By Stan Walker
One of cricket’s best-known umpires Stephen Anthony Bucknor, OJ, born May 31, 1946 in Montego Bay, Jamaica, tops this year’s Cricket Hall of Fame’s class of inductees. Bucknor the most experienced umpire in International Cricket Council’s elite panel until his retirement in 2009, has officiated in a record 128 Test matches between 1989 and 2009, and 181 One Day Internationals during this period, including five consecutive Cricket World Cup finals from 1992 to 2007.
He will be inducted along with six other individuals: Clement “Busta” Lawrence (posthumously), Earl Daley, Cliff Roye, Clement Thompson, Charles Simpson and Syed Balkhi at the annual Induction Ceremony which will be held at Hartford’s Sheraton Hotel, Windsor Locks, Connecticut, on Saturday, October 7. Bucknor was also a FIFA referee in World Cup soccer qualifiers.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Daley, a former U.S. player who has a lot of playing and coaching experience, had established himself as a top class cricketer before migrating to the U.S. While in Jamaica, he played Senior Cup for the St. Catherine and Melbourne cricket clubs. At that time, he was the only opening batsman and bowler in any of the competitions’ teams in the country.
He also was involved in the highest runs partnership, 313 runs, with Errol Brown, while representing Jamaica in the national Red Stripe sponsored tournament which was held in the West Indies several years ago. The record still stands.
Lawrence who was born in Mountainside, St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, got involved with the game at an early age. Because of his outstanding ability that he showed while playing the game, he was elevated to the captaincy of his school teams. At the age of 16, “Busta” as he was affectionately called was selected to represent his parish St Elizabeth in one of the top cricket tournaments held in the island at that time, the Nethersole Cup Parish Competition.
Cliff Roye’s love for cricket began at the early age of five in his parent’s garage with his older brothers. Cricket was his number one sport throughout his school days in Jamaica. After graduating from school, he joined the Jamaica Defense Force (JDF) and began playing in the Junior Cup competition. In 1988, he started playing Senior Cup for the JDF and in his first game made 198 runs, the highest individual score ever made by any player for that year, earning him the “Ken Weeks” Cup.
In December 1991, Roye migrated to the USA. In 1992 he joined the Westbury Cricket Club under the leadership of the late Roy Sweeney. His contributions to the team led to the club winning the Busta Lawrence Trophy that year. Roye’s journey at Westbury lasted for 17 years where he was instrumental in the team winning 11 championships. He held the Metropolitan Cricket League’s (MCL) record for making three consecutive centuries until 2016.
Ever since arriving in New York, Thompson has always been a visible presence on the cricket scene as a player, coach, selector, manager and volunteer. Along the way, he acquired two coaching certificates: a Coaching Certificate Course in England in 1981 and a Level 2 Certificate Course in 2013. Because of his coaching skills, he was a Selector and Coach for the New York Cricket Region for seven years. He was the Selector/Coach for the Metropolitan Giants Cricket team to the US cricket Open in Fort Lauderdale for two years.
A lifelong sports aficionado, Simpson joined the Jamaica Defense Force (JDF) in 1963. Prior to that, he was already chalking up notice as an outstanding all-round athlete and sportsman. In fact, he represented Jamaica as the goalkeeper in its Under-19 team. For over 40 years, Simpson has been associated with New York Metropolitan Cricket League as a player, captain, umpire, administrator, winner of MVP awards, and comeback player of the year after a serious back injury. He is regarded by many as one of the finest all-round player to ever play in the New York Metropolitan Cricket League.
Cricket Promoter and Adviser at Cricket Council USA, Syed Balkhi, is an award winning entrepreneur with a die-hard passion for cricket. Born in Karachi, Pakistan, Syed was exposed to cricket from the very early days. He participated in his schools’ cricket teams since age six and played in several local tournaments.
At age 12, Syed’s family migrated to United States. His passion for cricket led him to join the South Florida Cricket League where he played as a right arm fast bowler throughout high school. At the end of high school, Syed gave up playing cricket and went on to pursue his career at University of Florida where he started one of his many software companies. Today his software is used on over 2 million websites serving billions of impressions monthly.