Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.



  • @maroon said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    How about music.
    Friend and business partner managed Paul McCartney. I was backstage a lot, at tour venues.
    One night with Sting, private balcony, in an Eastern European club. I left at 4, after he had taken two (yup 2) Es.
    Rod Stewart bought a car off me. Reg. DPM8.
    Jeff Beck is a friend of my ex. Often plays for friends at house parties.
    Somebody stop me. A vicious trolling will do it.

    Ok here goes. Ms Cato no2 refused entry to the green room to some bloke called Tinchy Strider ( I think). So no I don’t really know anyone but I like that my daughter pissed off a “musician”.



  • Oops meant to say:
    Played for Katiaia 1st XI v Dion Nash wjen I was 7th Form he was 4th for Dargaville.

    XI not XV



  • @godder said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    I went to school with a few - the most famous would be Chris Jack. I also got some cricket coaching from Craig McMillan and Chris Cairns and delivered pizza to the Hadlees, and Chris Harris (he gave me a solid tip for grabbing a pack of cigars from the gas station up the road).

    Chess is where I've met and played nearly all of Australia and NZ's top players including various Grandmasters and a few big international names as well - Nigel Short probably the biggest name.

    Mark Noble won a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games for bowls, and is also NZ's best ever Correspondence chess player.

    Ooooh. A fellow Shirley Boys High man. Chris Jack was in my class. What years were you there? I finished up 1996.

    For famous rugby people I’ve met: Brad Thorn, Jono Gibbes/Joe Schmidt (Dublin), Doug Howlett (Cork). That’s about it.



  • @booboo said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    Half back. Baby faced little fucker. Played for Uni and Waikato. Good cricketer too. Had a brother who was quite good at cricket. Hated him as he looked about 12 but could never catch the little twerp. Indicative that he was actually significantly better than me. Played same time as Duggan

    That would be Todd Miller wouldn’t it?



  • jasin spice



  • @booboo Jason Spice?



  • played with or against most of waikatos all blacks of the 80s and 90s,and of the top of my head zinny,terry wright ,at least one whetton,frank bunce ,eric rush,walter little ,craig innes,
    faced mark carrington who opened the bowling for nz in a couple of games.



  • @majorrage @Bones we used to sponsor NZPRA - offer employment to young up and comers or retired players.

    Steve Devine organised for me to interview Sione for a role when he first came back from France. Man that guy was totally fucked up - arrived 40 minutes late looking totally dishevelled in a grubby tee lavalava socks and jandals, mumbled a few incoherences for 10 minutes asked the world for work he was totally unqualified for and fucked off. Devine was really embarrassed.

    @Mokey worked with Brian McKechnie - he liked a drink eh?



  • @jc Todd was a Fullback, of Going lineage



  • Spice is the only Waikato halfback it could be. He was a very good left armer spinner for ND, until a guy named Daniel Vettori appeared.

    I've sat next to a few sportspeople on planes. Among them John Traicos (the Zimbo team was flying from NZ to Aust as I was), Barry Sinclair (ex NZ cricketer) and Sami Khedira (German footballer).

    The most famous sportsperson I have met is Larry Bird.



  • @wally said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    @booboo

    Bloody old

    I thought I was the oldest poster on here but if you played 1st XV against Tiny Hill when he was in his mid 40's you've enough kms on the clock to be my old man!!!



  • @maroon said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    How about music.
    Friend and business partner managed Paul McCartney. I was backstage a lot, at tour venues.
    One night with Sting, private balcony, in an Eastern European club. I left at 4, after he had taken two (yup 2) Es.
    Rod Stewart bought a car off me. Reg. DPM8.
    Jeff Beck is a friend of my ex. Often plays for friends at house parties.
    Somebody stop me. A vicious trolling will do it.

    Best guitarist alive....



  • Organized a prize giving event with Peter Stringer - a nicer guy you couldn’t meet
    Ditto Kevin McLaughlin
    BOD lived around the corner from me and he signed my kids rugby gear without asking
    Was given a gift of a goat on behalf of Ireland by a 6’8” Masai Warrior in Tanzania - he wasn’t famous though; Did business with Jamie Heaslip; Joe Schmidt drank in my local - very relaxed and approachable.
    Had drinks with Pierce Brosnan, Michael Fassbender, Alan Rickman, Colin Farrell at events
    Attended friend’s wedding with Daniel Day Lewis as a guest
    Have met and been photographed with Saoirse Ronan a couple of times
    Taught Van Morrison how to use a computer, had Christmas party dinner with him, argued over a Xmas cracker gift and got a signed guitar from him.
    Uncle a former intl ref - refereed the Scotland v All Blacks famous 0-0 victory.



  • @maroon said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    How about music.
    Friend and business partner managed Paul McCartney. I was backstage a lot, at tour venues.
    One night with Sting, private balcony, in an Eastern European club. I left at 4, after he had taken two (yup 2) Es.
    Rod Stewart bought a car off me. Reg. DPM8.
    Jeff Beck is a friend of my ex. Often plays for friends at house parties.
    Somebody stop me. A vicious trolling will do it.

    Paul McCartney is that the guy Kanye West made famous (google it).
    I know six60 how does that rank on famous international artists. They were meant to play for piss at my 21st but got their first paying gig.

    Back to sport. Was playing in a subbies reserves comp in Brisbane. I had missed all of preseason and was new to the club. Our team was pretty shocking in my first training. Come Saturday this Tongian guy built like a brick shit house rocked up. I was thinking man this guy must be useless to be playing B's with that size.

    Ends up either scoring or setting up about 4 tries in 25 minutes he played. Turns out he played for Tonga at the 2003 world cup then had played for the Wasps I think and then had just finished a contract for one of the big Japenese clubs.

    Prems team wanted him but he said he couldn't commit to training so wouldn't take a player who could spot so played off the bench for 2nds.



  • @pot-hale said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    BOD lived around the corner from me and he signed my kids rugby gear without asking

    Sounds a bit wrong - you can't just walk around scribbling on kids clothes.



  • @dogmeat

    Just got my gold card 2 weeks ago 😄



  • @wally then Tiny Hill was pushing 50 when he picked you up like a twig



  • @snowy said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    @pot-hale said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    BOD lived around the corner from me and he signed my kids rugby gear without asking

    Sounds a bit wrong - you can't just walk around scribbling on kids clothes.

    I know - I was outraged. I said ‘who do you think you are?’



  • @pot-hale said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    @snowy said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    @pot-hale said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    BOD lived around the corner from me and he signed my kids rugby gear without asking

    Sounds a bit wrong - you can't just walk around scribbling on kids clothes.

    I know - I was outraged. I said ‘who do you think you are?’

    Did he remember? He has had some near death experiences which can be traumatising and probably lead to him chasing your children around with a marker pen.



  • Really dangerous - just imagine if BOD's vivid had slipped or run through yr kids clothes.

    He could have dyed



  • @snowy said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    @pot-hale said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    @snowy said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    @pot-hale said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    BOD lived around the corner from me and he signed my kids rugby gear without asking

    Sounds a bit wrong - you can't just walk around scribbling on kids clothes.

    I know - I was outraged. I said ‘who do you think you are?’

    Did he remember? He has had some near death experiences which can be traumatising and probably lead to him chasing your children around with a marker pen.

    I don’t know - he just walked away on his hands waving his legs in the air.

    Saoirse Ronan was much nicer I have to say....



  • @dogmeat said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    He could have dyed

    That is terrible.
    A grandad joke perhaps.



  • @pot-hale said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    Saoirse Ronan was much nicer I have to say....

    No argument there.

    She could probably get away with random graffiti on children although this might stop her:
    "an ambassador for the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children"

    Maybe you should introduce her to BOD...





  • @snowy said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    @pot-hale said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    Saoirse Ronan was much nicer I have to say....

    No argument there.

    She could probably get away with random graffiti on children although this might stop her:
    "an ambassador for the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children"

    Maybe you should introduce her to BOD...

    Oh I did. Well to his wife actually, she’s the real actor in the family....

    (Pitch-toss to the batter, the crowd awaits)



  • @pot-hale said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    @snowy said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    @pot-hale said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    Saoirse Ronan was much nicer I have to say....

    No argument there.

    She could probably get away with random graffiti on children although this might stop her:
    "an ambassador for the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children"

    Maybe you should introduce her to BOD...

    Oh I did. Well to his wife actually, she’s the real actor in the family....

    (Pitch-toss to the batter, the crowd awaits)

    Nice. I should bail out of this now. This sort of banter can end badly.

    However - I have seen some pretty good performances from him so his wife must be an outstanding actress.



  • @snowy said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    @pot-hale said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    @snowy said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    @pot-hale said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    Saoirse Ronan was much nicer I have to say....

    No argument there.

    She could probably get away with random graffiti on children although this might stop her:
    "an ambassador for the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children"

    Maybe you should introduce her to BOD...

    Oh I did. Well to his wife actually, she’s the real actor in the family....

    (Pitch-toss to the batter, the crowd awaits)

    Nice. I should bail out of this now. This sort of banter can end badly.

    However - I have seen some pretty good performances from him so his wife must be an outstanding actress.

    TV mainly. She plays well.



  • @pot-hale said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    @snowy said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    @pot-hale said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    @snowy said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    @pot-hale said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    Saoirse Ronan was much nicer I have to say....

    No argument there.

    She could probably get away with random graffiti on children although this might stop her:
    "an ambassador for the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children"

    Maybe you should introduce her to BOD...

    Oh I did. Well to his wife actually, she’s the real actor in the family....

    (Pitch-toss to the batter, the crowd awaits)

    Nice. I should bail out of this now. This sort of banter can end badly.

    However - I have seen some pretty good performances from him so his wife must be an outstanding actress.

    TV mainly. She plays well.

    TBF so did he. Both the drama and the rugby.



  • @snowy said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    @pot-hale said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    @snowy said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    @pot-hale said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    @snowy said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    @pot-hale said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    Saoirse Ronan was much nicer I have to say....

    No argument there.

    She could probably get away with random graffiti on children although this might stop her:
    "an ambassador for the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children"

    Maybe you should introduce her to BOD...

    Oh I did. Well to his wife actually, she’s the real actor in the family....

    (Pitch-toss to the batter, the crowd awaits)

    Nice. I should bail out of this now. This sort of banter can end badly.

    However - I have seen some pretty good performances from him so his wife must be an outstanding actress.

    TV mainly. She plays well.

    TBF so did he. Both the drama and the rugby.

    Indeed. Have met a few drama queens in my time. He wouldn’t make the list.



  • @taniwharugby said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    @jc Todd was a Fullback, of Going lineage

    OK, I'll get back in my box. He was the only Uni/ Waikato player from that time I could think of.





  • I'm distantly related to Ken Wadsworth - never met him.

    Sir Arthur Porritt came to our little country primary school when he was Governor-General and shook everyone's hand. He won the bronze medal in the 1924 "Chariots of Fire" Olympic 100 metres.

    Local boy Athol Earl came and showed us his gold medal from the Munich Olympics rowing eight.

    I went to school with and played rugby with and against his distant cousins Andy and Chris Earl.

    Other "All Blacks" I've had at least a decent conversation with - Alistair Hopkinson, Merv Jaffray, and Gilbert Enoka. Funnily enough Gilbert's brother was also my Phys. Ed. teacher.



  • @chris-b said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    Other "All Blacks" I've had at least a decent conversation with - Alistair Hopkinson, Merv Jaffray, and Gilbert Enoka. Funnily enough Gilbert's brother was also my Phys. Ed. teacher.

    Ian Hurst told me he'd give two cases of wine if I guessed where he made his All Blacks debut.

    I had the right idea - the North American leg of the 1972-73 Northern Hemisphere tour, but I opted for Vancouver rather than New York. 😞



  • @smudge He should have given you at least a bottle.

    For some reason, stuck in my memory is a piece of commentary that just goes "Going...Dougan...Parkinson....Hurst". I presume someone must have scored a try at the end of it and it got replayed frequently.



  • @smudge You've reminded me of the 1972-3 Tour Diary I had as a kid.

    Photo of the lads all out in a bar in NY resplendent in their cable stitch turtle neck team jumpers.

    Boys all holding frothy handles of beer whilst being served by a very buxom wench amply displaying her hospitality assets

    From the direction of his gaze Alan Sutherland was almost as taken with her as a young schoolboy back in Auckland.



  • @dogmeat said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    Really dangerous - just imagine if BOD's vivid had slipped or run through yr kids clothes.

    He could have dyed

    That is absolutely brilliant. For an old bugger you are extremely proficient at winning the internet.



  • does patting Melbourne cup winner empire rose and runner up champagne count



  • @chris-b What part of the North Canterbury are you from? These stories sound very similar to the ones I hear from my father in law haha apart from Ken Wadsworth.



  • Damn reading through this thread has had me laughing and a little jealous (@dogmeat ) and has really had me wandering down memory lane and pulling out some long forgotten, or best forgotten memories.

    So brushes with fame/sport stars:
    Remembering that I was only living in NZ until 10 when the family moved to Canada, the only retrospective famous person was at Target Road Elementary School in Glenfield, Auckland, Rachel Hunter's older sister was in my class and Rachel herself was in my brother's class two years behind.
    In case you are wondering, all the family looks went into Rachel.

    I know I have told the story previously about catching up with the non-playing AB's who were having lunch in North Sydney on the Friday before the infamous 2003 RWC semifinal against Australia when I spoke with Tana about his availability so I won't repeat it. Funny enough, in 2010 the wife and I moved to Sydney's upper North Shore and we were living near Stirling Mortlock and used to see him far too regularly but I always gave him a cold shoulder due to that intercept. I have no doubt he felt the snub ;-).

    In Canada, I played rep union (at 10 and 12) and when 17 I tried out for an national age team. I was competing against a huge number of players including one real standout... Gareth Rees - yes the same one who then went on to play in 4 consecutive Rugby World Cups.

    Played in a possibles v probables game of 4 x 20 minute quarters with and against him as the sides got mixed up at each break. Damn he was a good rugby player for a Canuck!

    Unfortunately for me, I didn't even make it into the squad and to be honest, never deserved it anyway, just wasn't good enough. That game turned out to be my last until moving to Aus in my early 20's.

    In Aus, like @Mokey I worked in journalism for 12 years at Australian Associated Press (AAP) where there used to be a regular publishers cup in both Rugby/League and Cricket.

    Played with and against a number of former Rugby/League internationals who were ring-ins, especially for News Corp, dirty cheating bastards!

    The most notable was a game that was one that was a 1 half league/1 half union blend game and AAP had joined forces with Fairfax newspapers and we had Mr. Peter Fitzsimons start for us. However he got knocked out after about 30 seconds when he went up to regather the short kick off and got absolutely clobbered by a couple of then current 1st grade League players. By today's rules both those players who hit him would be red carded but given it was a "friendly", there wasn't even a penalty awarded.

    As a group our team protested and almost walked away from the game as they very clearly targeted Fitzsimons as he was and still is a bit of a boofball basher in his columns. Fitzsimons was a really decent guy though, both before and after the game and after waking up, wobbling off the field and getting checked out, at the end of the game he shook the hands of both the boof heads who hit him and said something to the effect of "nice hit". You could see they both felt pretty low after that and I always remember his response to that situation.

    In a publisher's cup cricket match in the mid-90's, I can't remember which team we were facing but they had brought in recently retired Mike Whitney as a ring in. He was opening the bowling and absolutely no one from the AAP side wanted to face him so I as a very ordinary cricketer who batted middle order and threw down some slow/medium pies stood up and said I would open if no one else did as did another guy named Will Swanton who is a Sydney Journo of some note.

    Now I had never played cricket growing up in Canada but had played a bit of baseball quite well so when I connected it was usually a 4 or 6. And then the first good ball would get me out. I had only played about 2 seasons of park cricket with the local Kareela (Southerland Shire) side as well as a previous season of Publishers Cup previously so I wasn't experienced or good in any way at all.

    So we padded up and trundled out almost wetting ourselves at the same time. Whitney started off bowling well within himself off a short run up but as the deliveries went by and neither of us made any contact, you could see he was getting annoyed. About halfway through his second over as he was something like 0 - 0 off 9 or so deliveries, you could see he was getting even more annoyed, frustrated and pissed off and then he started lifting the pace.

    Well fuck me dead I couldn't even see the ball except for a red blur which I somehow managed to get my bat out of the way of.

    His third over, he was steaming in off a much longer run up and these balls were whizzing past, somehow missing stumps or pad for LBW. I had somehow even managed to get the bat in position to block a few that didn't just whiz by. Admittedly after a bit your eye does start adjusting to the ball even at that pace.

    On his 4th over, with his stats at 0 - 0 off 18, Whitney was firing them down at Will and I think it was the 4th ball of the over, he bowled this cracker right at Will's pads and Will somehow managed to get his bat in a good defensive position and the ball hit the absolute middle of the bat and rocketed away straight back past Whitney for 4.

    The look on Mike Whitney's face was absolutely priceless and to be honest, quite frightening, especially for will knowing he had his last 2 balls to face of that over. I was glad it wasn't me who had to somehow manage to survive those last two deliveries in that over but Will managed to survive.

    Between overs, we took off our helmets as were were both sweating profusely, Mike walked up to Will offered his hand, shook it, and then proceeded to draw an "X" on his forehead with his index finger and said mockingly, "that's where the next delivery is going" and walked off to fine leg.

    The next bowler the opposition brought on was a spinner to save Mike's and the other opening bowlers last 2 or 4 overs (every bowler was limited to 6 or was it 8 overs only) who I faced, hit his first ball for a 6 and got stumped by his second.

    Mike ended up with figures like 4 - 4 off all his 6 or 8 overs but Will and I had an unbeaten partnership against him and Will's 4 was the only runs scored against his bowling.

    Another claim to fame is that in Canada, I was a school champion short course swimmer and held provincial school age records. In 1985 at a meet held at the University of Calgary (UofC), I swam against the then reigning 100m freestyle gold medal winner, Rowdy Gains, over 50 m long course. Now at the time I was only a part time swimmer and didn't train exclusively for swimming but was an 11 second flat 25 meter (short course) freestyler but struggled over longer distances due to a lack of dedicated training.

    Rowdy was a bit of a hero at the time, one of the reasons for that was that he was smaller than most other swimmers when you see them on TV. When I stood next to him in the warmups only then did I realise he was still a reasonably taller bloke at 6' 1" (from wikipedia) and I'm only 5' 10 1/2" - 179 cm - so damn those other swimmers must be tall!

    Anyway, managed to finish within half a body length pushing him all the way. 3rd place was a body and half behind me which is a lot at 50m.

    After that, I was thinking I was pretty shit hot and so off I went and organised a tryout with the UofC dolphins in front of Aussie swimming legend Mr Don Talbot himself.

    They told me to warm up for 15 minutes, then I would do a 25 then 50 metre sprint with only 2 minutes rest in between. Getting ready for the 25m I saw Talbot watching so I made sure to give it my all and got really close to 11 seconds flat. Got out of the water, focused on my breathing and recovery preparing for the next 50m, all the time whilst watching for a reaction from the legend himself.

    Talbot then turned his back, said something to his assistant who came over and said don't worry about the 50 m as his comment was, "fast enough but too old and too short". And there endith my swimming career - I had just turned 18.

    In NZ rugby, my one and only game of Presidents Cup, I had the honour to play with and against Pita Alatini as my cousin was the team manager for the Pakuranga Presidents Cup side and is friends with Pita.

    We played at Pakuranga oval against Counties and he played 1 half for us and then swapped sides and played for Counties as he has an affiliation with them. Plays Presidents Cup well within himself but still made everyone else look pedestrian and is supremely fit and gifted even in his late 40s. Also a really nice guy, as is his wife, as we met them at several social events including my cousins 50th birthday. We remain Facebook friends.

    Apologies to all for that long-winded posting as I meandered down memory lane and kudo' to any who make it this far.

    Cheers



  • @roninwc said in Most Famous people you have played sport with ( or had breakfast with), or are related to.:

    Damn reading through this thread has had me laughing and a little jealous (@dogmeat ) and has really had me wandering down memory lane and pulling out some long forgotten, or best forgotten memories.

    So brushes with fame/sport stars:
    Remembering that I was only living in NZ until 10 when the family moved to Canada, the only retrospective famous person was at Target Road Elementary School in Glenfield, Auckland, Rachel Hunter's older sister was in my class and Rachel herself was in my brother's class two years behind.
    In case you are wondering, all the family looks went into Rachel.

    I know I have told the story previously about catching up with the non-playing AB's who were having lunch in North Sydney on the Friday before the infamous 2003 RWC semifinal against Australia when I spoke with Tana about his availability so I won't repeat it. Funny enough, in 2010 the wife and I moved to Sydney's upper North Shore and we were living near Stirling Mortlock and used to see him far too regularly but I always gave him a cold shoulder due to that intercept. I have no doubt he felt the snub ;-).

    In Canada, I played rep union (at 10 and 12) and when 17 I tried out for an national age team. I was competing against a huge number of players including one real standout... Gareth Rees - yes the same one who then went on to play in 4 consecutive Rugby World Cups.

    Played in a possibles v probables game of 4 x 20 minute quarters with and against him as the sides got mixed up at each break. Damn he was a good rugby player for a Canuck!

    Unfortunately for me, I didn't even make it into the squad and to be honest, never deserved it anyway, just wasn't good enough. That game turned out to be my last until moving to Aus in my early 20's.

    In Aus, like @Mokey I worked in journalism for 12 years at Australian Associated Press (AAP) where there used to be a regular publishers cup in both Rugby/League and Cricket.

    Played with and against a number of former Rugby/League internationals who were ring-ins, especially for News Corp, dirty cheating bastards!

    The most notable was a game that was one that was a 1 half league/1 half union blend game and AAP had joined forces with Fairfax newspapers and we had Mr. Peter Fitzsimons start for us. However he got knocked out after about 30 seconds when he went up to regather the short kick off and got absolutely clobbered by a couple of then current 1st grade League players. By today's rules both those players who hit him would be red carded but given it was a "friendly", there wasn't even a penalty awarded.

    As a group our team protested and almost walked away from the game as they very clearly targeted Fitzsimons as he was and still is a bit of a boofball basher in his columns. Fitzsimons was a really decent guy though, both before and after the game and after waking up, wobbling off the field and getting checked out, at the end of the game he shook the hands of both the boof heads who hit him and said something to the effect of "nice hit". You could see they both felt pretty low after that and I always remember his response to that situation.

    In a publisher's cup cricket match in the mid-90's, I can't remember which team we were facing but they had brought in recently retired Mike Whitney as a ring in. He was opening the bowling and absolutely no one from the AAP side wanted to face him so I as a very ordinary cricketer who batted middle order and threw down some slow/medium pies stood up and said I would open if no one else did as did another guy named Will Swanton who is a Sydney Journo of some note.

    Now I had never played cricket growing up in Canada but had played a bit of baseball quite well so when I connected it was usually a 4 or 6. And then the first good ball would get me out. I had only played about 2 seasons of park cricket with the local Kareela (Southerland Shire) side as well as a previous season of Publishers Cup previously so I wasn't experienced or good in any way at all.

    So we padded up and trundled out almost wetting ourselves at the same time. Whitney started off bowling well within himself off a short run up but as the deliveries went by and neither of us made any contact, you could see he was getting annoyed. About halfway through his second over as he was something like 0 - 0 off 9 or so deliveries, you could see he was getting even more annoyed, frustrated and pissed off and then he started lifting the pace.

    Well fuck me dead I couldn't even see the ball except for a red blur which I somehow managed to get my bat out of the way of.

    His third over, he was steaming in off a much longer run up and these balls were whizzing past, somehow missing stumps or pad for LBW. I had somehow even managed to get the bat in position to block a few that didn't just whiz by. Admittedly after a bit your eye does start adjusting to the ball even at that pace.

    On his 4th over, with his stats at 0 - 0 off 18, Whitney was firing them down at Will and I think it was the 4th ball of the over, he bowled this cracker right at Will's pads and Will somehow managed to get his bat in a good defensive position and the ball hit the absolute middle of the bat and rocketed away straight back past Whitney for 4.

    The look on Mike Whitney's face was absolutely priceless and to be honest, quite frightening, especially for will knowing he had his last 2 balls to face of that over. I was glad it wasn't me who had to somehow manage to survive those last two deliveries in that over but Will managed to survive.

    Between overs, we took off our helmets as were were both sweating profusely, Mike walked up to Will offered his hand, shook it, and then proceeded to draw an "X" on his forehead with his index finger and said mockingly, "that's where the next delivery is going" and walked off to fine leg.

    The next bowler the opposition brought on was a spinner to save Mike's and the other opening bowlers last 2 or 4 overs (every bowler was limited to 6 or was it 8 overs only) who I faced, hit his first ball for a 6 and got stumped by his second.

    Mike ended up with figures like 4 - 4 off all his 6 or 8 overs but Will and I had an unbeaten partnership against him and Will's 4 was the only runs scored against his bowling.

    Another claim to fame is that in Canada, I was a school champion short course swimmer and held provincial school age records. In 1985 at a meet held at the University of Calgary (UofC), I swam against the then reigning 100m freestyle gold medal winner, Rowdy Gains, over 50 m long course. Now at the time I was only a part time swimmer and didn't train exclusively for swimming but was an 11 second flat 25 meter (short course) freestyler but struggled over longer distances due to a lack of dedicated training.

    Rowdy was a bit of a hero at the time, one of the reasons for that was that he was smaller than most other swimmers when you see them on TV. When I stood next to him in the warmups only then did I realise he was still a reasonably taller bloke at 6' 1" (from wikipedia) and I'm only 5' 10 1/2" - 179 cm - so damn those other swimmers must be tall!

    Anyway, managed to finish within half a body length pushing him all the way. 3rd place was a body and half behind me which is a lot at 50m.

    After that, I was thinking I was pretty shit hot and so off I went and organised a tryout with the UofC dolphins in front of Aussie swimming legend Mr Don Talbot himself.

    They told me to warm up for 15 minutes, then I would do a 25 then 50 metre sprint with only 2 minutes rest in between. Getting ready for the 25m I saw Talbot watching so I made sure to give it my all and got really close to 11 seconds flat. Got out of the water, focused on my breathing and recovery preparing for the next 50m, all the time whilst watching for a reaction from the legend himself.

    Talbot then turned his back, said something to his assistant who came over and said don't worry about the 50 m as his comment was, "fast enough but too old and too short". And there endith my swimming career - I had just turned 18.

    In NZ rugby, my one and only game of Presidents Cup, I had the honour to play with and against Pita Alatini as my cousin was the team manager for the Pakuranga Presidents Cup side and is friends with Pita.

    We played at Pakuranga oval against Counties and he played 1 half for us and then swapped sides and played for Counties as he has an affiliation with them. Plays Presidents Cup well within himself but still made everyone else look pedestrian and is supremely fit and gifted even in his late 40s. Also a really nice guy, as is his wife, as we met them at several social events including my cousins 50th birthday. We remain Facebook friends.

    Apologies to all for that long-winded posting as I meandered down memory lane and kudo' to any who make it this far.

    Cheers

    Rachel's sister would be worth a hoon or am I imagining that?


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