Avon Hockey is sad to morn the passing of life member Paul Clark. Our club extends our thoughts to his family.
Paul and his twin brother, Peter, learned their hockey at primary school in Lyttelton. Peter Oakes remembers playing hockey with them on the yard of the old Lyttelton gaol, a rough playground where anything went in hockey terms and it took great skill to trap a ball.
At Christchurch West High School they joined the First Eleven in 1953 and 1954, playing in the half line, Paul at left half. Being left handed, Paul had a particular strength on his reversed stick side and was always hard to beat there.
At the end of 1954, they and all but one of the team left school and played for West Old Boys. Under the tutelage of Eric Oakes, they moved through the grades until in 1959, Paul and the Old Boys’ team played in Senior Grade – then the top grade – and continued in that grade for more than a decade.
Peter Cox remembers that in the early 1970s Paul was a key player in the Hagley High School Old Boys team (having recently changed its name from Christchurch West Old Boys. He was a well-respected senior played who also regularly represented Canterbury and the South Island. He played at least until 1973 when Hagley played University in the Senior Club final, going down 3-2.
Paul was always a strong supporter of the club and was active in its administration. He was a key member of the group who in 1977 managed the merger of the club with Shirley Women to form Pegasus Hockey Club.
In the pre-and early Pegasus years, Paul coached primary school and Pegasus under age teams; (Paul and Peter Oakes both coached under-14 teams which they planned to guide through to higher grades). At some point, Paul coached the primary Hatch Cup team that contained several players who were to make up the Pegasus senior team eg John Radovonich and David Grundy and no doubt others. Then there was that very good period when Paul coached the premier team that won a succession of titles.
Paul resumed playing briefly in the 1990s when the Canterbury Passmasters was formed, a group of former Canterbury players who played a fixture list against secondary school teams.
Paul remained vitally interested in the club and had recently completed a ‘stock-take’ of former club members.