9 April 2018.
Some Reflections of a Taverner. Mike Fuller.
I came to Winnipeg in April 1970. The snow was still around, and everywhere was untidy and messy, as it is that time of year. I wondered what I’d got myself into. I was transferred here by English Electric Co. to work on the Nelson River Project. I heard there was cricket played in the park, and I had my whites with me.
I showed up one Saturday when Carlton was about to play against St. George. Carlton were one man short, and I was invited to play for them. Later, the captain put me on to bowl and I got pasted by Clive Pickering and Merv Savage. Later, I joined St. Georges, with The Major as Chairman. He always bought drinks all round to start off the proceedings. I thought that was a very good idea.
I think it was 1975 before I joined Taverners. I was already married to Ruth, and we had a child with another on the way. We decided to take up camping, so week-end cricket was out. Taverners was perfect – not overly competitive, but enough to make a good 20 over game. There was a period of a couple of years where things got a bit silly, but a few changes soon put that right. I was usually no.10 or 11 bat, and bowled most games, maybe 5 or 6 overs. Slow left arm, bit of a nuisance. The nature of the 20 over game had many batsmen taking chances, and I sometimes picked off a few wickets, with the help of several expert pairs of hands in the field.
I was Secretary-Treasurer of Taverners for several years, and Captain for three years in the early 90’s. Right around the time adoption of the Larry Unrau Trophy, and the entry into Indoor Winter Cricket (both of which I had a hand in). I also served a couple of times on the MCA Executive. The first stint as League Secretary, with Gene Lloyd as League Chairman, and a few years later, as Secretary-Treasurer to Gene Lloyd as Chairman. Some sloppy financial management had taken place, and I got a call from Gene “Mike, I need you”! That was in the early 80’s around the time of 18% interest rates. Gene and I made a couple of thousand dollars for the MCA by moving Government Grant money around to earn prime interest rates. But I digress.
I remember the James A. Rose trophy. It was hand crafted and machined out of a two inch piece of aluminum, designed and put together by the welding foreman at Shopost Iron and aluminum Works. I think that crop of Taverners were not sophisticated enough to appreciate an unusual example of Post-Modern Industrial Art. I am sure current crop of young, worldly Taverners would have enjoyed such a fine example. The only problem with it was the industrial glue we used to hold the ball in place wasn’t working too well, and the ball kept falling off it’s base.
After Gwil Evans retired and went to BC. I was given the daunting task of controlling the Wednesday night finances, and eventually, the highlight of the season _ Taverners’ Annual BBQ. A big job indeed, with big shoes to fill. Taverners’ BBQ was initially set up (by Gwil) so that we all paid a little over cost for a beer on a Wednesday night. The profits were kept in a bank account separate from General Funds, to be spent on filet mignon steaks, wine beer and all the trimmings. If you were tasked with bringing baked potatoes, you would get your cost refunded on production of a receipt. Detailed records were kept, and presented at the AGM. What started to happen, and I was part of the problem, was that we began to build a surplus, and it got bigger each year, until I think we got up to around $500 surplus. I decided this was not the original intention, and tried to spend as much as we could. Expensive port, and catered cakes and pastries. (That was when Horace got to relive his younger days as an attendant on the railway working his way through school – excellent service, by the way, Horace). The following year at the AGM, I came under some serious criticism from some of the newer members, who said I had wasted all their money.
I did not go on all of the tours (I missed the opening tour of Kent). But I was at Somerset and later the Cotswolds Tour – which my cousin, Tony, organized for us. By the way, I was back in England a few months ago, and ran into Tony. The first thing he said to me is “Where’s our trophy ?” One of our members stole a trophy from their clubhouse, to entice them to send a team to Winnipeg to get it back. It never happened, but some of their older members are still pissed off about it. Those of you who were on that tour may remember Tony’s son Mark, who played a couple of games for us and batted well. He is now the Skipper of Brockworth, and he also gets asked about the trophy. Any ideas anyone.
I enjoyed each tour, but the one I give the edge to is the 1985 Masters Games under the guidance of Keith Tipples. We played hard, and drank hard, but never won a match !