From then on I learnt much from the game and also the way the game should be played, hard but fair, no questions asked. Many enjoyable days spent with Mr Tom Lowry (Snr) and others: Snow North, John Gordon, Reg Bettington (brother-in-law to Tom, 12th man for Australia, spin bowler especially on a matting wicket), Steve Lunn, Jim Lowry (brother, Oxford Blue for tennis), Doggie White and others.
I was fortunate to have this opportunity and also went on tours around the North Island against some fine ex-NZ players.
Later still after Tom died and the old brigade of that era had retired I managed to keep some of my old cricketing mates together and we started playing the schools such as Karamu, Hastings Boys’ High, Lindisfarne, Hereworth, and at the same time have a coaching session with the boys along with their coaches.
We managed to play other out-of-town teams, Wellington Wanderers, The Valley of Peace, Christchurch, The Diplomats, Wellington, amongst others.
Players were Paul Jones, great prankster, Peter MacLean, stories for hours, and very knowledgeable on all sports, especially cricket, Mike Patton, Lloyd Singleton, Don Brian, John Henderson, Lee Totty, Roger Spencer to name a few.
While working in Wellington I played cricket for the Wellington club where my great friend Trevor McMahon, whom I had met in my first year in 1951, a wicketkeeper who played for NZ on the tour to India in 1953 put my name forward for membership to the Wanderers. It was such a prestigious club that it was a privilege to be asked, let alone to be admitted, however in due time I received a letter asking that I present myself to the President, Mr Chateau, and some of the committee, to put me through the wringer and see if I was a suitable candidate. I must have been because the following week I was picked to play against St Patrick’s College in Silverstream, presented with my cap and welcomed.
After that virtually every Sunday I was picked to play against many of the secondary schools in the region as well as the yearly trip against Foxton, Wanganui Collegiate and Shannon, How I got off work I do not know.
We had some really fine cricketers: Rue Morgan 12th man for NZ at the age of 19, I can still see him playing off the cover drive, the best I have seen along with Walter Hammond (England), Ash Ashenden swing bowler both ways who taught me so much on how to bowl out swingers and ducking the ball back.
I joined the Wellington club side under the captains of Geoff Rabone, a NZ captain, a hard taskmaster and in my first two years I played for the 2nd XI then after some very good performances I was selected for the top team. I can remember not sleeping for nights before my first game at the Basin Reserve and it was against Wellington College Old Boys and in my fifth over of the day I had a “hat trick”, that is three wickets with three balls. That was a great achievement and was well written-up in the papers in Monday’s Dominion Post.
Later I was picked to play Plunket Shield versus Auckland at Auckland, versus Fiji at the Basin and many other games against Hutt Valley, Manawatu etc. Wonderful, wonderful days with a great number of friends whose company I shared attending Test matches.
..Wanderers in later years bought some land near Waikanae and laid a ground out with a pavilion so that they could reciprocate and invite the schools and others to this venue.
Wonderful days were spent during my time in Wellington and the many friends I made for my lifetime.
I left Wellington in 1954 for Hastings. Here I am back living with my parents, after seven years as a boarder at Hereworth School in Havelock North then five years at Christ’s College, Christchurch, in School House, followed by five years in Wellington, so it was hard to fit in to family life. Not knowing many friends at the time in Hawke’s Bay, it was a difficult time.
Coming home it was to start working with my father in the brewery, and at that time I had ruptured the tendon in my right arm playing cricket in Wellington so I was at the Hastings Hospital having physiotherapy each day and this was for eight weeks.
As my arm progressed and summer was approaching, cricket was in my thoughts and what club should I play for. I was approached by Don Brian, later to become the accountant in the bottle store, to play for Old Boys Hastings.
My first visit to the nets at Cornwall Park I arrived in my “whites” and got looks from many. “Is this our new coach?”. In Wellington it was compulsory to wear “whites”, from then on it was shorts and any kind of shirt.
Over the years we won the inter-club championship on many occasions and during my time as captain we won three years in a row. I also played for Hawke’s Bay and captained the side a few times. Served on the committee and was club captain and made a life member in 1972.