Some reflections of a Taverner By Emanuel J. Sylvester Jr.(Manny/Joe)
The City of Winnipeg welcomed me here in the “Fall” of 1968. My then fiancé Eulah, and I got married the same year
In the Summer of 1969 the MCA welcomed me to Assiniboine park.
I played for Carlton Cricket Club with the likes of the late Herbert Spencer and other members such as Orville Hinds, Byron Jones, Roger Marville and Andy Goodman.
Don’t think I’m going to allow this little bragging moment to go unmentioned. In my first game, against East Kildonan, I captured 7 wickets for 29 runs. In my second game against Assiniboine Colts I captured seven wickets for 5 runs. I have a lot more to tell but it will have to be at a Taverners Winter Meeting and it may cost you around.
The following year, we decided to form a new cricket club since there was a large number of cricketers coming to Winnipeg from all over, particularly the Caribbean islands, and since there were only six clubs to accommodate them, it was necessary to form new clubs. The late Herbert Spencer came up with the idea of forming a new cricket club. He sought and obtained the assistance of Byron Jones and myself for that endeavour. We named the new club “Eagles” and I was asked to be Secretary, a position which I willingly accepted. We started our recruiting process by inviting other players particularly those with whom we identified and those who didn’t get much playing time in other clubs to join our new team. Salaries were not big in those days, but the fringe benefits you obtained from associating with a cricket club (drinking beer, going to socials and parties) were good.
LOOK BACK FOR A MINUTE
Imagine being relatively new to a country and being the secretary for a new cricket club.You have no typewriter at home, no computer, no car,
You have to somehow: 1) Recruit new members 2) Raise funds 3) Apply to Manitoba Cricket Association for membership 4) Apply to the Manitoba Liquor Commission for a permit to hold a fund-raising social and have your application investigated. 6) Order and distribute social tickets 7) Order liquor from the Liquor from the Liquor Commission, but you don’t have sufficient money to purchase it..
At our first General Meeting we decided to appoint Herb Spencer as our captain, and Byron Jones our Vice-Captain, but when we heard that the late Carl Glasgow – a terrific cricketer who had previously lived in Winnipeg and played for the Winnipeg Cricket Club) was returning to Winnipeg and was willing to join our club, we made him captain and made Herbert Vice-Captain. Carl moved to Ottawa before the season was over to do some graduate work, Herb took over as captain and we managed to win the Fort Garry Cup (Knock Out/20 overs) cup that year. In 1971 Herb continued to captain and we won the League Trophy. In 1972, I captained and again we won the League trophy.
Eileen Kennedy, (the president of the Winnipeg Cricket Club for about 20 years) and I became friends because she was such a great cricket fan, was the official scorer for her club and was a member of the CRICKETTES, a group of ladies consisting of cricketers’ wives. They used to bake cakes and goodies, go to Polo Park and sell them in order to raise funds for the Cricket Association. In addition, they prepared tea at no charge for the cricketers which the cricketers drank at half time. I admired her great contribution and always praised/thanked her for them.
Eileen even invited me to her annual New Year’s Eve fund-raising party held at her house on Oxford Street.
One day I told her that I was going to approach the wives of the cricketers in our club to see if they would do some baking and also help in serving tea at half time. I phoned the wives of the cricketers of our club, told them the situation and they agreed to contribute. By then I had a car, so I could go from house to house to collect the baking products. Eileen was so impressed with my efforts that one day she approached me and said she would like to nominate me for the MCA Executive. I told her that I was new in Winnipeg and I hardly knew all the cricketers so she should probably ask some of the crickets who had been here for much longer. She pursuaded me to allow my name stand and that she would campaign for me. She came with the Nomination form, I signed it and after the election it was revealed that I was elected to the MCA Executive. I became the League Secretary, Clive Pickering the League Chairman Dr. Gwill Evans -President, Bill Weighton – VP, John Page-Treasurer, Adrien Savage and Harry Davies Members at Large. As League Secretary, it was my task to open the pavilion, hand out the game balls, collect the stats sheets at the end of the game and lock the pavilion.
I spent four years on the Executive; two as League Secretary, one as Social Chairman, and one as Public Relations Officer. I also had to open the pavilion for the Taverners on Wednesdays, so we became friends. Eileen invited to join them at the Paddock Restaurant at Polo Park for after-game beverages. I went periodically, but NOT every week. Eventually, Taverners invited me to join but I replied that Taverners was a kind of an “Old Men’s club and I was too young to join.(I wasn’t being rude. I was just being respectful). However, later on I joined. My official membership in Taverners probably dates back to the early 1980’s.
Other Taverners members included DRS. Roulston, Porritt, Jolly, Pirani, Bjani, Keith Tipples. Also Tony Kennedy, Wilfred James and others whose names don’t occur to me right now. I never understood why Keith Tipples didn’t play on the weekends, because he used to score so many runs on Wednesdays. Somebody told me that he went camping on weekends. I did not understand why a person would give up cricket for camping. To Keith, I would like to say, I sort of understand now.
One day while walking through the Psychology Building on my way to the Science complex, at University of Manitoba a young lady stopped to say “hi’’ to me. I asked her where she knew me from and she replied that I open the pavilion for the Taverners every Wednesday. She happened to be Dr. Terry Jolly’s daughter. Later on I became two of her boys’ Cub and Scout leader. The
younger of the two went to school with my younger son and were both on the same football team. I also taught at the same school as her hubby. Did you say it was a small world?
In the early 2000’s Gerry Maingo who was recently transferred from B.C to Winnipeg, hosted the Taverners December meeting. He cooked us come callaloo soup. It was a hit. For three consecutive years, he made us callaloo at Christmas. The next year, he was transferred back to B.C. I was approached by the then Social Chairman, Mike Fuller to see if I could take on the task of making the callaloo. I asked my wife, Eulah, and she agreed to make it. It was also a hit for 5 years. In fact, some members asked to take some home their wives.
I made a statement once about rewarding players with a little trophy for small fun things done in the club. A bunch of players took it too seriously and up to this day I am teased about it…….Boooo!
After all these years I was nominated for the James A. Rose trophy for Assiduous Achievement
By Keith James (in 2010 I think) but didn’t win it. Thanks for nominating me, Keith.
In 2016, I was finally awarded the James Rose Trophy for Assiduous achievement.
Thanks for nominating me, Karl, thanks for whoever seconded the motion, and thanks for those who voted for me, and Keith Tipples, thanks for presenting it.
Thanks, guys1 You are a great bunch. I won’t trade you guys for any other group.
In 1995, when Taverners toured the UK, I was scheduled to be on assignment in Montserrat, so I couldn’t go. However, the program was cancelled late due to political concerns. Dr. Pirani’s wife, who was a travel agent, tried desperately to get a flight to the UK, but all flights were booked.
In 2001, I was scheduled to attend a conference at University of London, so after my conference, I joined the Taverners in Painswick, Glouscestershire for Taverners second tour to the UK.
The rest my friends is ……………………………………………………………HISTORY
Emanuel J. Sylvester Jr.