TIP OF THE CAP: GDSC Easts legend Ray Connor and club president Bret Loveday don the club's 1967-68 premiers caps at the club's reunion.
TIP OF THE CAP: GDSC Easts legend Ray Connor and club president Bret Loveday don the club's 1967-68 premiers caps at the club's reunion. Matthew Elkerton

Easts legend's walk down memory lane

CRICKET: It was a special moment for GDSC Easts Cricket Club as almost 100 people packed into the function room at Grafton District Services Club to celebrate 70 years in the Clarence River Cricket Association.

More than 100 cricket scorebooks from a bygone era adorned the room, as past and present players shared stories from the centre wicket.

It was also a chance for people to use the ultimate CRCA database, which contained almost all results and individual performances of the past century, put together as a labour of love by Easts president Bret Loveday.

But there was one man who stole the show on the night, GDSC Easts legend Ray Connor.

Connor, 95, bowled the very first ball for the club back in 1949, known then as Eastern Zone, and was present at the GDSC to celebrate all these years later.

"(Nights like this) are very important and I acknowledge the work that has gone into this event,” Connor told The Examiner.

"It has brought back so many memories from the 60-70 years that I have been part of this club.

"For me cricket is a great leveller, and also look what it can do. Cricket brings people of all walks of life together to enjoy the past and talk with one another, I think this game has great healing powers.”

While he might have bowled the first ball for the Easts club, and even took two wickets early in his spell, Connor was not a fast bowler, preferring to let his bat do the talking as an opener.

Connor also captained the Easts club for the first decade of its existence, and amassed more than 4000 runs across 227 first grade matches.

But he said his best memories came in the early '60s as the club tasted its first top grade success.

"In the first couple of years a lot of players came off matting and onto turf. That is a different game of cricket entirely,” Connor said. "The first couple of years the players found it very hard and we got belted most weekends.

"But in the third year we won the premiership. We went on to win it three years in a row. That was a great time for our club.”



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