Always there: Jim Woolridge started his cricket broadcasting career as a way for seniors and shut-ins to hear the game. *Bermuda Sun file photo
Always there: Jim Woolridge started his cricket broadcasting career as a way for seniors and shut-ins to hear the game. *Bermuda Sun file photo

FRIDAY, JULY 1: Long serving cricket commentator CV Jim Woolridge is to be recognized by the Western Counties Cricket Association for his many contributions to the sport.

The former Deputy Premier will be honoured at Somerset Cricket Club during the final round of this summer’s Western Counties competition on August 6.

Driven to bring live radio coverage to seniors as well as to the sick and shut in, Woolridge, 85, began cricket commentating for ZBM in 1965.

Prior to then he was an opening batsman and wicketkeeper for Flatt’s, making his debut for the Eastern Counties club at the youthful age of 15.

Through his ongoing cricket coverage for VSB, Woolridge is able to keep the Western Counties in the limelight, something WCCA president and former Willow Cuts wicketkeeper Gary Dowling is very appreciative of.

He said: “Jim has definitely helped to promote the Western Counties over the years and this is something that can’t be denied.

“He has carried us for years and this is our way of saying thank you.”

The Western Counties has also honoured past cricketers such as the late McDonald (Mackie) Simmons and Kenneth (Mickey) Thompson, as well as Sports Hall of Fame inductee Sheridan Raynor to name a few.

Dowling added: “We want to acknowledge people that have made contributions to the community so this is a continuation of that.

In recent years attendance at Western Counties matches has dwindled considerably.

But in an effort to buck the trend the WCCA is staging this year’s series at the venue of non-affiliates Somerset Cricket Club.

And judging by the encouraging turnout for the first round encounter between cup holders PHC and challengers Warwick, the move appears to be paying off.

Dowling said: “We have had a very good response from the fans and we have to thank Somerset for assisting us in any way they see fit. They are very receptive and we are certainly grateful for that.

“During the first round match I ran into at least a dozen people who had not been to a Western Counties match in years. One couple actually drove from St George’s to attend the match.

“We had a good turnout and on top of that we had some really good cricket.”

Tomorrow will see PHC again rest their title on the line at Somerset where they will come up against a Willow Cuts side buoyed by their recent conquest of previously unbeaten 50 Over League leaders St David’s.

Dowling said: “We are looking forward to a thriller on the weekend — especially after Willow Cuts took a hold of St David’s.

“The best cricket is played in the west end. After all, three of the four teams in this year’s Belco Cup are all from the west, so that speaks for itself.

“We have the cricket in the west, now we want to see the people come out and support the Western Counties.”