Sunday, April 18, 2010

City United Presentation Night

Sometimes promises are well intended wishful thinking. Sometimes they are made in desperation. Often, promises don't deliver.
Our presentation promised a lot, delivered more and satisfied everyone present about this season but left them wanting more next. It was that sort of night.
Conducted as our game is, in the open air, there was an atmosphere of welcome pervading the scene in the BBQ area of our major sponsor, the South Tamworth Bowling Club. The first hour was spent getting to know the wicket, feeling out batting partners, adjusting to the conditions and settling in as most present were in for a big one. The generous quantity and quality of food organised and supplied by Paul Lawrence was set upon as a man does a half volley outside the off stump and earnest conversation was erupting to guffaws as black and white memories were retold and relived in vivid colour, aided and abetted by players reading the Yearbook with it's combination of pictures, facts and Captain's reports. At the front of the space, glorious moments were captured in coloured slides of the years events.
President Tony Higgins welcomed official guests and club members to the evening, making special mention of the special sponsorship arrangements made this year to bring new players to the 1st grade and provide improved training facilities such as a bowling machine. He praised our well performed juniors throughout the season. He gave a special welcome to TDCA President Terry Psarakis who spoke next and in glowing terms about the City United Club. He was warmly received.
The presentations were broken into two halves but effectively three main sections. The first heroes to be recognised were the 4ths and co-Captain Grant Scarborough spoke with praise of his men and near-men and with hope for the future the younger members offered the club. Glenn Ryan spoke about the heart break of losing the Grand Final but the realisation that no one had beaten Bective all year and the need for us to recognise the hard work of the third grade players, many of whom did long tours of duty in 2nds throughout the year.
Owing to the commitments of some of our special guests, some of the perpetual trophies were presented before the break for sweets. There can be no doubt, that the most important and certainly the most moving of these presentations was the awarding of Life Membership to retiring President Tony Higgins. Presenter and Life Member Michael Pryor spoke with admiration and warmth about Tony's many contributions to the club over a twenty year time span, including his playing days as a terrifying fast bowler and occasional lower order batting hero, through to his many years on the executive, mostly as President. Fellow Life Member Basil Penrith related several playing anecdotes before the award was conferred. Tony's acceptance speak was passionate and moving and typically, didn't dwell on the past but urged all present toward a better City future through commitment to training and each other. His words and award were received with a rousing three cheers.
On a lighter note, Cory & Alison Callcott received the Club Clown award from Chris Eggleton for their ability to keep club mates entertained. Cory proved his worth immediately by yet another retelling of the famous "I didn't see it" run out story. Ryan Hanson was named the most consistent trainer, Daniel Lawrence and Hamish Batley the most improved juniors and Josh Allen the most improved player.
After a delicious break to sate the sweet toothed tigers, grade awards continued with Pierre Steyn speaking on behalf of second grade, as one of the four captains in 09/10. He spoke on an agreed set of goals, a key point of which had been consistency. The player turn over made this hard to achieve (36 players in the season) but to 2nds credit they fought the season right to the end, being somewhat unlucky to be beaten semi finalists. Dan Mitchell gave a generous speech about 1st grade, delivered with trademark humour and sincerity. He spoke of the worth of the support he had received from his close friend, Tony Higgins. He praised the skills and commitment of Aaron Flaherty. He thanked Peter Mead for the experience he gave to such a young side. He made special mention of the strength and talent of Ross Steyn and the courage he showed in the face of such a frustrating personal season and the outstanding qualities of selflessness and dedication to the club cause shown by Chris Langston.
The first of the final bracket of perpetual trophies was Basil Penrith's trophy for clubman of the year, won by Chris and Peter Langston. Chris said in acceptance that his aim had been to show club mates that cricket was a game to be passionate about and Peter thanked club mates for the opportunity to make new friends and belong to a group of blokes again. He also highlighted his joy at sharing such an award with his son. The Stuart Andrews Memorial Trophy for 1st Grade Player's Player went to Tom Wilson, based on 1st Grade player votes. Best All Round Cricketer (based on the McKellar Medal system) was awarded to young tyro Josh Allen, who polled just above Tom Wilson, Aaron Flaherty, Ben Cleghorn and Simon Bellamy. The final award for the evening, the Roger Newell/Frank Gooley Trophy, a couple of batsmen presenter Tony Higgins said were notoriously hard to dislodge, won ironically by Tom Wilson, who took more wickets than anyone else in 1st Grade this season.
It was a grand evening which ended with much deserved revelry and a fierce determination to focus on next season and better things ahead. Before the evening tailed off into laughs and shouts and eventually personal reflection, Cold Chisel closed the official proceedings with a special portrait slide presentation called The Last Wave of Summer (click on the play button below to view).

Many thanks to the following for their contribution towards a memorable evening: Chris Langston, Simon Hood, Phil Hood, Michael Pryor, Basil Penrith, Terry Psarakis, Tony Higgins, Paul & Kathy Lawrence, Claude Orenstein, the ladies who donated sweets, the blokes who helped with the clean up, South Tamworth Bowlo (for the venue and PA system), Dan Mitchell, Pierre Steyn, Glenn Ryan, Grant Scarborough and every club member, wife, girlfriend and supporter who was there ... some of whom had travelled considerable distance. Anyone forgotten in this list is still loved, just misplaced.

In the words of Dr John ... "oh what a night!"

To read the report about the City United presentation night in the Northern Daily Leader, click on the link which follows.

A full list of trophy winners can be found on City Stats and photographs from the night can be viewed at City Snaps. If you would like to order photos of the night, contact Lango.

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