Richie Rich has a lashing good time

Such was the interest in South Africa, I gather, in the last update on former Free State all rounder Franklytn Stephenson and his change of profession from cricket to golf in Barbados, that I thought it would be only reasonable to catch up with another ‘ex-South African’.

Former West Indies skipper, Richie Richardson, lest you forget. played for Northern Transvaal (as they were called then) and, from memory, scored a double century followed by approximately a dozen noughts. OK, slight exaggeration.

Richie lives in Antigua now, and although we have moved on to Jamaica we will be returning to Richie’s island for the second one-day international and we’ll be sure to see him again.

‘Lashings Bar’ was established in 1998 with a business partner from the UK and ‘Lashings’ is also the name of the club side for whom Richie played after his sacking, umm, sorry, err, I mean…early departure from Northerns.

(Incidentally, it is also the club side for whom Hansie Cronje will play in the next couple of years. It is run by a quixotic millionaire in the county of Kent and has fielded some of the biggest names in the game over the last 10 years or so.)

“Lashings is all about giving people a wonderful time and hence we are open 24 hours, we are probably the only 24-hour bar in the world, certainly in the Caribbean, anyway,” says Richie, surveying the beach and a couple of bikini-clad beauties.

“It’s a very laid back place, people can chill out, relax, hear music at certain times, see a fashion show sometimes. Maybe just chill out…We have dancing at weekends on the stage.”

Richie is quick to promote the Lashings website, not just because he is smart but because there are so many sporting teams and other interests associated with the Lashings name that it’s easier to say: “You can see it all on www.lashings.com, ”

So has he had many South African visitors? “Well, it’s a long way away, but I guarantee that it will be a worthwhile trip coming here. They will have a wonderful time. We can guarantee them a wonderful time, good cricket, great partying, lots of drinking…hope they can cope with that!!” Very funny, Richie.

So, let’s talk about Northerns. Did you enjoy it? “Of course, my time with Northerns was probably the best time I’ve had in my life, socially!”

“When I was playing international cricket it was really difficult to relax. When I retired it was like a big burden off my shoulders, I went to SA and everybody was so relaxed, so laid back. We didn’t play that much cricket so there was time to enjoy yourself. I really did enjoy my time in SA.” Maybe now Northerns supporters can understand why Richie didn’t score a run after the first fortnight – it was your fault for keeping him out late every night and giving him such a good time!!

Anyway, he says you guys have got nothing on Antiguans. “I know SA can party and drink, but Antigua is another story. You’ve got to really come and experience it.” Now there’s a challenge.

Finally, the rumour that Richie plays guitar and Curtly Ambrose plays bass in a group that entertains the revellers at weekends in completely true. And they really can play, too. Boy can they play…

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