St Lucia, one ought to be reminded, has birthed some of the finest cricketers in the West Indies, the likes of which include but aren’t restricted to two-time T20 World Cup-winning Darren Sammy (former national captain, West Indies), the great Francis ‘Mindoo’ Phillip- a talent like no other- and the legendary Nadine George, a pioneer of the women’s game.
Moreover, it’s also the homeland of the very talented Kimani Melius, the under-19 captain of the West Indies cricket team, among the most promising names in the Caribbean.
This is to quote just a few.
Maybe for time immemorial, the die-hard fan may never forget the famous trinity from the happy-go-lucky island possessing serious cricketing talent for its fetched the sport much to rave about.
But are these the only famous cricketers to have come from the land of white sandy beaches, coffee, chocolate, and the ‘Sugar Beach?’
It wasn’t too long ago that a prominent news media outlet in St. Lucia reported the demise of a young up and coming cricketer- Cepal- who met with a fatal car crash, being the sole occupant of a Suzuki motor vehicle.
The episode made painful headlines and understandably so.
The one lost was a bright Under-19 talent whose car ran off the road and collided with a utility pole.
This was August, 2019.
Now, a little over a year later, St. Lucia, among the pearls of West Indian cricket has numb eyes again.
Joseph ‘Bolo’ Rudolph, one of the noted cricketers from the Eastern Caribbean island is no more.
November 4, 2020 for times to come shall be remembered with somber eyes and moist memories that shall, forever, remind us of a talented cricketer who is no more.
The deceased was just 51.
And what’s sadder apart from the fact that 51 isn’t really ‘old age’ or is it, is the fact that Mr. Rudolph passed away from a mental health issue.
His body, according to updates, was found on a bench at his residence.
He had, as a matter of fact, been based in Canada for a while from which he had returned – allegedly- around a decade back in the day.
But it is here, upon his return to the Caribbean that, it is said, his life took a turn for the worse.
While news reports have suggested that no ‘foul play’ is suspected, the news of his passing and the manner of Jospeh ‘Bolo’ Rudolph is saddening.
Imagine dying in isolation or having faced the wrath of mental health issues?
Here’s what local media had to say, that only highlights the outpouring of grief:
“There were no marks of violence on his body and police do not suspect foul play. The cause of death is unknown!”
Furthermore, the said media platform also brought to one’s notice- “His body was discovered slumped on a bench on the balcony of the house by its occupant. “
Thus far, it is unclear whether a state of absolute depression consumed a batsman who played national cricket in the Caribbean islands in his heydays?
What’s known is clear and certain.
Joseph ‘Bolo’ Rudolph, a smiling, simple man was known for his batting, being a noted cricketer in the halcyon days of the eighties.
One of the key strengths of his cricket was his technical approach to batting, with many hailing his ‘defence!’
As a loss, it is of one of Micoud’s best-known cricketers, a region inhabited with a tiny population of 2,700. Above anything else, it is of a devoted son of St. Lucia whose batting brought much joy to fans and onlookers.
Remember, while cricket has been described as a semi-religion in famous destinations like India, back in the Caribbean, it is a way of life; butter on bread, the cigar to the good old drink, the coconut to the beach-life!
It’s infectious. It’s mega. It’s love. It’s life itself.
One immediately understands the grief-stricken moment that is the passing of the great Joesph ‘Bolo’ Rudolph with the heartening note that Mr. Carol Henry, President, St. Lucia National Cricket Association (SLNCA) had to say on the episode.
And here’s Caught At Point quoting one of the finest gentlemen associated with cricket in the Caribbean in a very close way:
The St Lucia National Cricket Association (SLNCA) and indeed St Lucia by extension, mourn the loss of a son of the soil and former national cricketer, Joseph “Bolo” Rudolph who passed earlier this week at the age of 51 in his native home community of Micoud.
My research led me to speak with several key sources and contacts including former national Selector, Cuthbert Ramine, who also hails from the Micoud district and disclosed; “it’s true that he was a former national player. He began at a tender age in the youth department and was taken up by the Micoud prestigious team of MCC and based on his consistent performances in the batting department he was selected for training to be picked on the national team. His career was short but his averages were good. After his short career he migrated to Canada where he also played some cricket.”
His international exploits were corroborated by former Canadian International cricketers, Ian Khan and Patrick Clarke, both living here in St. Lucia.
Patrick, who played in the Canadian Cricket Premiere League up till 1993, the best league in Canada, confirms having played against him.
Ian Khan confirms they were teammates and that “Joe,” as he was known on the Canada cricket circuit, “scored a few centuries.”
Former National Selector, Roland Cox remembers him as a talented, “solid in defence opener.”
Other contacts and those who knew him describe him as an impenetrable, prolific run-scorer and competent wicket keeper for Micoud Div 1 and MCC teams.
It is generally agreed that Bolo was destined for greatness on the International stage, playing for Canada. Alas, this was not to be as he was beset by illness, which forced him out of the game.
His brother, Dumar fondly remembers the family recueving several trophies from Bolo for his performances while in Canada.
The SLNCA extends deepest condolences to his family and may he rest peacefully.
Carol J Henry
That said, a cricketing life lost anywhere in the world is a loss to the sport everywhere.
Caught At Point wishes to extend prayers to the family and friends of the departed, and wishes to reaffirm its commitment to bringing out stories on the Caribbean (and its tireless forces) who’ve given this great game of ours countless reasons to celebrate and smile.