11th August 2015
Patrolling the Boundary – a view from the outfield
The Guyana cricket fraternity has lost an outstanding scorer and statistician, and one who made an immense contribution to the broadcasting of cricket in Guyana for close to 40 years – Ron LeGall.
It was a young Ron LeGall that developed his early scoring skills while working for the British Guiana Cricket Board at the time, and as I write this, I can almost see Ron sitting alongside his then mentor, Mr. Barnwell in the Kenny Wishart stand at the Bourda Cricket Ground. Ron’s career blossomed with the advent of the Guyana Broadcasting Service (GBS) coming on stream in October of 1968, and it’s well documented by Guyanese and Caribbean listeners that it brought a new level of cricket coverage.
For anyone who knew Ron LeGall well, they would know that he was a mild mannered individual, a gentleman indeed, who hardly lost his temper or raised his voice, even in the most arduous of situations. In the early days of GBS, Ron was an important member of the commentary panel, and without him, the level would not be the same. He worked with a team, which included Cecil Thomas, Rocky Mann, Ron Willock, Frank Betancourt, Stanley Moore and myself. The GBS team later included the world-rated Tony Cozier and the overseas voices of Don Mosey, Christopher Martin-Jenkins and Henry Blofeld during tours by England, while the voices from Australia were Alan McGilvray, Jim Maxwell and Neville Oliver.
Ron in his early days used the traditional scoring book before switching to the more modern method used by the BBC scorers. Due to the kind of preparation required prior to a match, he was always quick with his stats and had a way of virtually knowing what the commentators would need at the end of an innings or after a brilliant bowling spell. Before the commentary was concluded for the various sessions, the on air commentator would have the figures for the entire session, and the number of runs scored between start and lunch, at tea, and at the close of play.
Ron was well respected by all the commentators he worked with including both local and international voices. He carried out his duties at a time when there was no Cricinfo or Google, as he relied a great deal on information from the Cozier Cricket Annual, Wisden and his personal stats. LeGall was never a selfish individual and reached out and assisted many who were interested in the art of scoring. He also volunteered his time to the Guyana Cricket Board, and sat on many committees during the time of the Chetram Singh administration.
My one regret is that Ron was never commissioned to write the history of cricket in Guyana, and to include scores from the Case Cup competitions, the Jones Cup tournament, and the performances of Guyanese who played at the national and West Indies levels.
With the passing of Ron LeGall I have lost a great friend, and may he have the recognition he so richly deserves.
Joseph ‘Reds’ Perreira
‘Reds’ Perreira is one of cricket’s most renowned and recognisable voices, covering the game in the Caribbean and ‘beyond the boundary’ with a keen eye as a journalist, broadcaster and radio commentator for over 40 years. He followed the great WIndies side of the 70s, 80s & 90s around the world across five different continents – reporting on their successes, and subsequently, the team’s mixed fortunes in the new century. He has gained international respect and acclaim for his thorough knowledge of the game, its history, its players and its vicissitudes – while always maintaining both a professional impartiality and a deep personal love for the West Indies.