The Origins of IFCR
This is what Geoffrey Pike, President and Founder of the Rotary Cricket Fellowship, said in 1993:
It was at the Rotary International Assembly at Nashville in 1986 that the idea of an exchange of parties of cricket-playing Rotarians between districts in the United Kingdom and India was discussed. There then followed several years of exchanges between India, South Africa and the West Indies and it became clear that a new Rotary Vocational Fellowship would succeed and on 25th May 1993 the formal launching of the International Fellowship of Cricket Loving Rotarians took place in the Long Room of the Melbourne Cricket Club courtesy of the Australian Cricket Board.
Tours have since taken place between Australia, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom and the West Indies. The incoming tourists have not only been able to enjoy the delights of a new country seen through the eyes of their Rotarian hosts but they have also acted as “missionaries” and have shown that even though one’s body may have declined the enjoyment of the game has not diminished. There are many examples of people who thought their playing days had long gone but have realised that Rotary cricket is played at a more sedate pace. Even the Australian sledging is more polite in Rotary cricket.
We have also established regular World Festivals. The first was in Fordingbridge in England in 1997. This was followed by Chennai, India in 1999 and Christchurch, New Zealand in 2002. The next one will be held in the Hunter Valley, Australia in November 2004. Just like the Olympics they get bigger and better each time and the Hunter Valley is already preparing itself for the onslaught.
But IFCR is not just about playing cricket. It is just the excuse for bringing together the fellowship that Rotary and cricket combines so uniquely. Long may it survive.
And the fellowship has continued to grow in enjoyment and sport and world wide fellowship now into the 2020's.