Tuesday, 28 September 2010

A Liitle Further North - First Steps

Premiership Cap 1952-53
The first stop on this quest to experience the Daintree was only 120kms north of home.

We spent three night s in Armidale over the first weekend attending the 60th Anniversary and Reunion of the Waratahs Cricket Club. The best sporting organisation I have ever played with, they embraced players like a family. In the words of Andrew Davis who spoke at the reunion dinner, they were an important part of boys passage to manhood and mates were created at Waratahs who remain only the first word of a conversation away.

The club formed in 1950 and died prematurely through a combination of a sudden loss of talent and the selfishness of those who remained.

The weekend began with informal drinks on Friday evening at one of our old sponsors watering holes. It took very little lubrication for yesterdays to be stripped away, leaving an apparent single yesterday between now and then and apparently different men still absorbed by each other. Yarns were told and the scaffolds of friendships strained by distance quickly and easily took the strain as new building blocks replaced those previously decayed by family and spouses and the need for responsibility to be met. On Saturday, only the brave ventured forth to a cricket ground to laugh their way through injuries and the indignity of cricketing account so empty that most needed to contact the bank. A few – always the best of those assembled – had such riches that they could still spend and look cricket wealthy.

Milton Milligan
Saturday evening was the main event – a dinner which gathered former players from across all five of Waratahs generations, although strangely, the most participants from the last decade in the 1990’s were broadly absent. From the first decade came Milton Milligan – a man whose body denies his age. At 81, he bowled the first over in the cricket match played only hours earlier and looked spritely as he climbed the fence back to his car. He spoke to the dinner guests of the first premiership victory, a match in which he played in 1952-53 - a match in which Waratahs scored only 27 in its second knock but still managed to win. Andrew Davis spoke wonderfully well and the spirit of Waratahs came from every phrase, so well that any or all of it would have been a fitting inclusion in William McInnes’ “The Cricket Kings”. Players received caps from Life Members and the First XI team was named - Waratahs best side of all time.

The evening dawdled to a close in the close company of stalwarts.

On Sunday, a few played gold and gather around a BBQ before farewells were said. It had bee a joyous weekend and these were hard goodbyes but said with an enthusiasm for return, somehow, sometime.


  1. Thanks for the descriptive. Sounds like you had a great time. Pity it was so far away. I have been looking at bits and pieces on here from Facebook too. I am glad I mentioned a couple of weeks before the reuinon that there was no hurry with sending me my reunion cricket cap - I can see you had more travelling on your mind! All in good time - enjoy the road trip !

  2. Thanks Tony. Your cap is at home, waiting my middle man job to Australia Post.


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