Former Montserrat star batsman Kingsley Rock dies at 81: ‘Cricket was his life’

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Kingsley Rock, who grew up in the Town Hill area of Montserrat, was a standout cricketer and soccer player.

Former Montserrat cricket star and Defense Force officer Kingsley Rock passed away October 23 in New York after a long illness. He was 81 years old.

Rock joined the Montserrat cricket team in the mid-1950s and played for his home country until 1964. He holds the distinction of being the first Montserratian to score a century in the Leeward Islands Tournament, tallying 125 against Nevis in 1959.

“He was a classical batsman, a classical stroke-maker, one of the finest you’ll ever see,” said John Wilson, Rock’s former teammate. “He could have played for the West Indies but the selectors didn’t pay attention to the Leeward Islands in those days.”

Rock played in two first-class matches for Leeward Islands. He scored 9 and 16 against Jamaica in July of 1958 in Kingston, and 28 and 1 against the Marylebone Cricket Club (England) in February of 1960 in Antigua.

He migrated to Antigua in the mid-1960s and played for the Antigua cricket team. Rock also played for the Antigua soccer team, along with his brother John. Rock later migrated to New York, where he lived for the remainder of his life.

Kingsley Rock is pictured in 1954 at age 16 as part of the Montserrat Defense Force cricket team.

Rock was born Noel Kingsley Rock on December 19, 1937, and grew up on the outskirts of Plymouth in the Town Hill area. He was the fourth of five children born to Garfield and Nellie Rock. Garfield was a pharmacist.

Rock worked as an insurance salesman in Montserrat, then for Pan American Airlines when he relocated to New York. Rock’s elder sister Doris ran a restaurant/night club in Town Hill in the mid-to-late 1970s called The Cellar. The popular club, renowned for its delicious hamburgers, featured crab races and a jazz band on the weekends.

Rock was good friends with fellow Montserrat cricket standout D.R.V. Frank Edwards, who died June 7. Their lives and careers shared several parallels. The two were born just three months apart, both grew up in the Plymouth area, and both eventually passed away the same year.

“He was a disciplined batsman and a very disciplined person. Cricket was his life.”

Percy Arthurton, on Kingsley Rock, his lifelong friend

Rock and Edwards anchored the Montserrat batting lineup in the late 1950s and early ’60s. In the match between Leeward Islands and Marylebone Cricket Club in 1960 in Antigua, Rock and Edwards batted third and fourth, respectively. They were the only Montserrat players selected for the Leewards team that year.

“Kingsley was a disciplined batsman and a very disciplined person,” said Percy Arthurton, who knew Rock since the two attended St. Mary’s Primary School in Plymouth in the 1940s. “He was not a man given to many excesses. Cricket was his life.”

Rock is survived by his wife of 45 years, Tulip Bain-Rock, stepson Peter Bain, two grandchildren, brother-in-law Harold Joseph and several nieces and nephews. Rock’s parents and his four siblings — Doris, John, Queenie and Dorothy — preceded him in death.

There will not be a public funeral for Rock. The family will hold a private memorial service.

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