Melbourne 2019 Festival
The Rotary Cricket Fellowship (IFCR) is one of many vocational and recreational fellowships of Rotary International. IFCR is one of the ten most populous of all these fellowships.
Founded at a meeting at the Long Room at the MCG in 1993, IFCR has been holding international festivals at intervals of roughly 2 years since the first one in England in 1997. The recent Melbourne festival was the 10th and follows on from Christchurch, NZ, in 2017 and Nottingham, UK, in 2014.
Attendance at Melbourne totalled 251 with 152 players and 99 wives/partners. India provided the largest contingent followed by Australia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, UK, New Zealand and South Africa. Single registrants from Pakistan and Nepal withdrew following Australian immigration’s refusal of their visa application.
Five games were played at Caulfield Park and two games were played at East Caulfield Reserve on Monday January 21 and the following Tuesday and Thursday. All games scheduled for the Friday of that week were cancelled because of the predicted very high temperatures.
The Melbourne festival was the first to schedule the majority of its games with mixed teams drawn from multiple countries rather than national teams.
The Wednesday of our festivals is usually a rest day to allow respite and recuperation from exertion of aging limbs. Melbourne’s festival continued that tradition. However those willing and able to play cricket that day took part in a special game at Strath Creek which is 90 minutes from the city and is the spiritual home of Australian IFCR. John Rogers who is the current proprietor of the facility entertained players and spectators at lunch with stories of his time as a first class player and as CEO of the WACA in Perth.
Players and spectators in front of the Strath Creek pavilion.
All games are played in the spirit of Rotary meaning that fellowship between players is the prime objective rather than simply winning the game.
Tours of the MCG were provided on 4 days around the festival.
The MCG was the venue for an excellent Opening Dinner with leading TV and radio cricket commentator Tim Lane as guest speaker while the Closing Dinner on the Friday was all fun and entertainment with acclaimed stage and cabaret performer Marney McQueen.
Gerald enjoys Marney’s performance.
The next world festival will be at Kandy in Sri Lanka in July 2021.