First Ever Night Match at Bridgetown National Stadium
First Ever Night Match at Bridgetown National Stadium was played on October 24, 1980. A crowd of more than 10,000 packed Barbados’ small National Stadium to watch the West Indies’ first floodlit match-on October 24 — and came away hailing it as a rousing success.
The match, organized and sponsored by the Sunday Sun newspaper, was a 40-overs per team affair between a virtual Barbados team known as the Sun Invitation XI and the touring Worcestershire county team which was on a private, benefit tour of Barbados at the time.
The short boundaries on the football-sized ground and the ideal artificial, rubber-based pitch provided a glut of fun and plenty of excitement for the curious spectators. The white ball really flew as 25 sixes were hit in a total of 500 runs off the 78.1 overs.
When it was all over, Worcestershire won by three wickets in the 39th of their allotted 40 overs, scoring 7-251 in reply to the local team’s 7-250. No one really seemed to care too much, however, that the Sun team, led by Joel Garner and including four other Test players, lost. Any patriotic sentiments were dispelled by the occasion and the fact that there was a little help along the way for – the visitors from Barbadian recruits.
Collis King, who had flown in from Australia only the evening before and who, along with Roy Fredericks, was one of two special guest players for Worcestershire, virtually clinched the Match on his own with typically boisterous innings of 67 in three-quarters of an hour with five 6s and five 4s.
There were three other Barbadians on the county side — batsman Ricky Harrison and fast bowlers Hartley Alleyne and Vanburn Holder, all of them on the regular staff. The result was a fitting finale to Norman Gifford’s term as Captain of Worcestershire.
The former England left-arm spinner, now 40, turns over the job he has held for the past nine years to New Zealander Glenn Turner in 1981. It was, therefore, his last game as official Worcestershire skipper. All the trappings of the night game were in evidence. The local side played in a gold strip with gold pads, Worcestershire in blue. Attractive girls, clad in yellow shorts, brought on the drinks, and the pop group played during the dinner break.
The game was unique in terms that it was played throughout under the lights starting at 6 pm and ending at 11.20 pm. Those night games played in Australia and England have had at least Part of the cricket during daylight.
Source – West Indian view with Tony Cozier regarding the First Ever Night Match at Bridgetown’s National Stadium played on October 24, 1980.