In his prime: All-rounder Campbell celebrates a wicket for Forties in the Commercial League. *Photo supplied
In his prime: All-rounder Campbell celebrates a wicket for Forties in the Commercial League. *Photo supplied

WEDNESDAY, OCT. 3: Forties stalwart Gordon Campbell has hung up his whites after nearly three decades in the Commercial League.

The ‘Doc’ has been an enduring and tireless presence in the Sunday team from the moment he played his first match for the club in 1985.

And since taking the reins back in 1990, Campbell has helped his side collect plenty of silverware and league titles.

The most recent success came just last month when Forties defeated Spring Garden in the league knockout final.

It was a fitting, if slightly emotional, end for a competitive cricketer who always put his heart, time and soul into the club.

Campbell told the Bermuda Sun: “It was an emotional moment, especially as I never thought we would end up winning that last game.

“A lot of sweat and tears have gone into my Sunday afternoons over the years, but I have enjoyed almost every minute of it.

“I told my team-mates it would be my last game for Forties just before we took the field in the knockout final and I said it had been an honour playing with them over the years.

“I have always just loved the game and everything involved in it.

“I grew up with cricket as a child and went to my first Cup Match in 1959 as a seven-year-old.

“I love competition and I have a passion for cricket.

“That’s why you put yourself out there on that field every Sunday.

“There are so many different skills and facets to cricket and that allows everyone to play a part.”

Campbell joined Forties, a club with roots in the old Trusthouse Forte hotel, in the mid 80’s after qualifying as a doctor.

He played under skipper Gary Edwards until 1990 when he took over the captaincy.

He said: “In those days there were seven teams in the Commercial League and we played all over the place; Shelly Bay, the Royal Naval Field, the National Sports Club at Somersfield.

“It was a thriving league and there were a lot of good cricketers playing then, too.

“It was always competitive and there was always a bit of aggro too – but that’s what you expect.”

In more recent times the Commercial League has struggled for teams as well as numbers.

But Campbell’s Forties side has remained one of the ever-present features of the league along with the Jamaican Association, Spring Garden and North Village.

He said: “It has become hard over the last few years to get a team on the field.

“When Forties first started the team was mostly Brits with a sprinkling of Bermudians.

“Then it became mostly a Bermudian side.

“But over the last five years we have seen all kinds of nationalities play for us; Sri Lankans, Indians, Aussies, Jamaicans, Guyanese and Canadians.

“It’s a multi-cultural side and I think that has given us a little something extra as a team.”

Campbell names Gary Edwards and Ivan Clifford as the best cricketers he has ever played with in the Commercial League.

While he picks out Mikey Campbell and Andy Boyce as the toughest competitors he has come up against in the middle.

The future for the club he has represented for nearly three decades now hangs in the balance as Forties looks to find a someone new to pass the baton to and take control of all the off-field chores as well.

“I have played with and against some great players over the 27 years I have played Commercial League,” he added.

“I hope Forties can continue and someone else will step up.

“But the body has been telling me that time is nearly up for a while now and the injuries have come thick and fast.

“Whatever happens Forties has represented a big part of my sporting life and it has allowed me to meet some great people too.

“I’ll still play Twenty20 for the Associates next year, but that will be it for Forties.

“Although if I am needed to make up the numbers I guess I might consider helping out an old friend.”

Gordon Campbell arguably saved the biggest nerve-jangler for his final game on September 16.

As a team effort from Forties, it was an apt way to bid farewell to a man who has done so much for the club.

Up against pre-match favourites Spring Garden in the league knockout final, Forties laboured to 131 all out, David De Silva top-scoring with 33. But with the ball, Brian Holdipp and Robin Stovell reduced Garden to 34 for five.

Then Guyle Pietersz blew  away the last five to skittle Garden for 103. The trophy went to Forties, adding a stunning final chapter to Campbell’s career.