By the time he’d eventually announced his intention to not seek re-election as Cricket Canada’s Secretary at the 2014 Annual General meeting, Calvin Clarke had long since become the Association’s longest-serving Executive Member in a specific position. Clarke’s service as Cricket Canada’s Secretary was comprised of an initial 1976-78 two year stint that was followed by a record-breaking 1994-2014 twenty-year tenure, during which he surpassed former President Jack Kyle’s 15-year Presidential service record.
Indeed it might now be a very interesting exercise for cricket historians to determine whether Calvin Clarke’s record of twenty-two years of combined service in a single position, has ever been equaled or surpassed by anyone in any other international cricket country! Having already established its fair number of firsts in international cricket, Canada could very well be in possession of yet another!
Calvin Clarke’s illustrious years of service as Cricket Canada’s Secretary began some inauspiciously. Having completed playing his very first cricket match in Canada, as a member of the Civic Employees Cricket Club and at no less a prestigious venue as the Toronto Cricket Club, Clarke heard about the then Canadian Cricket Association’s (CCA) AGM being held in Toronto. Curious to find out more about the inner machinations of the National Association, he not only attended the AGM but also continued thereafter to be present at all subsequent meetings.
While attending the CCA’s meetings, Clarke practiced the habit of recording his own notes on proceedings. As a result of his subsequently sharing his own “Minutes” with his fellow Club Members, Civic Employees CC was back then, he suggests “by far the most informed Club about what was happening at the national level!”
It was at one of those meetings that Clarke was approached by the late Donald King, the then CCA Secretary. King said to him “you would make a good secretary, and I am going to retire soon!” From there on King personally coached Clarke on the requirements of the position, leading to his eventual assumption of the role in 1976.
Born and raised in the Trinidad & Tobago, Port-of-Spain Capital city located, community of Belmont, Clarke worked with Rediffusion T & T before migrating to England in the 1960s. He spent seven years with Rediffusion in London which was the British ITV contractor for London and parts of the surrounding counties on weekdays between 1954 and 1968.
Rediffusion also owned Wembley Stadium at the time and Clarke was part of the technical team responsible for installing the first public address system in the then soccer-only stadium in 1964. He also played cricket for Moresby in the Enfield League before coming to Canada in 1967.
As a Canadian resident, Calvin Clarke spent 29 years being employed with Electro Sonic Inc., an electrical and electronic components distributor, before retiring in 2000. During that period, he was quite active as a medium-pacer with Civics Cricket Club in the Toronto & District Cricket Association (TDCA) and then as a club administrator, serving as Secretary and Vice-President before eventually taking his administrative skills to the TDCL, where he was a Vice-president and President.
He was also the Secretary and first Vice-President of the Ontario Cricket Association, Assistant Manager of the national teams that took part in the 1982 and 1986 International Cricket Council (ICC) Trophy Tournaments for ICC Associate members in England and Manager of the national side that defeated the United States by 136 runs in St. Louis in a 1980 Auty Cup fixture.
The Canada-USA Auty Cup matches are on record as being the world’s oldest sports rivalry. Started in 1844, the competition was held annually up until 1912 when it was interrupted by World War 1 and other global events. Revived in 1963, the series ran for another 17 years up until 1980 when there was a three-year hiatus before a restart in 1983. There was another break that lasted 17 years before the Tournament resumed in 2011 at Maple Leaf Cricket Ground in King City. The most recent Canada-USA Auty Cup match was held in Toronto from September 12-14, 2017.
From the time he took over from Ramesh Jagoo in 1994, until his eventual 2014 retirement from the position, Calvin Clarke who was also the recipient of the ICC Americas Region Award for lifetime service to cricket, has served under several Presidents. Those whose tenures he witnessed first hand would have included Professor John Cole, Jimmy Siew, Geoff Edwards, Ben Sennik, Ravin Moorthy, as well as the current incumbent Ranjit Saini.
In addition to having been the Manager of the Canadian national team for the 1980 St Louis Auty Cup fixture, Clarke also lists his 1982 and 1986 National Assistant Manager appointments as well as that of the ICC America’s U-15 Team to the 2008 Caribbean CLICO Championships, his role as Event Manager for the 2009 Toronto hosted ICC U-19 Global WCQ his four year 2004-2008 tenure as the CCA’s General Manager and his induction to the Canadian cricket Hall of Fame, as being the most memorable experiences during his decades of longstanding service to Canadian cricket.
In terms of major disappointments and/or regrets, Clarke says that the dual losses of the Ontario Cricket Association’s office as well as its subsequent removal as a Cricket Canada Provincial Member Association a few years later were among those which hurt the most. Even more painful were the sad passings of Jack Kyle and Cliff Cox, both of whom Clarke considered to be very high on the rankings of Canadian crickets’ most thoughtful and competent administrators. Clarke was also extremely disappointed by Cricket Canada’s not having followed through on the opportunity to secure office space at the Ottawa based National Sports Center when it had been presented.
Since his 2014 retirement from active duty as a Cricket Canada Executive Board Member, Calvin Clarke has been busying himself doing his fair share of volunteer work for his Church. He’s been involved as a volunteer with the annual Toronto Film Festival and has also engaged himself in Hospital Visiting. He’s still maintained an involvement with his beloved sport, however, as a member of Cricket Canada’s Nominating Committee.
With the benefit of all the experience gained from his outstanding and unprecedented years of service to Canadian cricket, Calvin Clarke now still wishes for the further development of the sport. 2022 will mark the 155th Anniversary since Sir John A MacDonald’s historic declaration as Canada’s very first Prime Minister of cricket as the country’s national sport. By then Clarke hopes that cricket would be entrenched strongly enough within Canadian schools as to allow both girls and boys to be competing among themselves for positions at the U15, U17 and, U19 levels. This he feels would subsequently allow for the fielding of national teams comprised largely of Canadian born/coached players.
The acquisition of new and better playing facilities; Canada’s eventual development of a high caliber Test team, as well as much greater recognition and coverage for cricket at both the provincial and national levels by the print and broadcast media are further advances Calvin Clarke would like to witness. Having paid his dues in the manner that he has, the very least that those who have taken over the reins since his departure should do would be to ensure that his wishes for Canadian cricket do indeed come through!