History of IFCR in Great Britain and Ireland
It was at the Rotary International assembly at Nashville in 1986 that the idea of an exchange of parties of cricket-playing Rotarians between districts in the United Kingdom and India was discussed and developed by past R.I. President Rajendra Saboo and past R.I. Director Geoffrey Pike.
There then followed several years of exchanges between India, South Africa and the West Indies and it became clear that a new Rotary Vocational Fellowship would succeed.
On 25th May 1993 the formal launching of the International Fellowship of Cricket-Loving Rotarians – I.F.C.R. – took place in the Long Room of the Melbourne Cricket Club courtesy of the Australian Cricket Board. Geoffrey became the founding Chairman.
Tours have since taken place between Australia, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, United Kingdom and the West Indies. The incoming tourists have not only been able to enjoy the delights of a new country seen through the eyes of their Rotarian hosts but they have also acted as “missionaries” and have shown that even though one’s body may have declined, the enjoyment of the game has not diminished.
There are many examples of people who thought their playing days had long gone, but have realised that Rotary cricket is played at a more sedate pace.
The first World Rotary Cricket Festival was held at Fordingbridge, England in 1997, the home town and club of IFCR treasurer Mike Jackson. This was followed by Chennai (Madras) India in 1999, Christchurch New Zealand in 2002, and the Hunter Valley Australia in November 2004. Colombo in Sri Lanka hosted the fifth festival in August 2007 before the sixth in Durban in March 2010. In more recent times festivals have been held in Vapi (India) in February 2012 and Nottingham in July 2014.
Each festival sees the number of participating teams increase, from 6 in Fordingbridge to 12 in Christchurch and 20 in the Hunter Valley.
The world festivals are sufficiently significant in the RI calendar as to have attracted RI President Elect Carl-Wilhelm Stenhammer to spend a couple of days at the Hunter Valley festival
IFCR GB&I has participated in each festival and has undertaken tours to South Africa, Australia, India and New Zealand and has played in Los Angeles while travelling to and from Australasia.
We have also been fortunate enough to arrange tours for and ‘home host’ IFCR members from both Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. What a wonderful way to make and retain friendships. Cricket is a great game.
Rotary is a special organisation, combine the two and you have something really special.
Sadly Geoffrey Pike passed away on 26th December 2005, well satisfied that his concept had developed far beyond his imagination. Mike Jackson took over Geoffrey’s role as Chairman in 2002 and passed it on to David Horsley (Australia) in 2010. In 2012 Kittu (India) took on the job and then passed it to Ravi Raman (India) in 2014.
For anyone who feels they are too old to play, remember, most of us are in the springtime of our sporting senility!