“Through his excellence on the cricket field, Sir Everton helped in a fundamental way to change Barbados for the better, forever, by proving that true excellence cannot be constrained by social barriers.”
– PM of Barbados Owen Arthur
Leaving school at 14 with no job, Weekes honed his cricketing and football skills on the streets of Barbados, before joining the army in 1943. Joining the army allowed him to play cricket at a higher level under the Barbados Cricket Association. It’s never been clear if it was his deliberate plan to further his sporting ambitions.
Weekes had a classic batting style, possessed a variety of shots on both sides of the wicket, and is considered one of the hardest hitters in cricket history. Sir Everton had a phenomenal international career scoring 4,235 runs in 46 tests, averaging 58.01 and scoring 14 centuries and 19 half centuries, he was the fastest in world to reach 1000 Test runs (shares the record with Herbert Sutcliffe) by achieving the feat in the 12th innings of his career, but more of this later.
His county cricket in England was spent at Bacup Cricket Club, Lancashire between 1948 and 1959. In the Lancashire leagues he was described as a devastating batsman scoring 25 centuries and passing 1,000 runs in each season. In the 1951 season he scored 1,518 for Bacup Cricket Club which remains a record to this day. When he first arrived in Bacup.
Weekes was greatly affected by the cold and took to wearing an army great coat everywhere, to the extent it became part of his League image. His homesickness for Barbados was tempered by his landlady’s potato pies and the presence of Frank Worrell and Clyde Walcott, they met up at Sir Everton’s home regularly to play jazz piano and sing. So revered was Sir Everton Weekes in Bacup, that the town council have proposed building a lasting memorial in his honour.
The THREE W’s
The term ‘Three W’s’ was coined by a British journalist during the 1950 West Indies tour of England. In that tour Weekes was in excellent form, scoring 338 runs at 56.33 and playing a significant part in the West Indies 3–1 victory in the Test series, as well as 2310 first-class runs at 79.65 (including five double centuries, a record for a West Indian tour of England). In 1951 Weekes was named ‘Wisden Cricketer of the Year’ for his outstanding performances.
The ‘Three W’s’, were of course himself, Sir Clyde Walcott and Sir Frank Worrell, all noted as the outstanding batsmen from Barbados of their time, who all made their Test debut in 1948 against England. The three were all born within seventeen months of each other and within a mile of Kensington Oval in Barbados and Walcott believed that the same midwife delivered each of them. Weekes first met Walcott in 1941, aged 16, when they were team mates in a trial match. They shared a room together when on tour and, along with Worrell, would go dancing together on Saturday nights after playing cricket.
His career showed a steely determination of pure cricketing genius and yet he was a humble gentle man, the statistics however are mind blowing.
He continued to play first-class cricket until 1964, when he surpassed 12,000 first-class runs in his final innings. He died on 1st July 2020. Barbados Today and the Guardian amongst other publications had heart warming obituaries for this cricket legend.