Rovers honour a cricketing legend

2014-11-01 00:00

DESPITE news headlines ringing a death knell for Berea Rovers’ current clubhouse, the club officially named former South African cricket legend Mike Proctor as an honorary life member on Wednesday night.

Proctor, who is a Hilton College old-boy, played for the club in the mid-sixties coming straight out of school and joined a handful of Protea players who were playing for Rovers at the time.

He went on to be a prolific cricketer in both South African domestic cricket and was somewhat of a cult hero for UK County Cricket side Gloucestershire, captaining them for four of his 13 years at the county. He also represented South Africa in just seven Tests due to playing bans during apartheid, but still recorded two successive series defeats over Australia.

Rovers club chair Dave Stevens officially handed Proctor his lifetime membership, citing his outstanding achievements in cricket and his career start at Rovers as contributing factors.

“It is traditional for sports clubs to honour their great sportsmen and we salute Mike for his passion and enthusiasm for the game,” Stevens said.

“Procky’s career started here and it is fitting that we give him an honorary life membership for his achievements over the years.”

Upon receiving his honorary status, Proctor was happy to reflect on his playing career and touched on some of his experiences, with members of Rovers listening with great interest.

“This really is a great honour. I am lucky to have had such a privileged life. I left school and came and played cricket at Rovers and we only played about six to eight provincial games in a year so club cricket was really important. I played with some greats while I was here,” Proctor said.

“I still have great memories of when the club was still based at Salisbury House. We would go there after our matches for a few beers, a special place with special friends. This was where I started my career and it helped me on to greater things.”

Although he could not quite pin down the exact dates, Proctor remembers playing for the club for three years from 1964 onwards.

“We had guys like Roy Mclean and Peter Carlstein in the side and it was a different time in cricket. These guys really helped me.”

Proctor admitted being slightly star-struck playing alongside players he had idolised as a schoolboy but said his team-mates were welcoming and helped him develop as a player.

“The vibe was always great in the team. I was made very welcome and enjoyed playing with some legends of the game.”

He also touched on some of the controversies during his tenure as a match referee for the ICC. Going through his troubles in dealing with a ball-tampering and racism scandal in 2006 between Australia and Pakistan, Proctor admitted that officiating was a difficult business.

“I felt somewhat lost during that time,” he said. “When you play you have a lot of control, but in those instances I didn’t quite know what to do.”

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