By Loshaun Dixon
One of the best fast bowlers from St. Kitts and Nevis, James “Head” Harris passed away earlier this week bringing shock to his native Mansion Community.
Harris, who was 65 at the time of his death, played first class cricket for the Leeward Islands between 1977 and 1984. In that time the fast bowler played 19 first class games collecting 38 wickets at a bowling average of 39.52 playing for the Leeward Islands and Combined Islands.
Life long friend and cousin of Harris, James McCall said he learned of the passing with with profound sadness.
McCall said that for Harris playing cricket was his passion.
“He was two years older than me and even when we were in primary school when he bowled to you, his deliveries came at you quite quickly, and they moved,” said McCall. “Even at a young age, Head was able to do more than push through the ball quickly.”
Though he did not boast a quality batting average, McCall noted that Harris was underrated in that department.
“If you wanted someone to open the innings and give you a good start, you count on him to do that too. It was quite sad that when he transitioned to the Renowned Cricket Club in Basseterre he was put to bat at the bottom of the order.”
McCall also spoke of the an innings that was played between Harris and another Kittitian cricketer, Noel Guishard.
“Harris and Noel Guishard, also of St. Kitts, were at the crease as the last pair. The late Tony Cozier was the commentator, and expressed his surprise at the fact that Guishard was exposing the Number 11 batsman to the bowling, not knowing that Harris was as capable with the bat as Guishard was,” said McCall. “They were both all-rounders, except that the way Harris was presented to the world of cricket, was as a bowler. He never had the opportunity to show his true colours.”
He also noted that Harris was not only an accomplished cricketer but also was gifted at table tennis and played at an exceptionally high level.
“As a young upstart who considered himself to have been quite good at the game, I went up against him again and again at the Mansion Community Centre but he came out on top every time.
James Harris is presently remembered in his Mansion community with an annual James Harris Constituency 7 softball cricket competition held in his honour.