(Press release) Nevisian journalist and social commentator, Stevenson Manners, is now the Federation of St. Kitts & Nevis’ newest published author. Manners released his first book, ‘The Father, Son & Offsprings – The Enchanting Story of Nevis Cricket, 1945-2023’, on Amazon.com, on Monday, February 6.
The book, which is available in paperback at $29.99, traces the evolution of the game of cricket on Nevis, post World War 11 to the present, and was released to coincide with Elquemedo Willett’s selection as the first Leeward Islander to play Test cricket for the West Indies on March 9, 1973. Willett, a left-arm orthodox spinner, played 5 Test matches, taking 11 wickets, in a shortened career which ended on Jan.1, 1975, as the West Indies transitioned to the feared ‘four-pronged pace attack’.
Willett was followed by Sir Andy Roberts and Sir Vivian Richards of Antigua & Barbuda in 1974. Six other Nevisians – Derick Parry, Keith Arthurton, Stuart Williams, Carl Tuckett, the late Runako Morton, and Kieran Powell – have since followed in his footsteps.
Manners describes Nevis, a mere 36 square miles, with a population of approximately 11, 000 people, as one of the most precious pieces of cricketing real estate in the world. Only Barbados, Port Mourant in Berbice, Guyana, and neighbouring Antigua & Barbuda, can boast of as many players per size and per capita. He says Nevis, inspite of archaic cricketing infrastructure, has been punching well above its weight.
In reference to the book’s title, ‘The Father, Son & Offsprings’ – Manners describes Willett as ‘The Son’, and the six other players who have played internationally, as ‘The Offsprings’. The indisputed ‘Father of Nevis Cricket’, however, is John Edmund (John. E) Howell. Howell first represented Nevis in the McNorton Cup against St. Kitts in 1926, led the First Nevis cricket team in Leeward Islands tournament in 1949, and is Nevis’ longest serving captain (1939-1951). The pavilion at the E. T Willet Park, (formerly Grove Park) is named in his honour.
Willett was honoured by the Leeward Islands Cricket Board (LICB) when the LI cricket competition turned 100 in 2013, awarded an MBE in 2017, and received The First Gold Jacket, when the LICB launched a new initiative, in Tortola on Dec. 6, 2022, to honour outstanding contributors to the game.
Manners revealed, that he is partnering with the Nevis Library Services, to mount a Black History Month exhibition, focusing on the exploits of Nevisian cricketers, which opens on Friday, February 10 at the Charlestown Public Library, and runs through Thursday, March 9.
The Exhibition will carry the #It’s Been 50 Years – an allusion to March 9, 2023, 50 years to the day, since Willett’s pioneering feat.
Manners has followed the game of cricket for decades, reporting for such notable media institutions as the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) Sports and Sportsmax.