferocious, particularly that tournament in 1986.”

Manders, who played Cup Match for St George’s said he ‘loved’ facing him, knowing ‘you had to have your big game on’ to deal with his pace and competitiveness.

That match against Fiji in Shropshire, England, though, sticks in the now-coach’s mind.

“If I had to remember one thing it would be that game against Fiji. I felt sorry for the Fiji batsmen. It was brutal. 

“Along with his best friend Terry Burgess — they were the best quick bowling partnership. They enjoyed those green tops in England.

“It was nice to stand back in the slips and hope the ball wouldn’t come near you because it was coming too fast! 

“As a captain, that was very, very pleasing.”

St George’s Cup Match batting legend Charlie Marshall was Edwards’ captain during that memorable 1979 youth tournament in Toronto.

Marshall told the Bermuda Sun: “My knowledge of ‘Pacer’ was that when I was captain he was one of my favourite bowlers, one of the bowlers that if the team was in trouble, could always get us out.

He added: “Most batsman didn’t want to face him because he was very quick.

“He just didn’t want to lose  —if he could get 10/11 wickets and win he was happy, that was his attitude.”

Marshall said Edwards, along with many others, was ‘hurt’ by not fulfilling his ambition of playing in the World Cup, with the qualifying competition in Kenya ending in defeat to UAE that cost Bermuda a spot in the 1996 finals.

Along with Manders, Marshall also fondly remembered Edwards’ friendship and lethal bowling partnership with Terry Burgess.

Marshall said: “They were aggressive bowlers. That was what batsmen feared. They wanted to win and they played cricket to win.”

He added: “I just mainly spent time with him during our cricket times. I thought he was a cool guy, a very positive guy to be around. I saw him just three days before his accident – we always talked about cricket.”

President of the Bermuda Cricket Board, Lloyd Fray, said: “Anthony ‘Pacer’ Edwards was a well respected and kind hearted man who always played cricket with true sportsmanship. 

“He was an outstanding fast bowler who represented Bermuda with pride and passion.

“His love for the game was always visible and he will be greatly missed. The BCB extends its sincerest condolences to his family and friends at this difficult time."

A Police spokesman said that Edwards is the third road traffic fatality this year and added: "Any witnesses to this collision or anyone who may have information as to the whereabouts of Mr Edwards prior to the collision is asked to contact Acting Sergeant Hassel at 247-1200 or alternatively on his e-mail: shassell@bps.bm

“The Bermuda Police Service would like to express our sincere condolences to the family and friends of the deceased.”