By Elroy StephneyDESPITE not having any formal training in the art of preparing cricket pitches, Lloyd Wallace became Essequibo’s most enduring and successful curator spanning over a decade.Formerly from Hampton Court on the Essequibo Coast, he lived just a few yards from the famous Kayman Sankar cricket ground. The venue then provided the opportunity for him to expose his talent as an employee of the firm where he spent over 15 years.In an exclusive interview with Chronicle Sport, the strongly built yet affable Lloyd Wallace was happy to reminisce on his sojourn as one of the best in the Caribbean as he put it. “I was rated by former International Umpire Billy Doctrove from Dominica as being one of the best in the Region”..“In my time, I was privileged to have prepared quality pitches for Red Stripe, Shell Shield and Inter-county matches and received quite favourable commendations from the players,” he added.“The Kayman Sankar ground became my home because I loved my task and it was done through consistently hard work, sacrifice and dedication towards a sport that I loved dearly,” emphasised the 51-year-old veteran who is one of ten brothers, five of whom represented Essequibo at the Inter-county level, namely Trenton Peters, Orin Wallace, Aubrey Wallace, Derick Wallace and Clifford Wallace.In fact, Lloyd Wallace also represented Essequibo in softball at the inter-county stage and was among the finest behind the stumps locally. “I was nick-named Blades because I was so sharp behind the wicket,” he acknowledged with some degree of satisfaction.Back on the pitch, ‘Blades’ was a monumental figure at the ground where he would studiously and repetitively arrange his equipment to undergo a rigorous job that required intense concentration and attention.There was never a dull moment witnessing him in action and he was an expert at his trade that he mastered without tutoring.“I was never exposed to training. My instinct, on-the-job experience and constant exposure to mud, water, roller, paint and brush were all that I needed to understand my role as a groundsman,” he responded.He shared the following memory with a real sense of pride. “I remember preparing the pitch for the likes of Brian Lara, Curtly Ambrose, Joel Garner, Richie Richardson, Phil Simmons, Ian Bishop, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Clayton Lambert among others and I felt honoured to be doing so for my heroes,” he boasted.“I recalled Trinidad and Tobago defeating Guyana in a Red Stripe match in the late 1990s when the great Brian Lara was Man-of-the-Match, scoring 67 runs. I was also proud of the Essequibo Under-16 team winning against Demerara in the Neville Sarjoo tournament.”“These are memories that I will forever etch in my heart as I played a role in providing an environment in which all were satisfied and much to the delight of the fans as well.”Upon reflection, the popular ‘Blades’ would single out Rovendra Mandolall, Jermain Jones, Dinesh Joseph, Ray Reid and Delvin Austin among others whose talent he witnessed right at the ground as being promising cricketers while his brother Trenton Peters, Jaimini Singh, Orin Belfield and Mark Stephney were good during his time.He has since expressed gratitude to the Kayman Sankar Group of Companies for their tremendous support as well as Kayman and Beni Sankar who were pioneers of the game in Essequibo.Wallace who is married and has four children, now resides in La Belle Alliance. He has since become an entrepreneur and security officer, but was quick to reveal that he is willing to share his experience with the Essequibo Cricket Board (ECB) and local clubs, even as he noted that the standard of preparing pitches now is very poor since much more education and guidance is needed for the art to develop and succeed.While the Hampton Court ground no longer exists and the towering figure of ‘Blades’ does not perform duties, he will be remembered as Essequibo’s most celebrated curator.
JURGEN KLOPP is prepared to balance risk and reward in his quest to bring the Premier League title to Liverpool.The Reds had a whopping 68 per cent possession against Tottenham, a team that aims to challenge for the top four come the end of the season.3 Jurgen Klopp is getting his tactics spot on in the title raceCredit: AFP or licensors3But Liverpool’s ambition to win the match at Anfield can be shown by their average position yesterday.When you look at the positions below, the league leaders played a 2-5-3 formation but, crucially, committed eight players in the opposition half.Liverpool’s high press means they have more joy in winning the ball back higher up the pitch and, therefore, create more goalscoring opportunities.Yes, that ambition can also lead to Klopp’s side leaving themselves vulnerable to counter-attacks down the sides of both centre-backs Dejan Lovren and Virgil van Dijk.But Kop boss Klopp is prepared to take that calculated risk.Liverpool are relentless in their pressing game and ready to take the game to the opposition to take three points.The reason they win the ball back quickly is because it’s a collective press.It’s not just Roberto Firmino or Mo Salah who presses, it’s the whole team.I have said this before but what makes Liverpool and Manchester City so good at the moment is their unbelievable work rate and pressing when they lose the ball.most read in footballTHROUGH ITRobbie Keane reveals Claudine’s father was ’50-50′ in coronavirus battleTOP SELLERGavin Whelan has gone from League of Ireland to David Beckham’s InstagramExclusiveRIYAD RAIDMan City’s Riyad Mahrez has three luxury watches stolen in £500,000 raidPicturedAN EYEFULMeet Playboy model and football agent Anamaria Prodan bidding to buy her own clubI SAW ROORodallega saw Rooney ‘drinking like madman’ & Gerrard ‘on bar dancing shirtless’NEXT STEPJonny Hayes set to move to English Championship having been let go by CelticREF RELEASEDChampions League ref Vincic released by cops after arrest in prostitution raidKEANE DEALEx Man United youth ace David Jones says Roy Keane negotiated a contract for himREF RAIDChampions League ref Vincic ‘arrested in raid into drugs and prostitution ring’STIR IT UPBohemians post cryptic response to FIFA promoting a jersey with Bob Marley on itAnd because of the number of Liverpool players in Tottenham’s half, it means Mauricio Pochettino’s side only have two main options if they want to combat that press.The first option is to go back to their goalkeeper, Paulo Gazzaniga, while the second is to play a hurried pass and allow Liverpool to regain possession.Klopp’s system overloads in the opposition half and that forces mistakes. It is why Liverpool are very difficult to play against.Twitter: @Higginbotham053 Klopp’s overload system are making them extremely difficult to play againstCredit: ReutersPochettino assesses his team’s performance after 2-1 loss to Liverpool