Monday, July 28, 2014

The day my grandfather played cricket against Clive Churchill

I was searching through Trove the other day looking for instances of where my father and grandfather played cricket with each other. I found a number of instances which made interesting reading (to me). However, I also came across the following match report that describes a fundraiser my grandfather took part in back in the 1950s. This will only make sense to people familiar with (a) cricket in Australia during that era, (2) the sport of rugby league. My American friends can probably return to the program already in progress...

The Biz - Thursday 1st March 1951 (courtesy of National Library of Australia)

For those who find the type a little hard to read:

Aggressive batting and accurate bowling made very interesting a match in Fairfield Park last Sunday between a combined team of S.D. Cricket Association, and an eleven of international and first grade footballers, and a few first grade cricketers.
Although the public did not attend in very great numbers to help a worthy cause, a tidy sum will benefit the Fairfield Memorial and Honour Avenue.
The turf wicket was in excellent playing condition when the S.D. team went in to bat. Star of the team was Billy Wilkinson, of Fairfield Sports Club, who top-scored with 35, and later also kept wickets very safely; Roger Stimson and G. Diessell compiled a useful 15 each; S.D. total being 94.
The visitors replied with 98, with an exciting finish. They were led by former international cricketer, Tom Andrews, who bowled the first ball. L. (Bockeye) Bell, Newcastle Rugby League full-back, starred for the "Stars," taking five wickets for 11 runs, and top-scored with 37 runs. Promising young N.S.W. representative colt, Ray Flockton, went for two runs; and he subsequently denied a statement that he was going to accept an offer to play for an English club. Ray displayed outstanding fielding ability. Local "champions" Reg ("Bradman") Williams and Charlie ("Gregory") Watts, afterwards gave a very brief glimpse of their former classical strokes, Billy Kearns was bowled whilst trying to explain one of his jokes-his usual hard luck.
Southern District Cricket Association president and secretary, Messrs. Jack Ellis and Ron Hindmarsh, spoke highly of the wonderful hospitality of Fairfield Bowling Club, which made the players honorary members for the day, and the club's splendid amenities were made available to the cricketers.
The refreshment stall manned by Mesdames Williamson, Preston and Talbot netted a useful sum for the good causes.
Veteran umpires, Messrs. Bill Hatch and Bill Lavender, voluntarily officiated for the whole day.
Fairfield Citizens' Band, augmented by several Liverpool bandsmen, played during the afternoon and their musical numbers were greatly appreciated by the committee and the public.
The scores were: S. D. Association: R. Stimson 15, G. Diessell 15, G. Ferguson 0, P. O'Connor 3, K. Bryers 1, W. Wilkinson 35, J. Ellis 13, B. Jones 4, R. Stiles 1, K. Waights 0, R. Wilson 0, R Watts 6, sundries 1, total 94. Bowling: T, Andrews 0/3, L. Bell 5/11, R. Flockton 1/14, C. Churchill 0/12, B. Flynn 1/1, J. Graves 0/20, K. Wolfe 0/17, C. Cowie 1/6, Howick 3/0.
"Internationals." - A. Neilson 7, K. Wolfe 3, R. Flockton 2, B. Flynn 11, L. Bell 37, B. Purcell 16, C. Churchill 4, J. Graves 12, J. Raynor 4, C. Cowie 3, C. Curran 0, J. Brian 0, E. Spencer 5, Howick 1, sundries 3. Bowling: P. O'Connor 2/26, Wilson 2/24, K. Waights 5/33, G. Ferguson 0/15, K. Styles 3/7.
Jack Raynor, speaking at the mid-day meal, proved himself quite an orator, with a natural turn of witty humour.
The visitors were accompanied by some charming ladies.
Unfortunately for my grandfather, a very good cricketer, didn't trouble the scorer at this event.

The event had been advertised in the local paper the previous couple of weeks:
The Biz - 1st February 1951
The Biz - 15th February 1951

A couple of the notable names from the game include Clive Churchill, Bernie Purcell, and Billy Kearns. "Neale!" you exclaim, "I know who Clive Churchill and Bernie Purcell are, but who is Billy Kearns?" 

If I were to say "Hudson, that's 'udson with a haitch" does that ring a bell? Billy was the old man in the Hudson Hardware advertisements from the 1970s and 80s. Unfortunately, I can't find the ad on YouTube our elsewhere, but it still brings a smile to the face. Bill had a long and successful career as a comedian. He died in 1987. 

That's the joy of Trove, you look for one thing and stumble on something quite unexpected. I never knew my grandfather played against such luminaries of the Australia sporting world, let alone a voice from my childhood.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

NCAA reaches agreement on Competitive Eating Program

At a meeting of college Athletic Directors, an in-principle agreement was reached to establish a college competitive eating program. A spokesman for the NCAA stated that following the popularity of the ESPN coverage of the Major League Eating (MLE) events and America's increasing desire for sedentary pursuits it became evident that the time was right for colleges to establish their own programs.

The spokesman went on to say that the new venture would fill a gaping hole in their college championship tournament schedule. "The culmination of the football season occurs in January and basketball has its March madness", he said. "There is a long gap from then until the College World Series, so a Competitive Eating tournament in the April-May timeframe would provide an exciting option for us."

"The colleges also have an obligation to the greater community to promote the next generation of leaders", explained Dan Guerrero, AD of UCLA. "Where are the future Joey Chestnuts going to come from? There is an enormous hole in gluttonous aptitude out there: look at the difference between first and second in the recent Hot Dog championships held over the July 4 weekend. Our goal is to discover and develop talent using the same dedication and scientific approach that goes into our other athletic pursuits."

School presidents are already excited about the potential of the new program. "We have been contacted by a major fast food organization which is proposing to establish a chair in Alternative Nutrition", stated South Carolina president Harris Pastides. "A whole new slate of scholarships will become available to find the best young talent to become Game Cocks."

Rising high school senior Todd Levington of Biloxi, Mississippi, is delighted with the possibility of obtaining a college education subsidized by the new scholarships. "For last three years I've watched as the best baseballers, cheerleaders, and footballers have been signed to full or partial rides that enabled them to study the discipline of their choice. Now it's my turn", he said. 

Levington is already famous for his ability to consume vast quantities of chicken nuggets at lunchtime. His dedication extends outside the cafeteria to the school dumpsters where he is often found honing his craft. "I intend to sit the FATs later this year and achieve at least a 5200 (calories) while maintaining my LDLs above 165."

In keeping with the NCAA's philosophy of promoting the culture of its member colleges, the intramural programs will feature foodstuffs of the region. "Of course our Varsity program will be devoted to the cuisine of the professional leagues, but we recognize that not all our athletes will end up in the professional ranks. So, as it is important to graduate a very well-rounded individual, we will allow the conferences to choose a regional specialty upon which their participants can engorge themselves. For example, the SEC is planning on using 'hush puppies', which will serve as a gateway food for the Varsity hot dog program."

The NCAA has denied its members are being pressured to change their school mascots during Competitive Eating events. Rumors have abounded about Virginia Tech's Hokie Bird being fitted with a  "ButterBall" sash, or that Louisville had created prototypes of the Hamburgler in the livery of the famous college. "Signage and advertising restrictions will be identical to our other sports" stated Morgan Burke, AD at Purdue. "However, we are working with various groups interested in the food and beverage concessions." He went on to add, "Purdue has always had a commitment to quality."

A meeting of NCAA officials in September will finalize details including menus, recruitment guidelines, and scheduling. The current plan is for the first competition to take place in February 2015, a rib-fest at the University of Texas at Austin campus. ESPN-U will be providing coverage of all Division I events.