Why this weekend’s intercity comp is so special for Allan
ALLAN Clarke was part of the Rockhampton table tennis team that won the first intercity competition against Bundaberg in 1970.
He will be there again this weekend as the team looks to taste victory and have its name etched on the Eric Cree Shield for the 17th time in the past 22 years.
Allan, 68, will be the oldest member of the Rockhampton contingent and his grandson Colte Nolan, 10, the youngest.
His daughter Erica (Colte’s mother) will also be in action on Saturday.
Allan has played in about 30 of the intercity events, and said this weekend would be significant for him.
“If anyone would have said to me in 1970 that I’d be playing in the same squad as my grandchild in 50 years time, I probably would have said you are kidding,” he said.
Rockhampton will send seven three-member teams to Bundaberg this weekend.
Allan said it was great to see so many players who started table tennis in the city’s junior coaching program competing this weekend.
Joel and Dane Coughlan, Matt Pettett, Rayden Smith, Erica Nolan, Chris Leitner and Geoff Geddes will be joined by current youngsters Matthew and Emily Steffen, Nick Green and Colte.
Allan said after that first intercity clash in 1970, Rockhampton association administrator Trevor White donated a shield.
The associations played for that prized trophy – the Trevor White Shield - for about 25 years before it was retired.
Since then, they have played for the Eric Cree Shield. (Eric was a long-serving volunteer with the Bundaberg association).
Allan said regardless of the era, the shields were affectionately known as “The Holy Grail” in this region and there was plenty of friendly rivalry between the club members.
“This competition is so important to some members of both clubs that they consider it rates much higher than major championships on the busy state tournament calendar,” he said.