Stephen Alleyne 1960-2007

Spiritual guardian of the game in Barbados, leader of the island’s World Cup bid, he founded a hall of cricket fame for which he would qualify, by Paul Coupar

Stephen Alleyne, who died suddenly aged 47, was a spiritual guardian of Barbados cricket. His dignity and passion brought to mind his fellow Bajan Malcolm Marshall.

As leader of the island’s bid for the 2007 World Cup, Alleyne oversaw the rebuilding of an elegant stadium on time and on budget, fought successfully against the ICC’s ban on musical instruments and bore the grim final (wrecked by ICC umpires over whom he had no control) with typical grace. He was proudest of his team of volunteers: “It makes one reflect that some of the strongest motivations in life are not monetary at all.”

Born in Stoke Newington, London, while his father was studying in the UK, Alleyne was a lifelong member of the Empire Club, set up in 1914 on a patch of former plantation by those spurned by the island’s more socially (and racially) exclusive clubs. Empire went on to produce 14 Test players. By those standards Alleyne was only a competent player, though he was still an opening bat good enough to play for Scotland, where he studied mathematics on a scholarship.

This mix of intellect and passion meant he was seen by many, including Ali Bacher, as the right man to lead the West Indies board, on which he previously served as a director.

In 2006 he established a hall of fame for Bajan cricket heroes, recognising the wider importance of their success: “Cricket is the enterprise which gave our young, naïve, enthusiastic nation states the confidence that they could make their way in the world.”

Alleyne, an actuary by training, died of a heart attack hours after playing for Empire; he had stayed behind to help cover the pitch. “It is a national tragedy”, said Bacher. “He was such a gifted person and wonderful man.”

Stephen Mark Clark Alleyne was born on January 28, 1960 and died on October 15, 2007, aged 47.

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