Wed | Jul 17, 2019

More tributes to Tony Becca

Published:Saturday | March 2, 2019 | 12:16 AM
Becca

Former West Indies and Jamaica fast bowler Michael Holding and Don Wehby, group chief executive officer of GraceKennedy Limited, have expressed their sadness at the passing of former Sports Editor at The Gleaner Company (Media) Limited, Tony Becca.

Becca died on Thursday at the Andrews Memorial Hospital in St Andrew. He was 78.

Holding, who is a member of the Melbourne Cricket Club in Kingston, said he spent many years as a friend of the late cricket writer and former president of Melbourne. He remains grateful for that friendship.

“In my early days of playing for the West Indies, when Tony used to tour with the team, we spent a lot of time having dinner at nights, which was especially helpful on my first tour of England in 1976. That team had a host of members who played county cricket, and so had many friends around the country who they would at times spend time with, so it was good to have a fellow Jamaican and Melbourne member to share time with,” the man rated as one of the world’s greatest-ever fast bowlers said.

He added: “I have so many other memories of Tony. My first-ever cricket tour was with Melbourne as a 14-year-old to Cayman, and Tony was a member of that squad. Our association and friendship lasted over 50 years, and he will be sorely missed. My condolences to his wife, Cecelia, and the rest of his family.”

Holding took 249 wickets while playing 60 Tests for the West Indies. He is currently a top cricket commentator and is now covering the South Africa versus Sri Lanka Test and One-Day International series.

A LEGACY

Wehby, in a letter to The Gleaner, said: “I came to know Tony Becca well over several years and admired his consistent professionalism and journalistic integrity. He has made an invaluable contribution to journalism and has certainly left a legacy.

“Tony was passionate about seeing West Indies cricket return to its former glory, a passion we shared and both worked towards.

“We have lost a great man and a giant in his field.”

Wehby also extended condolences to Becca’s family, friends and colleagues.

Meanwhile, English cricket writer Pat Gibson said cricket has lost “one of its truest supporters, finest journalist and wisest ­counsels with the passing of Tony Becca”.

“We first met in 1975 when we were both covering the West Indies tour of Australia – Tony for the Jamaica Daily News, me for the Daily Express in London – and we struck up a friendship that endured for 44 years.

“We had a shared love of the game, but, more than that, I respected his views and I think he respected mine, expressed over many happy hours in pavilions from Lord’s to Sabina Park, from the bar at Melbourne Cricket Club to my local pub in Surrey, from his home to mine.

“I spoke to him only a few weeks ago, and we said we would speak again after the England tour. I am so sorry that will not ­happen, and I send my sincere condolences to his wife, Cecelia, and the family, all the people at Melbourne, and his many friends ­throughout the Caribbean.”