Some of his colleagues on the Marchand team included the likes of Bengy Amos and Ransom Ramsey. In 1963, he represented St. Mary’s College at the Wake Shield level and in 1967 he represented the senior team. The following year, Hildreth gained selection on the national team playing as inner forward; he continued to represent St. Lucia at football until 1973, the year St. Lucia captured the Popham Trophy. Hildreth was awarded a football scholarship to the United States organized by former national player, Desmond Vidal.
While in the United States, Hildreth represented the University of Southern Connecticut, playing in the Regional (Eastern) states competition and was eventually selected on the regional side for an unbroken five-year period. (1973 -78) Upon his return to St. Lucia, he moved back to the national team but played for just one year, before deciding to take up coaching and was one of the regular coaches of the powerful Shamrock club.
Did you know John Laurencin aka John John, the youngest brother of Earl Cenac and Hildreth Laurencin also started playing football at Marchand Primary in the Wake Shield competition in 1967? That was one year after a St. Mary’s College side, including Hildreth, defeated a lesser Marchand team by a record 10-0 margin.
John John soon emerged as one of the school’s stars, achieving the title – ‘Footballer of the Year’ in 1968. Immediately after leaving school, he played in an unofficial competition for Spurs club, but he was spotted by Rupert Polius, captain of the Shamrock team who brought him to the Shamrock club in 1969. John John was drafted into the first league in 1970, but any prospect of gaining national selection were temporarily shelved when he joined the regional Youth Agricultural Camp in Dominica.
John Laurencin spent two years in Dominica and made his impact there in athletics. In 1971, he returned to St. Lucia as a member of the Dominica Athletics team, participating in the 100 meters, 4X100 and high jump events.
However, John John together with Hildreth formed the attack for the dominant Shamrock side, with skipper Patrick ‘Shark’ Gabriel directing from the mid-field. In 1976, John John was elected ‘Footballer of the Year’, and was selected to captain the Central Castries team in the Mackeson inter-district competition, emerging as footballer of the tournament. John Laurencin also played cricket as a wicketkeeper/batsman representing his Shamrock club.
Source: Outstanding Sports Personalities of St. Lucai by Rupert J Branford – 2000
This feature runs every Tuesday and Thursday. It is written by daughter of the soil Anselma Aimable, a former agricultural officer and former correspondent for Caribbean Net News, who has a deep interest in local culture and history. Send ideas and tips to [email protected]