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Great knock, 'Robbie'

Published:Friday | January 15, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Tony Becca, Contributing Editor


There are two kinds of people in this world, those who die without leaving anything behind, and those who leave behind monuments to their lives.

Gladstone Robinson was one of those who died and left behind a chest full of memories. Today, as his family - widow Marjorie, son Adam, daughter Julie Ann, and friends, a host of them from home and abroad, say farewell to him, I remember some of the things which made him unforgettable.

A former Jamaica representative, Robinson, 'Gladdy' or 'Robbie' as he was affectionately called, represented St Jago, All Schools, Boys' Town and Melbourne. He captained all those teams, and he also captained the Jamaica Colts.

Elegant batsman

Robbie was an elegant batsman. In my opinion, he ranked in the company of Clive Wynter of Wolmer's, Merrick Miller of Kingston College, Milton Wisdom of Excelsior, Maurice Foster of Wolmer's, Jeffrey Dujon of Wolmer's and, if only for his class, also with Milton Powell of Wolmer's as the best schoolboy batsmen I have seen.

As a captain, Robbie was good, so good that many fans, including some from earlier years, believe him to be the best schoolboy captain they had ever seen. He was so good that they believed had he not given up cricket at an early age, he would certainly have captained the national team.

Gladdy gave up first-class cricket and with it his ambition of playing Test cricket at age 22 when he decided to devote his time to a career outside of cricket to concentrate on his job.

One of the best-dressed cricketers of his time, Robbie, however, loved cricket, and he loved it so much that he gave his time and his money to support the sport.

His life off the cricket field, for example, was highlighted by his service to Boys' Town as chairman of the board of directors and as treasurer of the basic school, to Melbourne as a former vice-president and committee member at the time of his death, and to the Jamaica Cricket Association as assistant treasurer.

He was awarded with a national honour, the Order of Distinction (Officer Class) in 2004, for his services to the country.

Gladstone Robinson was a kind and generous man. Many, more so young cricketers, who benefited, without knowing the source, by way of a bat, a pair of boots, lunch money and school fees, and those clubs which were able to keep their doors open through his generosity, will miss him.

Good Samaritan

As a former president of Melbourne, I know of the generosity of Robbie. If the club was in trouble, if the club needed help, financially, Robbie, like a few others, was always willing to step forward. He was truly a Good Samaritan.

To know him was to admire him. In fact, anyone who had the pleasure of meeting him, of being in his company, for a day or two or for almost a lifetime like me, will miss him.

As Jeffrey Dujon, the former Wolmer's, Kingston Club, Jamaica, and West Indies wicketkeeper/batsman remarked a few days ago at Kensington Park, Robbie was a great man.

There can be no doubt about that. Well played, my friend. Farewell and walk good.