A Duck on the First Googly

My brother David getting back yard cricket coaching
My brother David getting back yard cricket coaching

My brother, David,  playing backyard cricket.

A Duck on the First Googly

Basil Prior joined the Globe and Phoenix Mine in 1945 to work underground. At 2 pm everyday, Ethne, his wife, would send the garden boy over to the shaft-head to leave a  change of clothes and her bicycle.  After a shower he would coast down the hill home for tea and a snack.

A Duck on the First Googly

When there was a cricket test match, which went on for days, Ethne would send notes about the state of play, via the garden boy, to the shaft-head during the day to inform the chaps underground.

An American joined the mine. He introduced baseball.  Soon Que Que had the first recognized diamond park in the country.  Basil worried that Que Que’s sons might take to baseball instead of cricket.  He constructed nets for them at the bottom of the garden.  After his tea he would coach.  Although he broke both collar bones and had to quit rugby, he continued to play club cricket himself for many years.

My Dad was always the smallest in his class.  Once he entered Forest High School, in the rough and tumble of Johannesburg’s Southern Suburbs, he had to accept that he wouldn’t be chosen for anyone’s rugby fifteen. He boxed in his division through his university years, which stood him in good stead outside the ring as well.  He was fast, had a keen eye and was an enthusiastic sportsman.  He also joined the G & P Mine Cricket Team when he moved to Que Que in 1946.  They played on the G & P field between Amaveni Road and Que Que School.

Dad knew that besides the priorities of a larger water supply, a water born sewage system, street lighting and paved roads, Que Que, the smallest municipality in the world, would need a sports club if it was ever going to attract big industry.

Once elected to council, a site, off Rhodes Highway on the road to Umvuma, was set aside for a comprehensive sports amenity that included rugby, cricket, tennis and golf, with room to grow, around a central club house.

Development took time.  Finally, as mayor in 1952, he opened the first of many cricket matches to be played at the  new Que Que Sports Club.

With the first ball he bowled the batsman out with a googly!

He was president of the Club for ten years.

Dr Hirsch Opening Cricket Season 1954

Dr Hirsch opening the Cricket Season 1952 at the opening of Que Que Sports Club

Thanks to Nigel Prior for Snippets from his Mother’s Memoirs.

P.S.  Here is an update from Ken Connelly:    “In 2002 the club turned 50 and we staged a black tie dinner in the hall, our guest speaker was none other than ex Springbok rugby coach Ian Macintosh (son of the Que Que Town Clerk from the 1950’s). Your Dad would have certainly known him. This year we turn 60 and we are planning another dinner after a cricket festival in May. The Irish ambassador to Zimbabwe is involved in the Black Rhino conservancy just south of Kwekwe and the event will also raise funds for this worthwhile cause.
We hold a “Wicked Cricket” festival annually, 16 teams, lots of colour and a real family day with old fashioned church type fete stalls all around the ground.
Kwekwe soldiers on!
Baseball.    The American Eagles vs Rhodesia in 1958. This was on what is colloquially termed “the old baseball field”. This field has now been leased by Goldridge College. “