Delph’s ‘KT “SONNY” RAMADHIN’
By Beverley Heap
Contributions by David Travis
Delph’s ‘KT “SONNY” RAMADHIN’
Saddleworth has a long standing reputation for its sportsmen and women. Many of whom over decades, reached the heights of their chosen sport. Football, Cricket and Rugby, have all had a prominent part to play, in the history of Saddleworth, with well known and respected clubs.
The word Legend, is a much overused term, these days, yet there is one man in Saddleworth, who in the 1950’s ruled the world of cricket. This man now resides in Delph and his name is Sonny Ramadhin.
Sonny was born in Esperance village, in Trinidad and Tobago in 1929. After trying out as a batsman, tiring of waiting for his turn, Sonny took to bowling. Immediately, he was seen to exhibit a, then special ability, to spin the ball both ways, with no discernible change in his action. This ability soon brought him to the attention, of the West Indian cricket selectors. Two trial matches later, playing for Trinidad, against Jamaica, Sonny, aged twenty, was selected for the 1950 West Indies tour to England.
On his arrival in England, the cricket authorities, explained, it wasn’t the done thing, not to have any first initials to your name. So someone, conjured up, the initials K T, which to this day, are unknown names.
It soon became apparent, that Sonny, 5ft 4ins tall, and barely nine stone, with his cap on and sleeves fastened around his wrists, was a total mystery, to the England batsmen. With his fellow spin bowler, another debutant, Alf Valentine, they put England to the sword, dominating the series of Test matches. Eventually the West Indies won 3-1 to record their first ever series win in England. By their performances, Ramadhin and Valentine, became the subject of both poems and Calypso songs. Further praise came from Denis Compton, who called Sonny, “the best match winning bowler in the world”. Both spinners were also honoured by Wisden, being WISDEN’S CRICKETERS of the YEAR, for 1951.
Sonny played on in Test cricket, enacting his “dream”, by playing in Australia. He remained a considerable force to be reckoned with, until his final Test appearance, in the 60/61 series in England. Sonny spent a season playing for Lancashire, where his grandson Kyle, also played for between, 2001 and 2014.
Away from cricket, Sonny and his wife June, prepared for his life outside cricket, by following the well trodden path, that of ex sportsmen, becoming Publicans. After spells at the Cloggers and Hare and Hounds, in Uppermill, they finally took up residence in the White Lion pub in Delph. Mine hosts for many years, the pub became a very popular establishment.
With frequent visits from his cricketing friends, Sir Gary Sobers, being one, entertainment was guaranteed. Although a quiet and very unassuming man, Sonny was highly respected and liked as a Publican.
Sonny also played in several World XI teams throughout the fifties and sixties, touring several different countries. It is believed he is now the oldest surviving WISDEN CRICKETER of the YEAR.