Almond Street renamed Lance Gibbs Street
by Faizool Deo
March 28, 2007
GREAT bowlers are remembered from time to time, but legendary bowlers are never forgotten. Guyana and West Indies greatest spinner Lancelot Richard Gibbs was duly recognised when his name was implanted in the country’s history, with the renaming of Almond Street in Queenstown to Lance Gibbs Street.
Gibbs, who was the first Test spinner to take 300 wickets, truly revolutionised the concept of spin bowling in the West Indies. He spun the ball past the willows of great batsmen of the past, knocking wickets and hitting pads with his off-breaks, producing something different from the fierce pace attack that is synonymous with West Indies bowling.
At 72 years old he still stands and speaks with authority and even though his long fingers no longer turn the ball for the regional side it easily flicked off the cloth that covered the new sign for Lance Gibbs Street.
And what is a humble man expected to say to a city for this recognition? Let’s us start with “It’s a great feeling”.
Gibbs in his address said he hopes that the naming of the street would be a motivation to young cricketers and youngsters fully academically inclined to see that with hard work they can achieve greatness.
Prime Minister Samuel Hinds and Director of Sport Neil Kumar both asked Gibbs to spread his love of the sport to all Guyanese especially to the youngsters. Kumar who was very emotional in his address as he remembered the late Roy Fredericks (another great West Indies cricketer) who he said told him that while growing up he (Fredericks) went to cricket with just a cup of tea, and that his only satisfaction was that of “beating the ball”.
Getting the street renamed took 20 signatures from residents of what was known as Almond Street, according to acting Mayor Robert Williams. Williams said that the Mayor and City Council is in favour of naming un-named streets and would welcome any similar endeavour. Gibbs played 79 Test matches from his debut in 1958 to his last game in 1976 in which he took 309 wickets at 29.09 runs per wicket.
The re-naming of the street coincided with the opening of the Demerara Cricket Club’s Legends Village and Hall of Fame Museum on the ground of the DCC. It is open to the public in recognition of great Guyanese cricketers.
Roger Harper, another member of the DCC club to have played for the West Indies cricket team, was also present for the ceremony. So too was former West Indies all-rounder Phil Simmons along with representatives from the Ireland and the Sri Lankan cricket teams.