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Sir Everton de Courcey Weekes
Wednesday 1st July 2020
Pictured: Sir Everton speaking at the 150th celebrations in La Mon 2007 (All photos courtesy of Rowland White)
Peter Shields, Sir Everton and Ian Shields in Barbados (Photo Clarence Hiles)
FOREWORD to our history book 'One Shot More...For the Honour of Down'
Having reached 150 a few times in my career I fully appreciate the effort and dedication required to get there. Congratulations North Down Cricket Club on a marvelous achievement and I’m very proud to have been asked to write this short foreword.
My first introduction to North Down was meeting a young man called Miller O’Prey in the Umpires Inn that I partially owned in Barbados over ten years ago. Like all Irishmen his tongue wasn’t tied, but he was an endearing conversationalist and over the years I got to know him and his family very well. A short time later I met another North Down man Clarence Hiles, and we have been close friends ever since. When Clarence and Pamela moved to live in Barbados it started a long series of dinners and parties with many Irish visitors, so I’ve become well versed on Irish cricket and its personalities.
I have been to Ireland a number of times dating back to 1954 when I played at Holywood in a special match to mark the opening of their new pavilion. I returned in 1995 for a very memorable celebration to mark my knighthood organized by my dear friends Malcolm Brodie, Cecil Walker, Billy Boyd and Robin Walsh. That same year I visited The Green for the first time and met a lot of happy people, not least because your team had just won the Irish Cup by one run.
What a great game I recall and you certainly know how to celebrate!
The North Down/Barbados connection is not solely reserved for the Hiles household as last year I met the Shields family and their friends when your captain Peter and his lovely young bride Claire were married on the island. I had a great night in the company of some old and some new friends from Comber. I’d also like to congratulate Ian on completing this fine history, a labour of love and dedication.
Cricket is changing all over the world and I’d like to encourage the next generation of North Down members to ensure that your fine club goes from strength to strength in the future.
I’ve read a lot about Northern Ireland over the past thirty years and I’m very pleased to see that peace appears to have returned after so many years of terrible hardship. I hope the next generation never sees those times again. I also hope the younger North Down players draw inspiration from the great displays by Ireland in the West Indies at the Cricket World Cup. The Irish players showed great spirit and teamwork and I’m sure those same qualities have been shown by the North Down members down the years to get your club to such an historic milestone and in such a strong position.
Enjoy your celebration, enjoy your cricket, and above all play the game in the spirit it was intended.
Well done North Down Cricket Club, 150 not out and still at the crease!
SIR EVERTON DE COURCEY WEEKES