Saturday, 20 October 2012

Basil Hill



Basil hill spins a yarn as well and as often as any other fisherman and after forty years in the sport his repertoire is extensive.

But there's a striking difference about the fishing stories that Hill tells because they are invariably about the ones that didn't get away.

For a land-locked country, Rhodesia produced, proportionately, a phenomenal number of successful deep sea anglers. But the king of them all is undoubtedly Basil Hill, who modestly maintains that luck has played a big part in his angling career.

An often-repeated anecdote about Hill is, that if a bucket of rain-water was left in First Street, Hill could put a line into it and pull out a fish.

In fairness to Hill, his 'luck' is more often than not the result of intelligent use of his extensive knowledge of the fish he is after. Completely dedicated to the sport, a lot of Hill's time has been spent in studying the habits of various species and in charting the vagaries of coastlines and shorelines.

The reward for Hill's dedication is nine African game-fish records, five of which still stand. One of his records, for garfish, was eclipsed by his son Robert, twenty-two years later.

His greatest achievements were two records for black marlin and a record tarpon caught in Angola. In his own mind, his finest moment was on 5 November 1971 when he was fishing off Bazaruto on the Mozambique coast and landed a black marlin of 860 lb. — the biggest of the species to be caught in African waters.

It was a unique catch in more ways than one, for Basil never actually hooked the 11 ft. 6 in. monster. Line was wrapped around its tail and the fish drowned through water entering its gills as it was dragged backwards during a fifty-five- minute struggle. The fish gave Hill his second record involving black marlin.

Bazaruto was also the setting for the first record. On 23 October 1967, Hill hooked another black marlin, while the bait, a live bonito, was being let out. Using 50-lb. line, Hill fought the fish for an hour and twenty-five minutes, during which the marlin jumped twenty-nine times — an extraordinary performance.

It tipped the scales at 431 lb. which was a new record for Africa on 50-lb. line and tackle. The previous record had stood at 308 lb.

Another momentous struggle for Hill was in the International Tarpon Tournament at Angola in December 1971. On the last day of the five-day competition, one of the Angolan anglers hooked the first tarpon to be caught — an 80-pounder from the Cuanza river.

With only one and a half hours left in the competition, the Rhodesian team, headed by Hill and encouraged by the success of the Angolan, struck it rich. They had begun fishing at the point where the first tarpon was caught and at 1.30 p.m., with the competition due to finish at three o'clock, Hill felt a series of gentle tugs on his line and struck.

The tarpon is a massive freshwater fish, which, Hill says, pound for pound, gives as good a fight as the black marlin. Hill eventually boated the fish four miles downstream after a tussle lasting two hours and forty minutes.

The fish was a beauty. Seven and a half feet long, it weighed 205 lb. which gave Basil another Africa record. He had used only 30-lb. line and this catch was testimony to his skill as an angler as during the fight to boat the fish, the vessel had broken down six times and sprung a leak. So Hill had triumphed in the most trying conditions. The previous tarpon record had been 161 lb.

Hill's fishing career began as a child. His father had a great interest in the sport and this rubbed off on young Basil, who clearly remembers catching a 51-lb. sand- shark when he was eight years old.

Hill was born on 26 April 1934 at Bethlehem in the Orange Free State but spent most of his youth at Durban where he went to Durban Technical School. After leaving school he went to work with a Durban sports-goods company (in their angling department, of course, because by that time he was well and truly 'hooked' on fishing).

He first represented Natal in 1951 and between 1950 and 1956, fishing for six hours on one Saturday afternoon a month in competitions, he landed an estimated 86 000 lb. of fish from the surf along the coast and the Durban South Pier.

He moved to Rhodesia in 1956 and three years later started his own fishing- tackle business, the Fisherman's Corner, in Salisbury. The same year he was chosen to captain national fishing teams in both the freshwater and deep sea fields.

Such was his skill that he became an automatic choice for national teams from 1959 onwards. During his career, Hill fished in internationals against South Africa, America, New Zealand, Switzerland, Brazil, Mozambique, Britain and Angola. He has also fished virtually every square inch of Southern and Central African coastal waters.

But Hill's achievements have not been confined to deep sea angling and he can claim to have founded the annual Tigerfish Tournament at Kariba, which has in the past attracted international competition. He rates the tigerfish as being the equal, pound for pound, of some of the deep sea game-fish. His freshwater records include a 53 lb. 12 oz. carp taken in Mazoe dam in August 1965 on 12-lb. line, a 10-lb. tigerfish taken on 2-lb. line and a 54-lb. vundu on 4-lb. line at Kariba which took more than two hours to land.

He started the Ultra Light Tackle Club in 1960. Under Hill, this team won the Tiger fish Tournament at Kariba six times and still holds the record for the most tiger fish caught — 107 in a single tournament.

Hill says fishing has been his life and certainly there is no doubt that he has done a great deal to promote the sport. With his family also taking a great interest in fishing, Hill was primarily responsible for getting Rhodesian juniors and women to participate at international level.

He has held a variety of administrative posts and since 1977 has been the chairman of the National Anglers' Union with which are registered 87 clubs representing 17 000 paid-up members. A former chairman of the Central Africa Deep Sea Angling Association, he has been on the committee for thirteen years.

National colours for deep sea fishing came his way in 1959 and he was also awarded colours for freshwater fishing in 1973, the first year colours were awarded for this sport.

Sharks provided one of his favourite fields in fishing and Hill estimates that he caught 42 of these creatures from the Durban South Pier, each weighing in at between 200 and 1 020 lb. Another of his Africa records is for a white pointer shark off Durban's South Pier in June 1958, when he landed an 810-lb. monster on an 80-lb. line. It took him three hours and ten minutes to beach the shark using a wooden Scarborough reel.

Hill's Africa game-fishing records are: tarpon, black marlin (two), yellowfin tunny, caranx (kingfish), white pointer shark, hammerhead shark, queenfish, bonefish and garfish (subsequently broken by Robert Hill).


- McDERMOTT.

End

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Friday, 19 October 2012

Michael John Proctor


No man made more impact on the Rhodesian cricket scene than Springbok all-rounder Michael John Procter, who was contracted to play for the country in a world 'scoop' achieved by the Rhodesia Cricket Union in May 1970.

The acquisition of Procter, then not only one of the world's quickest fast bowlers but also a batsman of the highest order, came at a crucial time for Rhodesian cricket.

In the 1969-70 South African season, Rhodesia had fared poorly, finishing last in the Currie Cup table and as a result the team had been relegated to the B Section of the competition for the following season.

Procter burst into the Rhodesian cricket scene like an express train out of a tunnel. Few cricket followers will forget the sight of the well-built blond Springbok turning from his mark near the boundary boards . . . the awesome run-up . . . the open-chested delivery stride . . . the roared appeal with arms open wide, reaching for the sky.

His debut season for Rhodesia was, to say the least spectacular. While Procter the bowler was effective, Procter the batsman was magnificent and he amassed 956 runs — the highest total of the 1970-71 South African season — at an average of 119,50.

But more important Procter equalled the world record of six successive centuries in first class matches. This feat had been achieved only twice before, by cricketing greats C. B. Fry in 1901 and Sir Donald Bradman in 1938-39.

The runs that flowed from Procters bat that season sparked a tremendous revival of interest in the game in Rhodesia. The country's demotion to B Section had come as a great blow, and attendances at home matches would probably have dropped had not Procter come onto the scene.

The spotlight focused sharply on Procter and Rhodesian cricket when, after his fourth successive hundred, the national Press drew attention to the fact that a world record was within reach.

Procter began his record-equalling run of innings with a sharp 119 against Natal B at Bulawayo. At the Police Ground, Salisbury, he took 129 off Transvaal B and followed this with 107 against Free State at Bloemfontein, 174 off North Eastern Transvaal in Pretoria and 106 in Rhodesia's final Currie Cup fixture against Griqualand West at Kimberley.

Fortunately Rhodesia had one remaining fixture that season — a friendly against Western Province at Salisbury and the South African Cricket Association confirmed that the match had first-class status.

So Procter had his chance and the scene was set for a thrilling finish to a successful season at Salisbury's Police Ground, where crowds flocked to see for themselves if 'Mighty Mike' could do it once more and write his name into the record books.

Thousands of hearts missed a beat when Procter, after coming to the wicket with Rhodesia poorly placed, having lost three wickets with only five runs on the board, snicked a catch to slips early in his innings.

The catch went to the Western Province captain, Andre Bruyns, who after juggling the ball three times, finally dropped it — much to the relief not only of Procter, but his many supporters in the stands.

This close shave did not deter him, and with Stuart Robertson batting well at the other end, Rhodesia got on top of the bowling and shortly after two o'clock that afternoon the great moment came. Procter hit Mike Bowditch for three to reach his sixth successive century and then proceeded to tear the attack apart. He finished with 254 and Rhodesia beat Province by seven wickets. It was Procter's highest first-class score.

Rhodesia were duly promoted back into the A Section of Currie Cup for the 1971-72 season, when Procter took over the captaincy from Ray Gripper in the third match against Transvaal at the Wanderers.

Obviously relishing his new post, Procter was in magnificent form and, bowling at full pace, he was largely responsible for Transvaal crashing to 31-7. At one stage his analysis read: 6-0-7-5 and he finished with 16-2-32-7 as Rhodesia inflicted the first provincial defeat on Transvaal since 1963, when Ali Bacher had taken over as captain.

Procter led the team for the remaining four matches that season, and of the five games, Rhodesia won four and drew one. They beat Western Province by seven wickets, Transvaal by nine wickets. Natal by 22 runs and Northern Transvaal by 176 runs

Other bowling figures returned by Procter included 21-11-25-3 against Eastern Province and 26,2-5-70-5 and 10,5-4-9-5 against Western Province. He finished the season with 52 wickets from eight matches and Rhodesia were placed second in the Currie Cup competition by two points to Transvaal. Ironically the Rhodesians had won more matches than any other side in the competition but with a better aggregate of batting bonus points, Transvaal squeaked home.

It was a fine performance from a team which in the previous season had been in the B Section. Much of the credit was due to Procter who led by example and, aided by his pleasant extrovert personality and enthusiasm, motivated the remainder of the team to greater achievements.

Procter had instilled confidence in a team which often lacked faith in its abilit against the top South African provinces, but the following 1972-73 season saw Rhodesia deprived — by a South African Cricket Association boardroom decision — of winning the Currie Cup for the first time.

At the start of the season Procter had been adamant that the Currie Cup would cross the Limpopo. His prediction was given more weight when Rhodesia beat the champions, Transvaal, by 113 runs in the opening match at the Queens Ground at Bulawayo.

It was an unusual match, with Procter coming to the fore in the later stages by scoring 65 in the Rhodesian second innings, by the end of which Transvaal needed 311 from their second innings to win.

Procter quickly removed one of the Transvaal batsmen in his opening overs of pace, but with Ali Bacher and Brian Bath playing well, the tide began to turn in Transvaal's favour. Procter was not to be outdone, however, and switching to off- spinners he captured eight of the remaining Transvaal wickets to finish with his career's best figures 36,1-17-71-9.

Such was the versatility of this great player, who for several years was rated as the best all-rounder in the world.

The next match Rhodesia drew against Natal at Salisbury, and then came the game that was to cause controversy, not only in Southern Africa but everywhere the game is played, because the decision of the umpires was reversed.

Eastern Province, led by Lorrie Wilmot were the opponents at the Bulawayo Queens Ground over 18,19 and 20 November. It was one of the most absorbing contests in the history of Currie Cup as Easterns totalled 301, and Rhodesia, saved by a late stand between Robin Jackman and Paddy Clift, replied with 261.

A second innings of 283-9 enabled Wilmot to set Rhodesia a testing target of 324 for victory in 240 minutes and the compulsory 20 overs in the last hour. Typically, Procter decided Rhodesia would go for runs — they had everything to gain and nothing to lose.

The top order batsmen rose to the occasion with Jimmy Mitchell, Stuart Robertson, Peter Carlstein and Howie Gardiner playing innings that kept Rhodesia in the hunt and up with the clock.

With Procter in great form and six runs required for victory with an over left for play. Wilmot led his team off the field. After calling play three times the umpires awarded Rhodesia the match and the 10 points for an outright victory. Those vital points were subsequently taken away when the SACA overruled the umpires' decision so that Rhodesia finished fourth in the Currie Cup competition with 79 points. Transvaal won with 84 points. The 10 points from the Eastern's match would have given Rhodesia the Cup by a clear five points.

Procter was very upset by the incident and more so by the SACA decision to reverse the umpires' ruling. The confusion arose over the exact start of the final 20 overs, due to begin after tea at 4.45 p.m. But the umpires wpre in position a minute before then and according to the rules, the last over before the interval had then to be bowled. One of the umpires indicated this by raising a finger which the other misinterpreted to mean the first of the 20 compulsory overs.

During the drinks interval, the umpires held a short discussion and the Press and scorers were told that the first of the 20 overs was to begin after tea. Procter and Wilmot were then told of the decision, and Wilmot maintained that the umpires could not change their minds as he had been informed that the over before tea was the first

At the end of the 19th over after tea, Wilmot led his side off the field with Rhodesia a frustrating six runs away from a thrilling victory and Procter, who had the strike, was in rampant form with 66 not out It was an unsatisfactory end to a thrilling day's play, and it later cost Rhodesia dearly.

The walk-off apart it was another great season for Procter, who hit two magnificent centuries off the touring International Wanderers team. Surrey professional Robin Jackman teamed up with Procter to provide Rhodesia with a fearsome opening attack and between them they accounted for 100 wickets in eleven matches. Procter took 60 first-class wickets at a cost of 17,48 runs apiece and scored 870 runs at an average of 48,33 to make another outstanding contribution to Rhodesian cricket.

The following season, 1973-74, Procter again captained Rhodesia in eight Currie Cup matches and one friendly. Perhaps their run had been too good to last and Rhodesia finished the season without a single Currie Cup victory, losing three and drawing five matches. Rhodesia's batsmen were the main culprits as once again the bowlers did very well. That season they did not concede a single century to any other province. Some of Procter's better figures included: 17,4-4-42-4 against Natal, and 16-7-19-3 and 18,1-6-43-4 against Western Province.

A knee injury prevented Procter from playing any real part in Rhodesia's Currie Cup bid in 1974-75. He played — in constant pain — in only one match, against Western Province at Newlands, scoring 64 runs in a partnership of 125 with Keith Tattersall. The injury was severe and seriously threatened his career as a fast bowler.

The knee had troubled him once before, but an operation at Bristol put him on the road to recovery. Some sceptics doubted whether he would be able to bowl at his previous pace,but Procter, with typical determination, later proved them to be wrong.

He did not bowl much for Rhodesia in 1975-76, taking only 10 wickets in the entire season but he produced some good performances with the bat including 121 n.o. and 77 against Eastern Province at Port Elizabeth. That century helped to break a Rhodesian record for a third-wicket partnership which had stood for 23 years. Procter and Stuart Robertson scored 226 runs in 229 minutes, beating the old mark of 211.

It was his last contribution to the Rhodesia cricket record books as in March 1976 he told the Rhodesia Cricket Union he would not be returning the following season to take up a further contract

Rhodesia Cricket Union vice-president Alwyn Pichanick, said at the time: "The contribution which Mike Procter has made to Rhodesian cricket speaks for itself.

"He was responsible for injecting completely new thinking into the game and he gave the other players confidence in themselves.

"From my relationship with him as manager of the Rhodesian team when he was captain, I know we could never have asked for a player who gave more for Rhodesia. He always gave everything and he's going to be a terrible loss."

Procter went back to Gloucestershire for his tenth season in the English County championship and after that returned to South Africa for the 1976-77 Currie Cup season. He played for Natal — his original home province — and during the season became the most prolific wicket-taker in Currie Cup history, beating Jack Waddington's record of 317.

The complete professional, Procter performed at such a consistently high level for Gloucestershire that the county was commonly referred to as 'Proctershire'.

His overall efforts for Rhodesia were equally spectacular. In five seasons Procter played 46 matches and his respective batting and bowling achievements were:No man made more impact on the Rhodesian cricket scene than Springbok all-rounder Michael John Procter, who was contracted to play for the country in a world 'scoop' achieved by the Rhodesia Cricket Union in May 1970.

The acquisition of Procter, then not only one of the world's quickest fast bowlers but also a batsman of the highest order, came at a crucial time for Rhodesian cricket.

In the 1969-70 South African season, Rhodesia had fared poorly, finishing last in the Currie Cup table and as a result the team had been relegated to the B Section of the competition for the following season.

Procter burst into the Rhodesian cricket scene like an express train out of a tunnel. Few cricket followers will forget the sight of the well-built blond Springbok turning from his mark near the boundary boards . . . the awesome run-up . . . the open-chested delivery stride . . . the roared appeal with arms open wide, reaching for the sky.

His debut season for Rhodesia was, to say the least spectacular. While Procter the bowler was effective, Procter the batsman was magnificent and he amassed 956 runs — the highest total of the 1970-71 South African season — at an average of 119,50.

But more important Procter equalled the world record of six successive centuries in first class matches. This feat had been achieved only twice before, by cricketing greats C. B. Fry in 1901 and Sir Donald Bradman in 1938-39.

The runs that flowed from Procters bat that season sparked a tremendous revival of interest in the game in Rhodesia. The country's demotion to B Section had come as a great blow, and attendances at home matches would probably have dropped had not Procter come onto the scene.

The spotlight focused sharply on Procter and Rhodesian cricket when, after his fourth successive hundred, the national Press drew attention to the fact that a world record was within reach.

Procter began his record-equalling run of innings with a sharp 119 against Natal B at Bulawayo. At the Police Ground, Salisbury, he took 129 off Transvaal B and followed this with 107 against Free State at Bloemfontein, 174 off North Eastern Transvaal in Pretoria and 106 in Rhodesia's final Currie Cup fixture against Griqualand West at Kimberley.

Fortunately Rhodesia had one remaining fixture that season — a friendly against Western Province at Salisbury and the South African Cricket Association confirmed that the match had first-class status.

So Procter had his chance and the scene was set for a thrilling finish to a successful season at Salisbury's Police Ground, where crowds flocked to see for themselves if 'Mighty Mike' could do it once more and write his name into the record books.

Thousands of hearts missed a beat when Procter, after coming to the wicket with Rhodesia poorly placed, having lost three wickets with only five runs on the board, snicked a catch to slips early in his innings.

The catch went to the Western Province captain, Andre Bruyns, who after juggling the ball three times, finally dropped it — much to the relief not only of Procter, but his many supporters in the stands.

This close shave did not deter him, and with Stuart Robertson batting well at the other end, Rhodesia got on top of the bowling and shortly after two o'clock that afternoon the great moment came. Procter hit Mike Bowditch for three to reach his sixth successive century and then proceeded to tear the attack apart. He finished with 254 and Rhodesia beat Province by seven wickets. It was Procter's highest first-class score.

Rhodesia were duly promoted back into the A Section of Currie Cup for the 1971-72 season, when Procter took over the captaincy from Ray Gripper in the third match against Transvaal at the Wanderers.

Obviously relishing his new post, Procter was in magnificent form and, bowling at full pace, he was largely responsible for Transvaal crashing to 31-7. At one stage his analysis read: 6-0-7-5 and he finished with 16-2-32-7 as Rhodesia inflicted the first provincial defeat on Transvaal since 1963, when Ali Bacher had taken over as captain.

Procter led the team for the remaining four matches that season, and of the five games, Rhodesia won four and drew one. They beat Western Province by seven wickets, Transvaal by nine wickets. Natal by 22 runs and Northern Transvaal by 176 runs

Other bowling figures returned by Procter included 21-11-25-3 against Eastern Province and 26,2-5-70-5 and 10,5-4-9-5 against Western Province. He finished the season with 52 wickets from eight matches and Rhodesia were placed second in the Currie Cup competition by two points to Transvaal. Ironically the Rhodesians had won more matches than any other side in the competition but with a better aggregate of batting bonus points, Transvaal squeaked home.

It was a fine performance from a team which in the previous season had been in the B Section. Much of the credit was due to Procter who led by example and, aided by his pleasant extrovert personality and enthusiasm, motivated the remainder of the team to greater achievements.

Procter had instilled confidence in a team which often lacked faith in its abilit against the top South African provinces, but the following 1972-73 season saw Rhodesia deprived — by a South African Cricket Association boardroom decision — of winning the Currie Cup for the first time.

At the start of the season Procter had been adamant that the Currie Cup would cross the Limpopo. His prediction was given more weight when Rhodesia beat the champions, Transvaal, by 113 runs in the opening match at the Queens Ground at Bulawayo.

It was an unusual match, with Procter coming to the fore in the later stages by scoring 65 in the Rhodesian second innings, by the end of which Transvaal needed 311 from their second innings to win.

Procter quickly removed one of the Transvaal batsmen in his opening overs of pace, but with Ali Bacher and Brian Bath playing well, the tide began to turn in Transvaal's favour. Procter was not to be outdone, however, and switching to off- spinners he captured eight of the remaining Transvaal wickets to finish with his career's best figures 36,1-17-71-9.

Such was the versatility of this great player, who for several years was rated as the best all-rounder in the world.

The next match Rhodesia drew against Natal at Salisbury, and then came the game that was to cause controversy, not only in Southern Africa but everywhere the game is played, because the decision of the umpires was reversed.

Eastern Province, led by Lorrie Wilmot were the opponents at the Bulawayo Queens Ground over 18,19 and 20 November. It was one of the most absorbing contests in the history of Currie Cup as Easterns totalled 301, and Rhodesia, saved by a late stand between Robin Jackman and Paddy Clift, replied with 261.

A second innings of 283-9 enabled Wilmot to set Rhodesia a testing target of 324 for victory in 240 minutes and the compulsory 20 overs in the last hour. Typically, Procter decided Rhodesia would go for runs — they had everything to gain and nothing to lose.

The top order batsmen rose to the occasion with Jimmy Mitchell, Stuart Robertson, Peter Carlstein and Howie Gardiner playing innings that kept Rhodesia in the hunt and up with the clock.

With Procter in great form and six runs required for victory with an over left for play. Wilmot led his team off the field. After calling play three times the umpires awarded Rhodesia the match and the 10 points for an outright victory. Those vital points were subsequently taken away when the SACA overruled the umpires' decision so that Rhodesia finished fourth in the Currie Cup competition with 79 points. Transvaal won with 84 points. The 10 points from the Eastern's match would have given Rhodesia the Cup by a clear five points.

Procter was very upset by the incident and more so by the SACA decision to reverse the umpires' ruling. The confusion arose over the exact start of the final 20 overs, due to begin after tea at 4.45 p.m. But the umpires wpre in position a minute before then and according to the rules, the last over before the interval had then to be bowled. One of the umpires indicated this by raising a finger which the other misinterpreted to mean the first of the 20 compulsory overs.

During the drinks interval, the umpires held a short discussion and the Press and scorers were told that the first of the 20 overs was to begin after tea. Procter and Wilmot were then told of the decision, and Wilmot maintained that the umpires could not change their minds as he had been informed that the over before tea was the first

At the end of the 19th over after tea, Wilmot led his side off the field with Rhodesia a frustrating six runs away from a thrilling victory and Procter, who had the strike, was in rampant form with 66 not out It was an unsatisfactory end to a thrilling day's play, and it later cost Rhodesia dearly.

The walk-off apart it was another great season for Procter, who hit two magnificent centuries off the touring International Wanderers team. Surrey professional Robin Jackman teamed up with Procter to provide Rhodesia with a fearsome opening attack and between them they accounted for 100 wickets in eleven matches. Procter took 60 first-class wickets at a cost of 17,48 runs apiece and scored 870 runs at an average of 48,33 to make another outstanding contribution to Rhodesian cricket.

The following season, 1973-74, Procter again captained Rhodesia in eight Currie Cup matches and one friendly. Perhaps their run had been too good to last and Rhodesia finished the season without a single Currie Cup victory, losing three and drawing five matches. Rhodesia's batsmen were the main culprits as once again the bowlers did very well. That season they did not concede a single century to any other province. Some of Procter's better figures included: 17,4-4-42-4 against Natal, and 16-7-19-3 and 18,1-6-43-4 against Western Province.

A knee injury prevented Procter from playing any real part in Rhodesia's Currie Cup bid in 1974-75. He played — in constant pain — in only one match, against Western Province at Newlands, scoring 64 runs in a partnership of 125 with Keith Tattersall. The injury was severe and seriously threatened his career as a fast bowler.

The knee had troubled him once before, but an operation at Bristol put him on the road to recovery. Some sceptics doubted whether he would be able to bowl at his previous pace,but Procter, with typical determination, later proved them to be wrong.

He did not bowl much for Rhodesia in 1975-76, taking only 10 wickets in the entire season but he produced some good performances with the bat including 121 n.o. and 77 against Eastern Province at Port Elizabeth. That century helped to break a Rhodesian record for a third-wicket partnership which had stood for 23 years. Procter and Stuart Robertson scored 226 runs in 229 minutes, beating the old mark of 211.

It was his last contribution to the Rhodesia cricket record books as in March 1976 he told the Rhodesia Cricket Union he would not be returning the following season to take up a further contract

Rhodesia Cricket Union vice-president Alwyn Pichanick, said at the time: "The contribution which Mike Procter has made to Rhodesian cricket speaks for itself.

"He was responsible for injecting completely new thinking into the game and he gave the other players confidence in themselves.

"From my relationship with him as manager of the Rhodesian team when he was captain, I know we could never have asked for a player who gave more for Rhodesia. He always gave everything and he's going to be a terrible loss."

Procter went back to Gloucestershire for his tenth season in the English County championship and after that returned to South Africa for the 1976-77 Currie Cup season. He played for Natal — his original home province — and during the season became the most prolific wicket-taker in Currie Cup history, beating Jack Waddington's record of 317.

The complete professional, Procter performed at such a consistently high level for Gloucestershire that the county was commonly referred to as 'Proctershire'.

His overall efforts for Rhodesia were equally spectacular. In five seasons Procter played 46 matches and his respective batting and bowling achievements were:

81 innings; 6 not outs; 3 662 runs; 254 highest score; 48,83 average.
8 381 balls; 378 maidens; 3 445 runs; 186 wickets; 18,52 average.


For Rhodesia, Procter scored 11 centuries, 17 half-centuries and took 52 catches. He took five wickets in an innings eight times and 10 wickets in a match three times. His total of 186 wickets is beaten by Joe Partridge, Percy Mansell, Goofy Lawrence and Jack du Preez but on average they played three times as many seasons as Procter. As a short-term contribution, Procter's achievements
were outstanding.

Procter was twice named as Rhodesia's Sportsman of the Year, in 1971 and 1972, and he was a serious contender in 1973 as well.

It was unfortunate that Procter's Test career was curtailed by South Africa's political problems, but he did play for the Springboks against two Australian sides in 1966-67 and 1969-70. His Test debut was against Bob Simpson's side in the third match of the series and Procter finished with match figures of 7-98. Although his efforts with the bat were not spectacular he impressed as a bowler and picked up six wickets in the fourth Test.

Against Bill Lawry's side two seasons later, Procter averaged over 30 with the bat and took 26 wickets in the four-Test series with best Test career bowling figures of 6-73. Playing for Western Province against the Australians, Procter slammed 155 in 130 minutes with nine sixes, including five from successive balls in one over from Ashley Mallett. He went from 100 to 150 in only twelve minutes.

— McDERMOTT.

End

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Thursday, 18 October 2012

Iain Forsyth Buchanan



When Iain Buchanan proudly led Zimbabwe on to the field at the Wanderers, Johannesburg, on 5 July 1980, he became the most capped player in the nation's rugby history. It was his 73rd appearance for his country, beating lock forward Rob Stewart's record of 72 caps set in 1979, after which he emigrated to South Africa.

Buchanan's record is more than an impressive statistic, for he has proved himself to be one of the most durable players ever to step onto a Southern African rugby field. A short, solidly built man, he is driven by a fierce sense of competitiveness and patriotism and sustained by an excess of courage that has long been admired by local rugby fans.

Despite some appalling batterings behind a pack that was often not comparable to the juggernaut combinations of the major South African provinces, the nuggety scrum-half with the full beard, endured it all. As he became the most capped player in the land, he had not been substituted in any of his 73 games — testimony to his courage and extraordinary durability.

To this plucky Matabele at the outset of the 1980 season went the signal honour of captaining the very first team to play for the newly independent nation of Zimbabwe. Although former All Black, Kevin Eveleigh, had been appointed team captain — replacing Buchanan midway through the 1979 season — he was rested for the opening match of a three-game South African tour and it was Buchanan who led Zimbabwe to 39-6 victory over Eastern Free State at Goble Park, Bethlehem on 17 May. Eveleigh then resumed the leadership, but he was clearly struggling with his own form after a serious knee injury the previous season, and the captaincy was restored to a delighted Buchanan after a series of dismal performances by the national team. These included a galling 18-35 loss to lowly Eastern Transvaal at Springs, and an unimpressive 24-24 draw with Northern Free State at Kroonstad.

It was a wonder that Buchanan was playing rugby at all. After the 1979 season he broke his right ankle during a stint in the Army and had to have three steel pins inserted. It was widely predicted that his rugby career lay in ruins and that Zimbabwe would have to search for a new scrum-half — a serious problem. But the pessimists had not reckoned with the Buchanan spirit and, quite typically, he bounced back, playing gingerly at first to test the suspect ankle and then once again giving his very soul to the national team's cause and again proving his remarkable tenacity and toughness.

For such a man who had served his country so splendidly and so proudly, it was most fitting that he should create history by captaining the very first Zimbabwe team and that he should overcome a fearful injury to become the most capped player against Transvaal. This was his 47th successive game for the country, his unbroken run stretching back to August 1976 when he was recalled to play against Eastern Transvaal at Salisbury. And so it was that on 9 August 1980 at Bloemfontein. 'Bucky earned his 50th successive cap to rank alongside Stewart as one of the only two to have reached this mark in unbroken national matches.

Another record by Buchanan is certain to remain intact for many years. The match against Transvaal at Bulawayo on 23 August was his 43rd as captain and he was fast approaching making his mark as the first man to lead the national team 50 times. Rob Mundell's 23 captaincies are second on the record list stretching from 1968 to 1971, while Des van Jaarsveldt led Rhodesia 19 times and John Morkel 13 times.

Iain Forsyth Buchanan was bom at Bulawayo on 15 July 1949 and was educated at Northlea School, playing 1 st XV rugby for a remarkable four years. He was chosen for the Craven Week national schools team in 1966 and 1968, and for Rhodesia under-20 in 1969, his first year out of school, when he began his impressive club career for Old Miltonians.

In his early days he faced the twin-pronged challenge of competing for a berth in the national senior team with two of the country's most outstanding scrumhalves — Ted Alexander (1964-71) and the brilliant Des Christian (1972-76), surely one of the unluckiest players to have been denied a Springbok cap. When Alexander was injured, Buchanan, at the age of twenty-one, made his debut
against Griqualand West at the Salisbury Police Ground in a Currie Cup match which was lost 14-16 by Rhodesia. He also played in the Pretoria friendly the same year against Northern Transvaal (lost 18-35) to be well and truly initiated into big time rugby.

Buchanan turned out in the green and white three times in 1972, including a tragically violent match against the famous Welsh club Cardiff, in which three men were sent off. two of them Rhodesians. With the brilliant Gareth Edwards at scrum- half, Cardiff won 24-6 with superbly fluid play and top-class backing up.

Des Christian held the national captaincy in 1973 — a highly successful year, when the brand of open rugby nurtured by coach lan Mcintosh over three seasons was beginning to have its effect. After drawing 27-27 with Transvaal at Salisbury, Rhodesia went to Loftus Versfeld at Pretoria to face Northern Transvaal in the Currie Cup semifinal — the high point in the country's participation in this prestigious tournament. The first half belonged to the terrier-like Rhodesians and at the interval they led 3-0 through an Ian Robertson penalty, with eighthman Brian Murphy a tower of strength and inspiration. Christian was carried off on a stretcher and Buchanan came on as a substitute for the second time during the season — the only games he played that year. Eventually the stunned Northern Transvalers clicked and harvested 16 points in 20 minutes to seal the game 20-7 and deny Rhodesia their first Currie Cup final.

With Christian suspended for a spell. Buchanan was drafted for the 1974 Currie Cup match against Border at Bulawayo and scored his first try in a rampaging 46-23 victory, the third biggest win ever by Rhodesia. But Christian was back to face the British Lions at Salisbury and 'Bucky' had to sit on the substitutes' bench until he again took over for the three final games of the season after Christian was injured.

Christian was again the man in possession for the opening two games of 1975 before he was dropped and, for the first time, Buchanan made the scrum-half berth his own, starting with the 26-18 victory over Boland at Hartsfield. when he led Rhodesia for the first time. The team consisted of: L Duberly; E. Barrett. J. Harris. J. Loots, D. Arnott; M. Falconer, I. Buchanan; M. Banfield, S. McKenna, P. Abbot, P. Atkinson, M. Snyman, M. Jakobi, G. Smith, B. Murphy.

For the next six seasons, right through 1980, 'Bucky was to be first-choice scrum-half, save for a four-match spell midway through the 1976 season when he sat on the subs' bench and the wily Christian returned. It was a temporary setback for the tough-as-teak Matabele and after returning against Eastern Transvaal at Salisbury on 21 September 1976, he was never again-dropped by his country.

But he had lost the captaincy to Brian Murphy and Ian Robertson for the final games of 1976, while former All Black, Alan Sutherland, led throughout a distinguished 1977 season which rejuvenated Rhodesian rugby.

After beating Natal 18-13 at Durban, Rhodesia scored a sensational 18-9 upset victory over Morne du Plessis's Western Province in a thrill-packed Currie Cup game at the Salisbury Police Ground, a match that marked the debut of twenty-year-old winger Ray Mordt, who scored a dazzling debut try from his own ten-metre line.

Rhodesia's line-up that joyous day was: L Lachenicht: E. Barrett, P. Einhorn, D. Smith, R. Mordt; F. Inocco, I. Buchanan; M. Banfield, C. Rogers, R. Halsted, N. Topping, T. Ferreira, R. Stewart, K. Schlachter, A. Sutherland (capt.). For vice- captain Buchanan it was the high spot of his long career.

Despite his obvious qualities and class, Buchanan continued to be over- looked by the Springbok selectors as a trialist and he was not among the six of Sutherland's team to be invited to the 1977 trials. But even those who attended were given a raw deal, Smith and Delport — two of the outstanding backs in the country — being relegated to the D side for the final day. Stormed Sutherland: "The selectors can't see the forest for trees. They have blatantly overlooked the Rhodesian players. If Delport and Smith can't get into three sides. I really don't know. If there are better players I have not seen them. Buchanan is better than any half-back he has played against and yet doesn't even get a trial... what more can a Rhodesian do?"

Brian Murphy took over as national coach and Buchanan was restored to the captaincy in 1978 when Sutherland joined Wits University. Buchanan set the tone for a successful season with the words: "The Sutherland era is history... we must get on with it now as Rhodesians." Another highly successful season ensued, including a 32-15 win over the American Cougars — the only international of Buchanan's career.

Buchanan continued to hold the reins of captaincy for the first eight matches of 1979 when, with Rhodesia under severe pressure and unable to get on the winning trail, he gave way to former All Black flanker Kevin Eveleigh for the final six games.

The epitome of a team man and a patriot, there was no bitterness from Buchanan. He continued to serve loyally and with total commitment and played a major role in the end-of-season 19-15 Currie Cup win over Natal at Durban — the most emotional match in the nation's rugby history. After a dismal season of depressing defeats there was little prospect of subduing Natal, but on the eve of the match came the tragic news that full back LeRoy Duberly had been killed in action.

He had been selected for the game but had been unable to travel because of his Army commitment and Eric Barrett had been drafted in his place.

It was a choked Buchanan, a close friend of Duberly's, who vowed the night before the match: "We will win this one for our mate ... I promise we will win it."

That unshakeable determination was evident in every player next day with Buchanan playing himself to near exhaustion. At the final whistle there were incredible scenes of pure joy. Some of the players wept openly, while 'Bucky', in a typical gesture, personally carried Eveleigh on his shoulders all the way to the changing-rooms.

There was still one more hurdle to clear — the fight to stay in the A Section of the Currie Cup in the promotion-relegation match against Griqualand West at Bulawayo. Buchanan's tenacity was again to the fore in that 25-12 victory, in which Ray Mordt scored three tries.

The year 1980, the birth of the world-recognised Zimbabwe, again saw Buchanan restored to the national captaincy. His enthusiasm was such that it could have been his very first cap. "I am as proud today to be playing for my country as I was in my first season," he said. "I will continue to give everything I've got." He was justly entrusted with the captaincy for Zimbabwe's first overseas tour to England in October 1980.

A few overdue honours came his way in the twilight of his career. In 1979 he toured South Africa as a reserve player with the World XV and was given a late call to face the British Lions at Durban for the South African Barbarians — a team which prides itself in choosing players with sportsmanship and flair. Although the team lost 25-14, Buchanan scored one of the Barbarians' three tries.

Such a man as Iain Forsyth Buchanan fully deserves to be honoured among the nation's greatest sportsmen. He ended 1980 with a total of 85 national caps, 50 as captain, having played 57 games in succession to equal Rob Stewart's record.

- BYROM.

End

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Wednesday, 17 October 2012

George Shaya



People walking along the dusty streets of Harare, Salisbury, in the late 1950s might have noticed a group of young boys eagerly kicking a home-made football. None would have believed that one of the boys was later to become a household name, respected by young and old alike.

The soccer career of George Shaya began in those Harare streets, where he played from dawn to dusk with a ball moulded out of paper and plastic bags. In 1980, after seventeen seasons of top football in Rhodesia, the diminutive Shaya was unquestionably the greatest locally produced player the country has known.

As a child, Shaya lived for football. By the time he moved into organised soccer at St. Paul's School at Mrewa, the street sessions with his friends in Harare paid dividends — his footwork, playing with makeshift balls, had developed to an amazingly high degree.

At St. Paul's he played for the school in the super league and his control and ball skills were of such a standard that he represented the Salisbury 'glamour' club. Dynamos, in senior soccer at the age of sixteen. This was the start of a glorious career with Dynamos, which team he eventually joined and later managed.

Shaya gave immaculate service to the club and was rewarded with a benefit match during the 1980 season. With them, Shaya earned the nickname 'Mastermind' which accurately summed up his role as a midfield general and creator of scoring movements.

In his own mind, his most exhilarating moment in soccer was scoring the goal that gave Dynamos the Castle Cup in the 1976 final against Zimbabwe Saints — his skill enabled him to swerve a direct free kick around the wall of defenders for a remarkable goal. But there have been many occasions when Shaya has put Dynamos on the winning trail.

The Herald soccer writer, Alan Hlatywayo, who was a former national player, wrote of Shaya in 1976: "When Shaya is out of the game. Dynamos are reduced to an ordinary team. When he is playing, all of the team's magic is woven around him." Others have called Shaya Rhodesia's Pele. Whatever the accolades, there was never any doubt about Shaya's outstanding ability, which, combined with his
power to create openings, made him stand out from other very good players.

Shaya was born at Salisbury on Christmas Eve in 1948, the second of eleven children. Although not the eldest, he always seemed to be leading the 'Shaya team' as the first-born son. Life was hard but his determination never faltered. It has never let him down on the soccer field.


One of the notable milestones in Shaya's career was his selection, at the age of twenty-one, for the Rhodesian World Cup team which played three qualifying round matches against Australia in the neutral venue of Mozambique in 1969. After two drawn games, Rhodesia lost the third and that was the last chance Shaya really had of furthering an international soccer career. Like the other sports,
Rhodesian soccer also suffered from political isolation.

But he did have a spell with one of the top South African professional clubs, Moroka Swallows, in 1975, and he gained another two international caps for Rhodesia in a series against South Africa in 1977.

After losing the first Test in South Africa 7-0, another honour came Shaya's way for the second Test at Salisbury — he was asked to captain the Rhodesian team. Always calm and collected it took him two months to accept the offer of leadership. "There was no reason. I just wanted to think about it, that's all," he said. His team improved dramatically and drew the second Test 1-1.

John Rugg (acting national soccer coach), had every confidence in Shaya: "He is an experienced player who commands great respect from the others and on the field he leads by example."

Although small in stature, Shaya always seemed to have vast reserves of energy and more than that, he was a true sportsman.

Shaya holds one record which may never be eclipsed. He was named Rhodesian Soccer Star of the Year on five occasions. He won the award for the first time in 1969 when his efforts for the national team against Australia were taken very much into account. He won it again in 1972,1974,1975 and 1977 to give the soccer players of the future a really difficult target to aim for — one that proved beyond doubt his consistently high standard over the years. Another honour was his selection as a finalist for the 1976 Rhodesian Sportsman of the Year award.

- McDERMOTT.

End

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Saturday, 13 October 2012

Ian William Robertson



Fanatical dedication, fierce determination and a brilliant natural talent have established Ian William Robertson as one of the most successful international sportsmen this country has produced.

His uncompromising search for perfection in the rugged arena of Rugby Union often plunged him into bitter controversy. At times he was justifiably ranked among the 'Superbrats' of international sport. On other occasions he was a humble, self-effacing man who would sacrifice anything for team and country.

Above all he had a 'professional' approach in one of the toughest amateur sports in the world.

His international career has come to an end - painfully halted under a bone- jarring tackle playing for Zimbabwe Rhodesia against Transvaal at Salisbury in 1979 The injury has proved critical to his international career and with his broken wrist still not wholly mended, it seems unlikely that Robertson will play first-class rugby again.

Another factor persuaded him to retire.

After having played in five internationals for South Africa against France and New Zealand, playing Test rugby is no longer the most important thing in his life.

"The most important day of my life was when 1 married my wife Sonia .. . and the next most important days of my life were the births of our two sons Brendon and Gareth. Playing rugby at international level is now therefore the fourth most important thing to have happened to me," he said.

Robertson's first-class career started when he was a precocious nineteen- year-old in his first year after finishing his schooling at Prince Edward School at Salisbury. In his first senior season he quickly established himself as a regular member of Old Hararians First XV and earned a reputation as being a super-cool full back in a team that was later to develop into one of the strongest club sides in Southern Africa.

Under the expert guidance of team-mate Brian Murphy, who is regarded by Robertson as one of the greatest players and thinkers in the game, the flame- haired teenager made his Rhodesian debut in that 1969 season — against South West Africa.

He came into the side to replace regular full back Chuck Sawyer, who had to withdraw because of illness. The critics of the day described his debut as a quiet, efficient game stamped with class. He went on to play two further matches during the season.

This ice-cool approach developed into full-blooded brilliance during the next season (1970) when he played five games for Rhodesia, including an international against the touring All Blacks at Salisbury.

After three matches in 1971, Robertson ran foul of the rugby authorities in Rhodesia and became disillusioned about his future in a country that appeared to be completely isolated from world-class competition. He believed that to fulfil his boyhood dream and lifelong ambition of playing for the Springboks, he would have to move to South Africa. He took the plunge and emigrated to Johannesburg where he played for Transvaal B. During that year — on 2 June — he was married to Sonia (née Chick) and was home in time for the start of the 1973 season.

"I gambled on getting a lucky break. The gamble did not come off and I came back to Rhodesia. The experience was tremendous though," he said of his move.

During the 1973 season Robertson was to play a vital part in a season still regarded as one of the best in the country's rugby history. Under the captaincy of wiry scrum-half Des Christian, the Rhodesians played ten matches — six Currie Cup, three friendlies and an international against Italy.

During that season, Robertson was one of only three men who played all ten matches. The others were Christian and front row iron man, Dick Coleshaw.

The national side was in its third season of the Ian McIntosh era in which the dynamic Matabele had carefully cultivated an exciting brand of open, running rugby based on Welsh influences. Robertson was a vital cog in that pattern as a full back with devastating aggression and flair in attack.

For the first six matches of the season he stuck to full back with the selectors battling for the right half-back combination by using first Mike Swanson and then Terry Bowes at fly-half.

Against Eastern Province at Salisbury, Robertson was brought into the side at pivot in place of Bowes and immediately stamped his class and authority on the position — an undeniable versatility which was later to earn him Springbok colours as a centre in three internationals.

That 1973 season saw the Rhodesian side through to the Currie Cup semifinal against Northern Transvaal at Pretoria with Robertson gathering 81 points in the year from 3 tries, 10 penalties, 15 conversions and 3 dropped goals.

The next season he reverted to full back, partly due to his own preference in preparing for a crack at forcing his way into the Springbok Test team to take on the mighty British Lions under Willie-John McBride.

The season started well with Rhodesia putting up a brave show in going down to Free State in a friendly, and Robertson snatching victory from defeat with a brilliant solo effort in the dying minutes of the game against Lancashire. From well inside his own half he engineered a move that he himself rounded off with a try under the posts and a conversion for a breathtaking 21-20 win against the powerful British touring county that included the 1980 Lions captain, Billy Beaumont

The season lacked the same glamour and glory as 1973 and Robertson was shamefully overlooked for a berth in the South African side for the Lions series. He missed the last match of the season with a badly sprained ankle.

His only consolation had been in the previous season when he played for the South African XV on the internal tour and for the South African Barbarians against Free State.

He had been invited to the Springbok training-camp before the Lions tour but had subsequently been ignored.

Compensation was to come later that year when Robertson became the first Rhodesian since Andy Macdonald to be chosen for South Africa. His place in the short tour to France was as a reserve full back but he made his Springbok debut in Lyons at centre and scored a try. He went on to play both Tests as a match-winning foil to the powerful Johan Oosthuizen, and was the top try-scorer on tour.

"I was lucky. I was in the right tour at the right time and got my chance," he said of his success.

The next season was to prove an unhappy one. Robertson, in a typical outburst of scorn and contempt for anything less than the perfection he always strove for. again fell foul of rugby authorities in Rhodesia, and at the start of the season was suspended for four weeks. He missed the opening match — a compulsory friendly against South Eastern Transvaal at Witbank in which Rhodesia crashed 10-21 to the lowly country side — and then, in keeping with his Springbok reputation, was brought in for the next match at centre. A badly twisted ankle in the second half of this game against Public School Wanderers ended his season for Rhodesia.

In June 1974, he announced that he was leaving Rhodesia to settle in Cape Town.

"I was first approached with job offers when I travelled to France with the Springboks ... now that I have had time to settle down after the tour I have had more time to think about it I have been made a very attractive offer from Cape Town that I would be silly to turn down."

Robertson admitted that he had been influenced in his decision to move to the Cape after his recent clash with the authorities.

He left with a broadside at Rhodesian rugby.

"Something is missing in Rhodesian rugby at the moment. I know players who have lost their pride in wearing their Rhodesian colours," he said.

In some respects, Robertson's criticism was justified. After the euphoria of the 1973 season, the side had slipped during 1974. and during 1975 the Rhodesians managed only two victories in eleven matches — both against Boland with the final match being a game to avoid relegation from the A Section of the Currie Cup.

In Cape Town Robertson played for the mighty Villagers and in August 1975 made his debut for Western Province at full back against Eastern Province. His second spell in South Africa matured the man and the player.

When he returned to Rhodesia at the beginning of 1976, once again he became an automatic first choice for the national side. A hamstring injury prevented his return debut in the first match and he suffered several set-backs during the rest of the season as the result of illness and injury. But 1976 was to be Robertson's greatest.

He became the first Rhodesian since Ronnie Hill in 1963. to be selected for the Springboks for a home series against an international touring side. He was chosen at centre for the Test against Andy Leslie's All Blacks at Durban but was switched to full back when Dawie Snyman was forced to withdraw at the last minute. Robertson's home international debut was a dream — he turned in a rock-solid display in defence and was prominent in several raking attacks that steered South Africa to a convincing 16-7 victory. He rounded off this performance with a magnificent long-range drop goal to complete the Springbok tally.

In a shock move for the second Test Robertson was switched to the centre and even more surprising, after a creditable performance, he was relegated to the substitutes' bench for the third Test at Newlands.

The reshuffle by the South African selectors was slated by the rugby-crazy public and the Press. Andy Leslie was prompted to comment: "I consider Ian Robertson to be South Africa's best back."

Jonty Winch, in his book, Rhodesia Rugby — a history of the national side 1898-1979 wrote:

A delighted Robertson was brought back (for the fourth Test at Ellis Park) and Mike Shafto commented from Johannesburg: "Better late than never goes the saying. And it's one that aptly describes the Springbok rugby selectors' welcome choice of Rhodesia's full back ahead of Dawie
Snyman for the fourth and final Test against the All Blacks at Ellis Park". Robertson added that he was particularly pleased to be at full back because it was the position to which he was accustomed but he must have been even happier in the knowledge that he was at last regarded as South Africa's first choice in that position.

At the end of the series, Robertson and Rhodesian colleague 'Spike' McKenna, were invited to play for a World XV against Cardiff in the famous club's centenary match at the National Stadium before a fantastic Welsh crowd of 25 000. For Robertson it was a significant indication of his high rating in the rugby world and a just reward for his supreme dedication to the game. Before leaving to play for the World XV, Robertson intimated what sacrifices have to be made in order to reach the top in a demanding sport such as rugby:

"Since 1969 I have trained as hard as I think is possible in trying to achieve my ambitions. I have trained through every off season ... I can honestly say that I haven't missed ten days of training in all that time and I've never taken a holiday. I was determined to succeed."

Robertson at full back was immaculate in all he did and was a tremendous credit to Rhodesia. Eminent critics raved over his play while J. B. G. Thomas rated him as the second best full back in the world after the great J. P. R. Williams Thomas went on to say: "Ian Robertson played the game of his life. His catching in the rain with a slippery ball was superb, and his running in attack showed just what a South African does with encouragement."

The renowned Sunday Times of London, rugby specialist, Vivian Jenkins wrote: "Robertson was an outstanding success, drawing volumes of cheers from the crowd. He showed by his superlative fielding of the wet ball and splendid attacking runs, with swerves and dummies interlaced, why it is that South Africa play him at full back or centre, with equal facility."

Robertson went on that season to captain Rhodesia on two occasions — for the first time against Eastern Transvaal at Salisbury after Murphy had announced his retirement and replacement skipper Colin Blythe-Wood had been forced to withdraw due to injury. It was something of a nightmare in which Rhodesia scrambled to an 18-13 victory to move out of danger of relegation. But for Robertson it was a stirring and proud moment as he reached so desperately close to faultless perfection in a game that he completely dominated as an individual. He finished the season by captaining the side to a narrow but thrilling defeat at the hands of Western Province at Bulawayo.

Robertson started the 1977 season in blistering form. As a guest of the New Zealand Rugby Union he played two matches in that country — an invitation which had been extended to him after the fourth Test at Johannesburg in 1976. In distinguished company he played well and in the second match of that brief visit he scored five penalties. He cut short his visit to join Old Hararians on a club tour to Cape Town only to come back to Salisbury and announce that he was to retire from the game.

"It's time that I repaid some loyalty and compliments to my wife and family. She has given up so much for me and my sport. I really can't say enough about how important Sonia's support has been to me. We've rarely gone out at nights because getting the right amount of sleep has been important to me and she has never complained . . . she is the greatest."

Robertson also spelled out how his career and livelihood had suffered through his total dedication to the game. However, under considerable pressure from the national selectors he agreed to play for Rhodesia in the Currie Cup match against Free State — a game in which he kicked a penalty, a conversion and a drop goal. After that match he stuck to his guns to concentrate on his career and devote more time to his family. Former All Black, Allan Sutherland led the national side through a dynamic campaign in which results were mixed but satisfying.

After the first few games of 1978, Robertson came back into the game to take over as fly-half and by the end of the season had done enough to prove beyond doubt that he was the best fly-half in Southern Africa.

And so to the 1979 season, those first six games and that career-shattering injury against Transvaal.

During his career Robertson was capped 56 times for Rhodesia; he holds the record for the greatest number of points in a season (120) and the most points gained in a game (30 points against South Western districts in a Currie Cup match at Bulawayo in 1974). His career total of 437 points from 12 tries, 60 penalties, 21 drop goals, and 73 conversions is more than 130 points better than the next man — Terry Bowes (304).

Robertson played 12 games for South Africa — 5 of them Tests. He played 8 games for the Junior Springboks, 4 matches in the South African XV, twice for the South African Barbarians, once for a combined Quaggas/Barbarians team and once for the Quaggas side. He played first-class invitation matches in Cardiff and in New Zealand. He was also capped for Western Province.

Robertson was born at Salisbury on 28 April 1950. At Prince Edward School he played in the First XV for two years and in the Craven Week side in 1968. He made his Mashonaland debut at the 1969 tournament

His club-playing career has been largely dedicated to Old Hararians with brief spells at Johannesburg and Cape Town.

- STREAK.

End

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Lucie Olver


Not often has Rhodesia walked away with the laurels in a major South African sporting championship. To do so twice in one year was a truly remarkable achievement by diminutive Bulawayo bowler, Lucie Olver.

'Little Lu', as she is known to her colleagues, in 1975 became the first bowler — man or woman — to win the South African national singles title, and the South African Masters singles in the same year. When she clinched the first leg of this historic double with a victory over fellow Rhodesian Flo Kennedy in the Masters final at Pretoria, it was a bitter-sweet moment for the brave Lucie. Her husband, Pat Springett, had passed away in November the previous year and she had played little bowls in the ensuing four months.

She had strongly considered withdrawing from the prestige invitation line-up of the top sixteen singles players in Southern Africa and even wrote to former Bulawayo administrator, Nellie Banet (a Springbok selector) asking if she was right to keep a player like reserve Pauline Price out of the tournament. Nellie and many of her friends told Lucie she owed it to her late husband to play and when she brought back the coveted trophy she said simply: "At least Pat's name is on the cup."

Few people know of the indomitable courage Lucie showed in winning this Masters tournament on the Berea Park greens. On top of her bereavement, she had undergone an operation two weeks before travelling to Pretoria.

"After the operation I was able to have a complete rest," she said. "I was fully relaxed when I came out of hospital twelve days before going to Pretoria and I played the most consistent bowls of my life. When it was all over my sister Merrill rushed on to the green and I'm afraid we both got rather emotional when she hugged me."

It was her fifth appearance in the Masters — she had been runner-up in her first tournament in 1971 — and showed the high esteem in which she was held in Southern African bowls.

Her triumphant double was completed at Observatory Park at Johannesburg when, in spectacular fashion, she swept aside Springbok, Pauline Price, 21-11 in 15 ends to win the South African singles final. But 1975 was to bring Lucie even more honours when she was selected to play in all three Tests for South Africa against England — she and Thelma Ault, also of Bulawayo, thus becoming the first Rhodesians to win Springbok colours for women's bowls. It was a happy series
with South Africa winning 2-1.

Lucie Olver's remarkable year made her a strong contender for the Rhodesian Sportsman of the Year award and she was chosen as one of the five finalists, being denied the John Hopley Memorial Trophy by the golfing duo of George Harvey and Denis Watson, who won the world amateur pairs championship at Bogota. Her record in Rhodesia, South Africa and now Zimbabwe is probably without parallel.

She was a member of the winning team in the South African inter-districts tournament in 1968 and 1969, and was in the teams which finished runners-up in 1970, 1973 and 1976.

In 1973, she won the Silver Medal in the South African Games singles, when she lost to Mavis Steele of England, and won a Bronze Medal (with Thelma Ault and Flo Kennedy) for finishing third as a team. All three played in the singles and Lucie played with Thelma as a pair.

Apart from her three singles successes in the national championships, she also holds two Gold Medals for fours and one for pairs. In 1964, just four years after starting to play bowls, and two years after arriving in Bulawayo, she led for Bernice Denyer in the Raylton fours which won the title (Nancy Rose and Beth Haiden completed the line-up).

In 1980, the day after her fiftieth birthday, she skipped a Raylton team of Ethel Boucher, Doris de Klerk and Pat Holland to victory to win her second fours Gold Medal.

In between, she won the pairs with de Klerk in 1968 — the same year in which she won her first singles crown.

She has never played in the triples at the national championships — the only event she needs to complete the Grand Slam, achieved by few players to date.

She reached the quarter-finals of the South African singles at Johannesburg in March 1968, and played for Bulawayo Raylton in the Districts Trophy at the championships. At Bulawayo sub-district level, she won the fours title in 1969, the pairs (again with Doris de Klerk) in 1974 and the singles in 1973. She was Bulawayo champion of club champions in 1972.

In the Rhodesian 'Masters' (known as the Champion of Singles Champions tournament) she beat Flo Kennedy for the title in 1976, and was runner-up to Anna Whatling a year later. She won the Matabeleland Open Pairs (with de Klerk) in 1978 and with Isobel Walkden in 1975.

At club level, she won the Bulawayo Raylton singles in 1965, 1966, 1969, 1971,1972,1975 and 1976, the pairs in 1967, the triples in 1974 and the rinks in 1965, 1966, 1968 and 1978.

It's a sobering fact that Lucie, had she not been an asthmatic as a child, may never have played bowls.

She played no sport at school at Ladysmith, Natal, and it was in 1960 when she and husband Pat Springett were living in Broken Hill in the then Northern Rhodesia, that a doctor suggested she should get out into the open air — and she joined the bowls section of the Broken Hill Railway Club.

The Springett's closest friends there were Ernie and Doris de Klerk — and it was Doris who took Little Lu in hand as a bowler after Jack Hopwood (now at the Bulawayo Bowling Club) taught her the rudiments of the game.

In two years at Broken Hill, Lucie and Doris won a number of events — but it was when the Springetts were transferred to Bulawayo in 1962 that the career of the woman who was to make South African bowling history really took off.

Personal tragedy struck again in 1978, when her second husband, well- known sportsman and broadcaster, Syd Olver, died. This was a shattering blow that saw the heart-broken Lucie step out of the bowling limelight again — but she was persuaded to put her name forward for selection to the South African inter district tournament in 1979 and she was chosen to play third to Mary Philp.

On the eve of the tournament, Lucie's bowling life was again tinged with tragedy. Mary Philp's son Stuart died — and Lucie, back in big-time bowls after an absence, was pitch-forked into skipping one of the Rhodesian teams.

She did well — and it marked the return of this sporting champion to the greens of Southern Africa she had graced for two decades. The hallmarks of any top calibre international sportsman are the dedication and grit it takes to soar above others. These qualities — plus her quiet personality and exemplary sportsmanship — were always evident in Lucie Olver, who fought against enormous personal adversity to emerge a champion among champions and one of the greatest of Rhodesian sportswomen.

— BYROM

End

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Friday, 12 October 2012

Brian Fettes Davison


The lights on the scoreboard at the Wanderers in Johannesburg twinkled merrily in the gathering gloom and a crowd of 12 000 hushed in expectation as Eastern Province fast bowler Kenny Watson ran up to deliver.

A packed off-side field hardly had time to move before the ball struck the boundary boards. The crowd erupted and a flood of well-wishers invaded the field to shower one Brian Davison with congratulations.

The Rhodesian batsman had just compiled what must rate as his finest century. The scene was the 1978 Datsun Shield final and Davison, aided by left-hander Brian Barbour, had guided Rhodesia to their first major South African cricket trophy.

Among the spectators who rushed on to the Wanderers turf that afternoon was an Indian who put a R10 note into Davison's pocket, saying, "You are my saviour — you've won me money in a bet."

The lusty hitting of Chris Wilkins and Lorrie Wilmot and the grace of Graeme Pollock, who had earlier guided Eastern Province to a total of 227-8, paled into insignificance once Davison got into his stride.

It was the sort of innings that made Davison a draw card for Leicestershire in the English County championship and for Rhodesia in the Currie Cup. It was controlled aggression, punctuated with drives of great power off both the front and back foot.

Davison and Barbour had come together with Rhodesia reeling at a miserable 81-5. Not even the most ardent Rhodesian supporter believed that Eastern Province could lose.

But, 135 runs later, with Davison undefeated on 102, Rhodesia were on 216-5 and won the Shield on a better run-rate and runs-per-wicket calculation. Had the umpires not ended play early because of bad light, Rhodesia would undoubtedly have passed the Eastern Province total.

In any event, it did not matter. The light was very bad, but Davison, stepping down the wicket to drive the seamers, was unconcerned. There was no danger to the batsmen and the umpires were concerned about the safety of the fielders when they called off play. Davison was hitting the ball so hard that there was a real danger to fieldsmen attempting to cut off runs in the gloom.

It was Davison's finest hour and the standing ovation he received from an uncommitted crowd composed largely of Transvalers was just reward for his efforts.

Yes, we will all remember Davison for that innings but there is no doubt that he was one of the finest cricketers produced by Rhodesia in a first-class career which started with his national debut against Natal B in 1967.

Brian Fettes Davison was born at Bulawayo on 21 December 1946 and encouraged by an enthusiastic father, he worked his way through Hillside Junior and Gifford Technical High School teams to make the Rhodesian Nuffield XI in 1964-65 along with other future national players like Duncan Fletcher, Tommy Dunk, Richie Kaschula, Stuart Robertson and John Traicos.

Davison can lay claim to be the father of professionalism in Rhodesian cricket for, after two seasons — then in the B Section of the Currie Cup — he travelled to England 'to broaden his outlook on life generally'.

But as was later established, young 'Davo' was really there to attempt to force his way into big cricket. When money ran short — as it did from time to time — he was pleased to turn out occasionally by invitation for the Northants 2nd XI.

Leicestershire officials were keeping an interested eye on young Davison and after he had averaged 52,33 with a top score of 73 in four innings he moved to the Grace Road Ground at Leicester.

It was the 1969 English season, and he batted eight times for the Leicestershire 2nd XI at an average of 33,55 which led to an offer of a contract to join the county 1st XI for the 1970 season. He turned out for his adopted county from 1970 to 1980, having made the breakthrough into the first team by mid-August of that first season and having a more than satisfactory debut in a County
championship match against Northamptonshire.

He made seven first team appearances that season and returned to Rhodesia for the 1970-71 season a mature and much wiser cricketer for the experience. Davison joined a reconstituted Rhodesian team under their new captain Mike Procter and was instrumental in helping the side return to the A Section.

That season was a milestone for Davison. Not only did he return an average of 60,25 but he also recorded his maiden first-class century — an undefeated 137 which included three sixes and fifteen fours, against Griqualand West at Kimberley.

Davison was developing into an aggressive, fast-scoring batsman and he really blossomed in his second season with Leicestershire when he returned there for the 1971 English County championship.

He scored 1 280 runs in 47 matches but his real glory was the season's fastest century — scored in only 63 minutes. His approach to the game brought him success in the limited overs leagues and against Warwickshire he pounded 158 not out with his 150 coming up in 92 minutes.

But his ability to score quickly came to the fore in a double wicket competition in Rhodesia in 1972 after another successful season with Leicestershire. He hit 50 in 13 minutes and his century in 27 with 10 sixes and 9 fours. In his second match he hit 50 in 18 minutes and his total runs for the day came to 244 in a total batting time of 79 minutes.

And so it is easy to understand the aura of expectancy that settled over crowds in England and Southern Africa whenever Davison strode to the wicket to begin an innings.

But he could not pull it off every time and a run of poor innings from Davison was not uncommon. Cricket followers in Rhodesia often slated him — he was the man they loved to hate when he was unsuccessful. Memories are short however, and each of Davison's five Currie Cup and two Datsun Shield centuries make up for the times that he disappointed his fans.

'Davo' is immensely strong and hits the ball with terrific power and although he was often considered the 'enigma of Rhodesian cricket' he achieved a great deal.

His performances overseas for Leicestershire were always being compared with what he achieved in Rhodesia where only eight big matches (Currie Cup) are played in a season. In that sort of shallow comparison his performances at home in Currie Cup cricket always looked poor.

But Davison thrives, and always will, on constant cricket — six days a week in England which allowed him to hone his game to a fine edge. In Rhodesia he was able to play one day a week between Currie Cup matches which were often separated by as much as six weeks.

He captained Rhodesia on twenty-five occasions between 1974 and 1977 and was national coach in 1976 and 1977. In a first-class career for Rhodesia spanning the seasons 1967 to 1978, Davison gained 90 caps and scored 4 480 Currie Cup runs at an average of 30,07 with his 137 against Griquas, his highest score.

His highest overall first-class score was a magnificent 189 for Leicestershire against Ian Chappell's Australians at Leicester in 1975.

A fine fielder and more than useful seamer in the early part of his career, Davison rates as one of the finest Rhodesian all-rounders and he was sadly missed by Rhodesia in the 1979-80 season when he accepted a contract to captain Tasmania in the Australian Sheffield Shield competition.

A brief summary of his career is:

Rhodesia
1967-68
Runs: 141
Average: 23.50

1968-69
Runs: 126
Average:    15,75

1969-70  did not play

1970-71   
Runs: 241
Average: 60.20

1971-72   
Runs: 383
Average: 25,53

1972-73
Runs: 335
Average: 23,92

1973-74
Runs: 289
Average: 19,26

1974-75
Runs: 586
Average: 36,62

1975-76
Runs: 307
Average: 23,61

1976-77
Runs: 399
Average: 26,60

1977-78
Runs: 527
Average: 43,91

1978-79
Runs: 488
Average: 34,85

- McDERMOTT.

End

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Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Gordon Maxwell Allan Peake




Few MEN can claim an international hockey career spanning fourteen years and, during it play at as consistently a high standard as Gordon Maxwell Allan Peake did for Rhodesia.

'Alpal', a nickname that stemmed from his good nature, friendliness and sportsmanship, aptly summed up this genial hockey giant who was undoubtedly the crown prince of Rhodesian defenders.

After his debut for Rhodesia against Border in 1966, and an international debut against South Africa later the same year, Allan Peake went on to make a record forty-three Test appearances for his country.

Had circumstances been different and Rhodesian sport not been isolated because of United Nations sanctions. Peake could well have reached a hundred caps. A two-year spell in South Africa in the mid-70s caused him to miss at least twelve internationals for Rhodesia, which games would have taken him past fifty- one Test appearances.

Peake impressed onlookers whenever he played. There are few reports of him having had a poor game. Such were his reflexes on his 'wrong-hand side' that he was the bane of all attacking hockey players. He also combined a marvellous recovery ability with solid cover defence and he was able to turn defence into attack quickly by beating an opponent in the tackle and taking the initiative with controlled dribbling runs up midfield.

Peake was born at Fulham, England, on 12 September 1945 and came to Rhodesia with his parents when he was only nine months old. His hockey career began at Churchill School, Salisbury. By the time he was a senior, his game had progressed enough for him to make the Rhodesian Schools side in 1962, and he toured South Africa and Kenya with the team.

Since his first Test against South Africa in 1966, Peake became virtually an automatic choice at full back for Rhodesia. It was difficult to imagine the national side without him and his departure to South Africa in early 1974 was a serious blow, particularly with the eight nations tournament coming up and a tour of Europe the following year.

National hockey coach, Mark Manolios, who has been acquainted with Rhodesian hockey sides since 1951, maintained Peake was in world class and there were few visiting coaches who disagreed with him. "While it is always difficult to provide comparisons in the stature of players, I would say Allan Peake was one of Rhodesia's greatest players, if not the best," Manolios said when Peake left for South Africa in 1974.


Peake captained the Rhodesian side from 1972-74 and when he returned from South Africa in 1976 he again led the team after the departure of Dave West. He made two tours of Europe with the Rhodesian side, the first in 1967 and then again in 1970, by which time he had accumulated eleven international caps.

In Tests against West Germany, one of the top hockey-playing nations, Peake came to light, and their national coach, Hugo Budinger, rated 'Alpal' one of the best full backs he had seen.

Peake accompanied the Rhodesian Shumbas team on a tour of England in 1972 and his classy defence play again caught the eye. Hockey Scene, the official journal of the English Hockey Association, wrote: "Allan Peake, the current Rhodesian full back, was superb.

"His combination of speed and strength reminded one of Richard Oliver and what higher praise can there be?" (Richard Oliver was full back for Great Britain during the same era and was one of the world's great defenders).

During his spell in South Africa, Peake played for the famous Johannesburg club, Wanderers, and for Southern Transvaal, the strongest South African province.

His allegiance always lay with Rhodesia, however, and when the Rhodesian team took part in the eight nations tournament at Johannesburg in 1974, Peake was always there on the sidelines to give his support. His return to Rhodesia in 1976 delighted players and followers alike and prompted Mark Manolios to comment: "He's been one of our best-ever players and I still hold that view after watching him play for Wanderers in Johannesburg. It's great to have him back."

An honour for Peake was his selection in 1973 as one of the five finalists for the Rhodesian Sportsman of the Year award when squash star, Gay Erskine, carried off the John Hopley Memorial Trophy. He was again a finalist in 1979 when golfer Simon Hobday took the honours.

After a series against the Springboks, more praise was in line for the Rhodesian. Springbok captain, Neville Berman, ranked one of the best forwards in the world, rated Peake the best defender he ever had the 'misfortune' to play against.

In keeping with his outstanding ability, Peake's sportsmanship was exemplary. Illegal tactics were never part of his game although he was often the victim of brutal hacks from frustrated opposition forwards in their attempts to get past him.

His retirement in 1980, brought about by a desire to spend more time with his family and business and also to give the younger players a chance (he felt he'd had a good run and it was time to step down) left a hole in the national side that was difficult to fill.

Always the gentleman, Peake left hockey in the same way that he had entered the game — unobtrusively, with the minimum of fuss.

However, after a brief retirement — he missed Zimbabwe's first home series against Kenya in May — Peake was persuaded to return in June 1980 to face the world champions, Pakistan, in four Tests, three at Salisbury and one at Bulawayo.

Bob Mills led the team in the 2-2 series draw against Kenya, but Peake was restored to the captaincy to face Pakistan, whose captain Munawar Zaman, rated him as one of the three outstanding home players along with goalkeeper Dave Houghton and centre forward Gerald Peckover.

Certainly the Zimbabwe defence had ample opportunity to show their paces as Pakistan won the series 3-0, 5-1, 2-1,7-1. But Zimbabwe were never disgraced and responded well to Peake's leadership. He led by example and made several thrilling individual runs upfield after breaking down Pakistan attacks in the almost casual fashion that was his hallmark.

Peake was now again well established in the national team, but was available for home matches only. He felt the tours were for younger players. He continued his career when Holland arrived for an international series in Zimbabwe in July 1980.

He earned his fiftieth international cap in the third Test at Salisbury Sports Club against European champions, Holland, on 26 July 1980. It was a highly successful series for Peake — he scored both goals from corner play in Zimbabwe's 2-0 first Test victory at Bulawayo, and another corner goal in the second Test, which Zimbabwe lost 2-1.

McDERMOTT.

End

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Monday, 8 October 2012

Richard Coleshaw



When Dick Coleshaw quit first-class rugby at the end of 1974 after playing nine straight seasons for Rhodesia without ever being dropped, he went with a tinge of regret — he had never reached the high point of becoming a Springbok. While his rich talents as a strongman of the front-row were never fully appreciated by the South African selectors, he did carve out an indelible record for himself in Rhodesian rugby history as one of the country's most capped and honoured players.

Acknowledged by his opponents as one of the strongest tight head prop forwards of his era, Coleshaw appeared in five internationals in the Rhodesian green and white and played in a total of sixty-two matches for the country between 1966 and 1974 to equal the record number of caps at that time held by Des van Jaarsveldt, since eclipsed by Iain Buchanan and Rob Stewart. When he reached his fifty caps in 1973, Coleshaw became only the second player in Rhodesian rugby history to achieve this distinction.

Through his nine years of dedicated service — during which he scored eight tries — Coleshaw was always a tower of strength in the pack, captaining the country for the final three matches of 1974.

Like Ireland's Willie-John McBride, Rhodesia's Dick Coleshaw was a reluctant recruit to rugby. Born on Boxing Day 1945 at Bulawayo, his first school was Christian Brothers College.

"Rugby at CBC was a compulsory sport and I wasn't attracted to it at all. If I hadn't had to play then, I probably never would have," he believes. The powerhouse prop — who at his zenith stood 1,84 m and weighed 95,5 kg — started his career in the backline of the CBC under-13 team, where he played centre.

But when he moved to Guinea Fowl School, the only weakness in the team appeared to be at prop — "and thenceforth Coleshaw became a prop," he recalls. He played for four years in the Guinea Fowl 1 st XV and in his final year at school, in 1966, he was selected for the first national Craven Week schoolboy side.

Graduating from the University of Rhodesia (now University of Zimbabwe) in 1968 with a BA he joined Salisbury Sports Club, having already represented Old Miltonians while in Bulawayo and the University while a student. He moved to Old Hararians in 1970.

His first-league career while at school saw him propping Springbok hooker Ronnie Hill before he left Bulawayo in 1966 for university. That year he played for Mashonaland in the Black and White tournament and for Matabeleland in a Russell Cup match while on holiday in his home town. These displays earnec him his first Rhodesian cap against North Eastern Cape at Cradock, and later against Griqualand West at Kimberley, and Western Transvaal at Potchefstroom on the Currie Cup tour.

Coleshaw has bitter memories of his debut game, which was lost 5-14. "That match still sticks in my mind as Rhodesia's worst performance," he said. "When the game started there was a howling gale blowing from 2nd to end and our captain, Reg Nield, chose to play the first half into the wind. The opposition piled on the points until half-time and then, almost by order, the wind stopped and the second half was played in a deathly still atmosphere."

The next year (1967) he played his first international against France at Salisbury. Rhodesia led 6-3 at half-time only to be trounced 36-13. But Coleshaw. hooker Rob Mundell, and loose head prop Butch van Horsten. had the satisfaction of winning the tigh thead count 7-2 in that match.

Coleshaw went on to play matches for Rhodesia against the 1968 British Lions, ihe Barbarians, the Wallabies, the Gazelles and Italy. The only international team he missed playing against during his era was the 1970 All Blacks, when an injury to his left knee kept him out for the season after the opening match against Free State.

In 1968, during his last year at university. Coleshaw split his club games between Salisbury Sports and Old Miltonians — a season highlighted ty his second international, at the age of twenty-two, against Tom Kiernan's British Lions at the Salisbury Police Ground on Whit Monday.

"The Lions introduced me to a brand of rugby completely different from what I had become used to " he recalls. "At the first scrum I was ordered to push at a higher level by my opposite number, Mike Coulman When 1 ignored him at the next scrum I was punched for not obeying. For the rest of the match I was taking punches."

"This was completely new to me and I think that game stands out as the one which taught Rhodesian rugby players a real lesson in hard play." The Lions won 32-6, with Gareth Edwards a star at scrum-half.

That year brought Rhodesia their first and only trophy in a Southern African rugby competition — the Board Trophy. The final was against South West Africa at Windhoek, and it was a particular triumph for the mobile Coleshaw, who scored two tries in a 36-14 victory, in which fly-half Tienie Martin was outstanding.

The Wallabies visited Rhodesia in 1969 and brought Coleshaw his next international cap at Bulawayo. In Rhodesia's 11-16 defeat he has vivid memories of Roy Prosser, the Australian front row, butting viciously as the scrums went down. "It's not a nice thing to admit" says Coleshaw, "but after three or four scrums, when the referee had not seen the hassle. I let him have it."

The Lions lessons had been learned and although a player from each side was sent off, the retaliation stopped a lot of unsavoury play.

"It's sad when a match becomes dirty," Coleshaw bemoaned at the time, "but this seems to be a trait among touring teams from overseas. In South African rugby, punches are thrown, but usually for a good reason. I have found that overseas teams tend to use a punch as part of their tactics — until it is stopped by the opposition."

Rhodesia's pulsating defeat of Transvaal in 1969 is a vivid memory for Coleshaw. With Van Horsten and Mundell he won that tight head count 12-2 as Neil Jardine led the side to 24-19 victory with a sensational solo performance, scoring a drop-goal, two penalties, two conversions and a thrilling try.

On the day before the match, Tienie Martin had withdrawn with a severe bout of flu and, in a desperation move, veteran Jardine was called in as the last-minute replacement. The Press and the rugby public proceeded to write-off Rhodesia's chances and some even booed when Jardine's name was announced ovsr the public address system as the replacement.

But Jardine was to stun them all with an astonishing come-back after being out of national rugby for more than two years. After he had scored sixteen points, exuberant supporters hoisted him shoulder-high. The most memorable moment was Jardine running and dummying past four bewildered defenders — including the great Piet Greyling — to score a magnificent try.

During 1970 Coleshaw moved back to Bulawayo to represent Matabeleland and Old Miltonians in domestic competitions. He played for Rhodesia against Free State at Bulawayo at the start of the season — a game that ended in injury and sidelined him for the rest of the season and prevented him opposing the All Blacks.

He regarded 1971 as his best season. After being ignored by the Rhodesian selectors when Springbok trials nominations were put forward, he was invited to the trials by Transvaal's former Springbok. Ian Kirkpatrick. He played for South African Country Districts against South Africa B and then for the Gazelles against the same team as a curtain-raiser to the first Test against France at Bloemfontein. Later that year he played for Country Districts and Gazelles against the touring Pumas from the Argentine.

Coleshaw rates 1972 as the most significant season for Rhodesian rugby. Ian McIntosh had taken over as national coach the previous year, and now he transformed Rhodesian rugby from a palm-slapping affair to the blackboard. Said Coleshaw: "Scientific methods of coaching took over from simple training and for the first time we were able to talk techniques.and patterns."

When he retired at the end of 1974, Richard Coleshaw had been to four Springbok trials and had won acclaim as a man of iron. "Trials are the first stepping-stone and with a mixture of luck and determination the chances are there,' he believes. "Trials are not a farce, but there is no feeling of belonging or of any familiarity with the players. It is difficult to expect a Rhodesian to do well. Trials
don't bring out the best in a player and if the Springbok selectors were really interested in a Rhodesian player, they should have made the effort to come up to our country to see him play in his own team.

"From my own point of view 1 can't complain. They have had a good look at me. but there are players ir Rhodesia like Brian Murphy, Des Christian, Eric Barrett and Rob Mundell who all deserved a better opportunity to show the selectors what they were capable of."

Coleshaw, too, was among those who must have come agonisingly close to becoming a fully fledged Springbok, for, after the redoubtable Andy Macdonald, he was Rhodesia's finest prop forward.

- BYROM.

End

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