North Shore Times : February 7th 2013
www.northshoretimes.co.nz 30 NORTH SHORE TIMES, FEBRUARY 7, 2013 SPORT Never too late to celebrate By FELICITY REID Drought breakers: East Coast Bays premier team win the Auckland club cricket twenty20 title on January 30, 2013, the club's first top title in nearly 10 seasons. Photos: SHANE WENZLICK New era: Cornwall's Jamie Hayes is run out by East Coast Bays' Cameron Fletcher during the premier cricket twenty20 final. Still loyal: East Coast Bays Cricket Club life member Bruce Freeman has been associated with the club for more than 50 years. Photo: FELICITY REID Starting out homeless and relying on the generosity of others, East Coast Bays Cric- ket Club has come a long way since April 1961. For its first two seasons all games were away as the club had no official home ground and post-match festivities amounted to a beer in the first-grade captain's garage. This season the premier team picked up the first top tier title in nearly a decade when they secured the Auck- land club cricket twenty20 trophy on their home wicket at Windsor Park and cel- ebrated in their own club- rooms. There is also still a chance the one-day and two-day sil- verware could be added to the collection before season's end. This is in stark contrast to previous years. Premier titles have been scarce; the club won their first -- and so far only -- prem- ier championship title in the 2003/2004 season, 16 seasons after gaining premier status. Even though it is a couple of seasons late, with all the present success, now seems to be a good time to celebrate the club's 50th anniversary. Mark Haslam, Bays' first Black Cap, joined the club as a 12-year-old in 1985 and played his last senior premier game in 2006. Haslam was influential as he led the premiers to their two-day competition title. This was one of the genu- ine highlights of my cricket playing career at all levels,'' he says. We had a core group of eight or nine players that had been in the team for six seasons before winning the premiership, so winning that title was really a culmination of six years of hard work as a team. It really helped as well that we were all great mates who backed each other. Long-time Bays' stalwart Terry Morris was the coach of the team and he along with Brian Armour who assisted him, instilled in the team a genuine sense of pride in playing for the Bays.'' When Haslam was selected for Auckland and New Zea- land the club was right behind him. It was a huge honour and privilege personally to be selected to play for both Auckland and New Zealand. Despite not making the most of the opportunities I was given when playing for New Zealand, selection for both of those teams would not have been possible without the huge support I received from the club.'' Now with his own young family, cricket has taken a back seat for Haslam. I don't get to see as much of the boys' play as I would like too I but the results sec- tion is the first section I check in the paper every Sunday. In saying that, it was an absolute privilege to be at the club on January 30 to see the club claim their first premier twenty20 title. I also take a great deal of pride as an ex-player in how the senior reserves have performed in recent years as well as the other senior teams at the Bays. It has also been wonderful to see how the jun- ior club has continued to go from strength to strength over the years.'' Founding club member Bruce Freeman has seen club cricket change dramatically in 50 years and he says the ethos is very different today. Freeman has held numer- ous roles with the club and remembers a time when as team captain he along with Brian Ramsay were respon- sible for preparing the wicket each week-- a far cry from the professionals who do the job these days. He also witnessed the boom of the mid-1980s when the club fielded 63 teams, 57 of them junior sides. The celebrations when the club's greatest wish'' was realised and they were granted a spot in the premier first division are still fresh in Freeman's mind, even though he narrowly missed the opportunity to play at that level himself. At the jubilee he hopes to reconnect with people involved in the early days of the club. There are wonderful characters in any sport and a lot of those people become life-long friends,'' he says. Looking back on those times, it is the people and stories you remember.'' A couple of years ago prem- ier team scorer Derrick Bezuidenhout wanted to col- late a statistical analysis covering the club's time in the top Auckland club cricket competition to give modern players a yardstick to measure themselves against. He met an obstacle when it was discovered score books had not been held on to over the years but after many hours researching in the library he has produced 50 Not Out Golden Jubilee 1961-2011. After reflection, I realised there is more to a club than statistics; hence the book in the form it is today, to mark a momentous milestone,'' he says. East Coast Bays Cricket Club will mark 50 years with events on March 15, 16 and 17. Go to www.ecbccjubilee.co.nz or email email@example.com to find out more about registering for the celebrations. Famous faces: Auckland Aces coach Paul Strang played and coached at East Coast Bays when he arrived in New Zealand from Zimbabwe. Photo: LAWRENCE SMITH NOTABLE NAMES Recognise theses names? A number of notables from the New Zealand sporting landscape have been involved in East Coast Bays Cricket Club including: Ian Smith -- broadcaster and former New Zealand cricketer. Michael Hendry -- professional golfer. Paul Strang -- Auckland Aces coach and former Zimbabwean cricketer. Paul Wiseman -- former Black Cap and coach with Canterbury Cricket. Chris Brown -- New Zealand Cricket A panel umpire.
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