By Orin Davidson
The year was 1984, the ground – Albion Sports Complex and the Guyana opening batting pair ended up pulverizing the Leeward Islands bowling attack for a mammoth 202-run first innings partnership.
Clayton Lambert remembers how much inspiration he gained from his partner Andrew Lyght in the record stand at Shell Shield level.
“Andy Roberts (West Indies fast bowling great) was in the Leewards attack, but Andrew Lyght was a giant in giving anyone confidence, and I went on to make 123 (runs) and he made 95,” Lambert remembers.
Roberts went wicket-less in the innings and it led to the beginning of the end of the pace ace’s first class career.
Lambert went on to play Test cricket for the West Indies, unlike Lyght who the former describes as the best West Indian opener never to win a maroon cap.
Milton Pydanna, who played for Guyana in game in Berbice, agrees that Lyght was good as any West Indian opener outside of Desmond Haynes and Gordon Greenidge, at the time.
So when it was decided to stage two memorial matches in Guyana in Lyght’s honor by the New York-based Friends of Former Guyana Cricketers (FFGC), for Lyght, who died at the relative young age of 44 years old 11 years ago, Lambert and Pydanna had no hesitation getting on board.
They are among a group of star-studded ex Guyana players who will invade “The Land Of Many Waters” from the United States for two Twenty/20 games this weekend to honor the career of Lyght.
Apart from Lambert and Pydanna who also played for West Indies, the FFGC squad includes Faoud Bacchus, another ex-West Indies star, and a collection of established Guyana national team members and club regulars.
“I feel duty- bound to do this (the games) for Andrew,” stated Lambert who described his ex opening partner as a fearless, tough player who never shirked a challenge.
“I used to room with him (Lyght) and every morning at 6 (am), I woke up to the sound of his batting tapping the floor. He was up that early preparing for the game by shadow- batting,” related Lambert. “He was the type of player who would always bat first if he had the chance, regardless of what the conditions were, good or bad”.
All of the players representing the FFGC’s group in the two games are currently based in America. Neither Lambert or Pydanna remembers, off the top of their heads, their last competitive games in Guyana, but they now have one common desire – to be in Guyana for the two Andrew Lyght Memorial games.
Pydanna, who played three One Day Internationals for West Indies in Pakistan and India and is considered Guyana’s most skillful wicketkeeper, said the gesture for Lyght is fully justified and he is doing whatever it takes to play. “I had a cortisone injection today (Tuesday) for my knee to be ready and fit for Saturday,” he said stressing the importance of being present.
Deryck Kallicharran, Ray Joseph, Tyrone Etwaroo and Amarnauth Ramcharitar are the other ex- national players in the group. William Whyte, Victor Benjamin, Eyon Grant, Godfrey Edwards, Selwyn Smith and Nigel Harper, top Case Cup club players in the 1970s are also making the trip. Kallicharran, President of the FFGC, said the gesture for Lyght, was in the works for more than one year, pointing out that the objective of the organization is to recognize the contributions of ex national players.
The first match is scheduled for Saturday when the FFGC team takes on a select Demerara Cricket Club team at DCC, and it will be part of the latter club’s 100th anniversary celebrations.
The other game is set for Sunday where the visitors will take on a special Everest XI at Camp Road.
Following the DCC game, the FFGC will present a plaque and monetary donations to Lyght’s son Andrew Lyght Jr and his daughter Andrea.
The touring party is completed by Safraz Ally, Hafiz Ali, Lyle Wilson, Jerry Persaud, Syed Mohammed, Wazir Khan and Jai Sharma.