Ossie Bland -

October 1

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Ossie Bland

Ossie a teacher by profession – played a prominent role in the UK Guyanese scene, particularly in education, charity and social issues. In 1994, Ossie contacted my father after hearing through the grapevine that my brother and I played cricket.

My first mentor!

Each Saturday for the first year Ossie, or one of his trusted soldiers, would pick my brother and I up from our home in Tooting Broadway and drive us to the home ground of Greater London Council (GLC) based in Sutton, Surrey.

At a guess I would say Ossie was mid to late forties and passed his best from a cricket perspective. However his influence and commitment on and off the field was immeasurable. By the age fifteen I wanted to play cricket and Ossie was my first cricket mentor. Although I was still a member of Mitcham Cricket Club, no-one influenced my game more so than Ossie.

In his educated Guyanese accent, he would quietly position me in the field and then shout in street Guyanese accent, “Boy, read the game!”, especially when my concentration waivered. His advice was for me to watch where the batsmen was attempting to hit the ball and adjust myself to cut off any runs. Everyone respected Ossie because of his ability to see a situation on the field before it happened and his ability off-field to calm situations when they threatened to get out of hand.

A notable memory on a day when Ossie missed a match (and because it was my first time travelling by public transport to the ground). I was late, literally getting there just before the first ball was bowled. We batted second and I came in at number 5 after the opposition had us struggling at 24 for 4.  Plundering the bowling to all parts I scored 90 not out and winning the match in the process. The following day Ossie rang me with his voice booming down the phone, ” TREVORRRRR, I hear you score ninety yesterday boy! Perhaps I should stay away more often if you’re going score big runs!” –  Thereafter massive laughs from both parties.

Ossie was a classic for one-liners. When my brother, Tony would bowl down the legside, he remarked, “Do you have a relation down at fine leg?”, when Tony replied, “No”. Ossie would then say, “So why you keep aiming the ball down the legside?”

One of our fielders caught a brilliant catch at square leg. In the huddle Ossie remarked, “I didn’t realise you could move horizontally with all that weight you’ve recently put on.”

I opened the innings and scored ten runs off ten overs, I was eventually out for nineteen. As I approached the boundary Ossie pulled me to one side and said, “Trevor I want you to remember this, this is not a THREE-DAY GAME!” 😊😊

Ossie sadly passed away in 2004 with prostate cancer. A wonderful kind individual with a sharp sense of humour. I salute you Ossie.


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