By RON FANFAIR
Former Jamaica and West Indies fast bowler Tom Dewdney is recovering in a Scarborough hospital after suffering a stroke earlier this month.
The 77-year-old is undergoing cognitive and other rehabilitation since being admitted to Rouge Valley Centenary Hospital.
The Calabar High School graduate made his Jamaican debut against Trinidad & Tobago at Melbourne Park in February 1955. He played against the touring Australian cricketers a month later at the same venue, taking just one wicket – Peter Burge – in the drawn contest before receiving his West Indies cap in his third first-class game against the Aussies in May 1955 at Kensington Oval. The match is best remembered for heroic batting performances by the late Denis Atkinson (219) and Clairmonte DePeiza (122) who set a world first-class record 347 for the seventh wicket.
Opening the bowling with former West Indies captain Sir Frank Worrell, Dewdney took four wickets, including Keith Miller and Richie Benaud, for 125 runs off 33 overs in Australia’s first innings.
He played just six matches for Jamaica from 1955-58, claiming 18 wickets (av. 31.78) and nine Tests for the West Indies, taking 21 wickets (av. 38.42).
In a seven-wicket loss to the Duke of Norfolk XI at Sabina Park in March 1957, Dewdney – he shared the new ball with the fiery Roy Gilchrist – turned in a career-best 7-55 off 19.2 overs in the first innings.
Dewdney, who played league cricket and lived in England for several years, survived a deadly accident 52 years ago that claimed the life of Jamaica and West Indies all-rounder Collie Smith. The trio was traveling from Manchester to London for a charity match when the vehicle, driven by Sobers, was hit head-on by a 10-ton cattle truck. Dewdney escaped with a deep facial cut and a few lost teeth while Smith, who was sleeping in the back seat, died three days later without regaining consciousness.
The tall paceman, who maintained a good control of length and possessed great stamina, was among the then 147 surviving players invited to the West Indies Cricket Board commemorative banquet in Jamaica in 1996 to honour the players who had represented the region in Test cricket.