Ian Folster's love of cricket is widely known and is unlikely to wane, nor is his passion for the sport's Golden Oldies concept, which he has also served admirably in a voluntary sense on the National Advisory Committee and attending 10 international tournaments.
The retired 69-year-old Invercargill chartered accountant and his two sons, Geoff and Barry, graphically illustrate a family involvement with the game that would be difficult to match.
Geoff, the head teacher of the junior school at Southland Boys' High School, where he represented the first XI as a player, was a long-serving Southland representative cricket captain, scoring more than 2000 runs, including three centuries for the province.
Brother Barry, a BNZ manager in Tauranga, also played for the Southland Boys' High first X1 and was man of the match for the winners Tumoetai Cadets (Tauranga) in the 2004 national club competition.
Geoff was a Southland primary schools representative when his father coached the team for two years, and he later also coached that team for three years.
Ian's love affair with cricket was sparked as a player at Southland Boys' High during his attendance there (1957-60) and he was later a medium pace bowler for the Union team in the Southland club competition for many years. The Union club later combined with Georgetown to form the Metropolitan club.
Ian's early playing involvement was furthered at Otago University while he was completing accounting studies for a bachelor of commerce in 1964 and 1965. Upon returning to Invercargill in 1966 he was appointed secretary-treasurer of the Southland Cricket Association, a position he held for more than 20 years, and he has retained continuous involvement with the association, including being chairman of the board for four years.
He still views the presentation of his life membership of the association in 1992 as a career highlight and is its current presidentassociation. Unbeknown to some, he served on the executive of the Otago Cricket Association for 15 years and was president of Otago Cricket in 1991-92.
"It was all a lot of hard work having to attend so many meetings over the years but satisfying in the final analysis," Ian said.
"Like many other sports, cricket is struggling, but we have excellent facilities at Queens Park. "When I first joined the association, we only had an old pavilion that had passed its use-by date but, after considerable fundraising, we built the first pavilion on the present Queens Park site in the late 1970s."
The facility has since been extended as a result of generous ILT and Community Trust of Southland funding, with indoor practice amenities to form a facility to be proud of.
"When we built the first pavilion, it was all done from fundraising with no corporate backing but the first ILT funding was a major breakthrough.
"I remember getting a phone call in the mid-1980s from the late chairman Ollie Henderson to say the trust was funding sport and that we were getting a professional overseas coach, the former Pakistan test player Billy Ibadulla, who was put up in a manager's flat at the Kelvin Hotel."
That appointment was the "dawning of a new era" but the game's progress had been impeded by losing young players out of the province to northern university centres and having to find employment for them when they returned home, he said. Retention of secondary school players for clubs had also been difficult.
Ian viewed Southland's 14 successful defences of the Hawke Cup in 1973-77 and 15 during 1989-92 as the golden years of Southland cricket in his time.
"They were wonderful achievements and reward for considerable fundraising in earlier years to get teams around the country at a time when New Zealand Cricket was not funding to any great extent but the situation has improved."
For many years he was chairman of the Southland Amateur Sports Trust, serving as secretary initially in 1966 before appointed a trustee while an accountant at McCulloch and Partners.
Gordon Gilmour, Dr Neil Prentice, Jack Scandrett and "Ponty" Semmens were earlier trustees he was associated with. As some retired, Mike Piper and Tom Pryde were appointed.
Formed in the 1920s from art union funds, the trust was one of the first in New Zealand to inaugurate a Sportsman of the Year concept in 1953-54. He and Piper retired as trustees earlier this year.
Ian is looking forward to being a spectator in Brisbane on November 21 for the first Australia v England Ashes fixture and the last in Sydney.
He and his wife, Frances, who live a stone's throw from their beloved Waihopai Tennis Club quarters in Invercargill are again off to watch the Australian Tennis Open in mid January. A keen player, Ian was on the Waihopai committee for about 10 years, being part of extensive upgrades five years ago, climaxing with the laying of 12 Rebound Ace courts.
Ian's wide range of sporting pursuits also included three years on the executive of the Southland Badminton Association "in the days of Paul Skelt's leadership" and earlier representing Otago University for two years and later Southland.
Son Geoff furthered the family's background in the sport as a provincial representative for many years.
- © Fairfax NZ News