Springer pays tribute to late Spartan head groundsman Wayne Hunte

Barbados Cricket Association article.

Bridgetown, Barbados - Following is a tribute by BCA Director of Coaching and Barbados coach Henderson Springer on the passing of former Spartan Club head groundsman Wayne Hunte, who died on May 21 at the age of 48 after an illness. Hunte's funeral is on Thursday, May 30.

I first met Wayne in my debut season at Spartan Club way back in May 1983. He was a joiner in Chelsea Road and the able assistant to 'Brath' the then head groundsman at the club. 

We quickly became friends, probably because we were of a similar age with a similar love for Spartan. In time our careers paralleled each other. 

Wayne became head groundsman after 'Brath' passed away and remained in that position for many successful years until illness made it difficult for him to perform his duties effectively. 

Wayne was one of the best groundsmen in Barbados and was intelligent enough to have sought wise council from famous groundsmen like Clyde “Oney” Rouse, Perch from Banks, 'CR' from YMPC, 'Apple' from Empire, and a number of other hard working sons of the soil.

He could never be accused of social loafing. He worked hard for Spartan and for cricket and spent some part of every day at the club. This included Bank Holidays and Christmas as well. 

If I am a real St.Lucy boy, Wayne was a real “town boy”. He never ventured too far from Spartan or Carrington Village and sometimes refused opportunities to work if it took him too far away from these comfort zones. 

Wayne was a fierce defender of Spartan and the type of cricket they played. He used to say to people that coming to play Spartan in Queen's Park was like “going into the Gulf with a guttaperk.”

His love and loyalty to Spartan did not blind his emotions when it came to poor or substandard performances by its players. 

He wasn’t scared to give Ottis Gibson a tip on fast bowling while adding a few chosen words on the state of health that he thought Ottis should be experiencing.

Or telling me that Johnny Slocombe was the best off-spinner to come from St.Lucy. Or remarking to Shaun Hunte that he could not lace his father’s drinks, much less his boots.

Or telling opposing hailers that he was in the process of building a fool and needed contributions from them. Wayne was a hard marker and the only one who escaped his wrath would be Philo Wallace. He believed in Philo.

As well as working in Queen's Park, Wayne assisted at Weymouth, Harrison College, Barbados Community College and Kensington Oval, along with with a number of other grounds. And there is a vicious rumour that he was seen helping at cricket outposts like North Stars and Windward. (Not bad for a so called “town boy”) 

Wayne loved Queen's Park but most of all the Spartan Club and its cricketers. Wayne was happy when Spartan were playing good cricket. He was happy when any Spartan player was successful, at club, country or international level. Once you were a Spartan man, you were Wayne’s man. 

Wayne told me that Spartan had produced 17 Test match cricketers for the West Indies and the only ones that he didn’t see play were Lawson Bartlett, George Carew, Cammie Smith and Sir Clyde Walcott. 

He was a humble, respectable and loyal person and we had many wonderful times together I am pleased to have had him as a friend. 

Wayne gave his life to Spartan cricket. In many cases he went above and beyond the call of duty and was especially hurt and frustrated at the way he was treated and the way he had to part ways with the club in the latter years.

He felt really unhappy when it appeared his loyalty was not reciprocated. 

He was my friend through sickness or health, hell or high-water and I make no apologies for that. 

None of us are perfect but I hope his time with us serves as a lesson to all. 

To his family and true friends I offer my condolences 

Rest in peace my friend, you truly deserve it. 

Henderson Springer 

First Published On bcacricket.org.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 06:45