Photo: Nigel Hurst and Bhupinder Singh at last season's Senior Prizegiving
I first joined the Papatoetoe Cricket club in 1980/81. I was new to Papatoetoe as my family had moved into Windoma Circle. I had played cricket since primary school and ended up as Captain of my College’s 1st XI.
My first day at the club was very interesting as I was placed in the number one net to have a bat so that the selectors could have a look at me. The first ball I faced was delivered by a tall, handsome left-arm fast bowler. To be honest I did not see the ball and only knew where it was after I heard it thump into the back of the net. I later found out the bowler was a certain Gary Troup, who was in his prime at the time. The second delivery was an off-spinner which bounced, turned, and hit me in the unmentionables. The bowler was then-current Auckland player, Lindsay Rewcastle. The selectors decided I would be safer in net four!
I played in the 5A team and captained the 5B team and then made it through to the giddy heights of the 3rd Grade under the watchful eye of Vic Peach, father of Gary Peach. In this team, I met Gerry Green for the first time. A year later I was made captain of the 3rd grade and with a very young group of talented players, along with Gerry, we won the grade in 1985/86. The average age of the team would have been about 22 and with Gerry that went up to 35. We won three championships in 5 years.
I was elected Club Captain in 1986, a post I held for 6 seasons. These were great days. The clubhouse was full every Saturday night and the men and women of the club were excellent role models for us younger players.
I had a break from cricket and returned again in 1996. For a year I was Club Captain and played in the C3 team. Later on, Allan Rewcastle formed a President's team. I joined this team and what a great group of men they were.
Family has always been the heart of our club. The Swaffields, the Burnsides, the Prices, and the Plummers all hold very special places in our Club’s history. Current premier player, Josh is the third generation of his family to represent the club following his Dad, Mark, and Grandad, the late Herbie. The Ronaldson family’s contribution is also up there with Guy who is still our Patron and his son Neil on the Committee. If I remember rightly, Neil’s sister played and Neil’s son, Jamie is a chip off the old block.
Highlights of my time at the club are more to do with the people I have met and now call friends. This to me is more important than any championship win or title I have been bestowed. I will be back on the boundary next season and hope to get to watch more Papatoetoe teams playing and sharing a liquid refreshment afterward. Stay safe see you all soon.