They Had No Coaching,  Just Natural Cricketing Ability!

Thanks for looking in!

Hi, I am Terry Gooding. Most cricket loving people from Luton may know me, but for those of you who don't, please read my early cricketing history below.

I developed this web site to let people know about the talented black cricketers that we had in Luton, over the past four  decades. 

I aim to do this by sharing all my personal photos, news paper clippings and writings from the last Thirty years. Many of which have never been seen before.

Cricket was in the blood of most young Black men who came to England in the sixties and more so in those that followed in the Seventies.

The latter group are the ones that I have had the pleasure of playing with or against. But sadly there isn't many Black Cricket Clubs around anymore.

The Nineties saw a rapid decline of Black Cricket clubs, not only in Luton, but nationwide. The reasons for this is debatable, but from a personal point of view the love that my generation had for cricket wasn't there from our sons who were born here in the UK.

As our generation grew older not enough youngsters were willing to carry on what we started.



My Early Cricketing History


There are some things that each of us are born to do, something that comes naturally. Well, I believe that playing cricket was my gift.

No one in my family as far as I can remember, was exceptional at cricket my two uncles played but only occasionally.

My earliest recollection of being a cricket nut is when I was about Seven or Eight years old.  I use to sit on a back wall by our house (Cardice wall)and watch the week end cricket matches when ever there was one going on. I didn’t move until the game was over.

With pencil and paper at hand I recorded every run scored by the batsmen. I had never seen a score book or shown how to score so I don’t know where this habit came from.

On Saturday mornings, if there wasn’t a match that day, I would go to the mountain and cut sticks to make wickets and then set them up on the flannel ball dirt track, bails and all. With the crease marked out and wicket swept, I would set off to find someone to play with me. More times than not it was my best buddy Sallay who was the unwilling victim.


Using cardboard for pads and seagulls for balls (not the bird, these were small round things that were washed up on the beach, about the size of a lime)  we played until the sun was too hot to bare.

Sometimes when I couldn’t find Sallay, I would set up stumps in our yard and get my sister Lucky, to bowl at me. She would often get fed up and run off when she couldn’t get me out. When she did get a bat, she only lasted one ball, before I batted again. (Wicked or what?)

By the age of Ten, I started playing with the bigger boys when ever there was a flannel ball game going on, which was most evenings after the sun went down. One popular game we played was called  OUT A MAN. The concept of this game was to choose someone as a partner. so in effect you had loads of Two men teams but you could change your partner at anytime. If one of you got out, you were both out, so, it was in your best interest to pick someone that was good or you won’t be batting for very long. Needless to say, my batting partner was always Sallay.


Another game we played was ONE BOUNCE. In this game you didn’t bat for long unless you were exceptionally good. The rules meant that you can be caught out even if the ball bounced once. So to survive you had to hit the ball on the ground or hit it very far.


ONE-TIP  was a fast paced game. Once the ball hit your bat you had to run. So again, this is where your batting partner had to be good. These fun games helped to shape us into thinking cricketers without us even realising so. They made you competitive. You had to be an all rounder to survive these games, anyone who couldn’t field, bat or bowl was left behind.




When we didn't have a flannel ball we improvised by using green oranges. The oranges didn’t last long because they would burst after several hits. Oranges were in abundance in those days and they didn't cost us anything apart from a few stinging nettle bites when we went in the mountain to collect them.

It's funny, but looking back yellow oranges were regarded as being rotten or no good, then when I arrived in England all the oranges they sold in the shops were yellow ones. Did we miss a trick somewhere?

We upgraded to plastic when oranges were out of season. Plastic? Let me explain for those of you who might be scratching your heads. We collected plastic bags or the covers which the farmers used to protect their bananas, melted them and shaped them into balls. Once they were cooled, they were hard as rocks. Many of us still have the scars on our shins  after being hit by one. I know I do.

There were times when we some how managed to get hold of a nice shinny proper ball the COMPO. This wasn’t leather but compressed cork. It was heavy and lethal. We used the main road or anything concrete  as the pitch.

Not many people owned a car back then, so there was no danger of being run over. But many of us did get knock down by Compo from the frequent bouncers that were pelted down at us.



I was thirteen, when I arrived in England in August 1969. Some of the boys that I grew up with were already in England and it was good to see familiar faces.

My old man was playing for a cricket club called Caribbean Cavaliers at the time. He was an opening batsman, and loved playing the late cut. A typical Bajan shot. Leslie Joseph, Andrew Antrobus and Ossie Lewis were also playing for Cavaliers.

I often went along to watch them play, and eventually got a game, but I was only allowed to field. A guy called Wally loaned me one of his trousers and a pair of boots. It was my first ever proper involvement in an adult game. But sadly the club folded in the early Seventies.

I started my first term at Challney High School in September of 1969. By the summer of 1970 I was representing the school at cricket. We had a good side, and played against all the schools in the surrounding area.

Noel Abbey was in the Beech Hill school team. Steve Clouden, Raymond Larmond and Ustosh Fahie also played for Challney. After I left Challney in 1972, I often went along to watch them play and was itching for a game. I was like a lost sheep.

One of the things that the head master said to me before I left school always stuck with me. He said "Don’t stop playing cricket after you leave us, it’s a beautiful game"


My family moved back to St.Vincent in 1972. I continued school at Bishops College, and also represented the college at cricket.

Flannel ball games were now serious business, they were now playing for money. The money men would challenge each other to a match, then set about scouting for players to represent them. If they selected you, you better perform. Don’t let them down or clout in your tail. Somehow, it wasn't a challenge that bothered me.

I returned to England in November 1974, and joined a club called Luton United the following summer. The rest as they say is history.