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by Claire Allison

The ball is in the court of former Saints and St Patrick’s Basketball Club members to register for this month’s 50-year reunion in Timaru.

The St Patrick’s Basketball Club began in 1968 as a school team at St Patrick’s High School, now Roncalli College. It later included Old Boys and All-Comers, and then established women’s teams. At one point there were seven teams, including four women’s teams.

The club changed its name to Saints about 15 years ago, and still plays in the local competition, this year fielding two men’s teams.

St Pat’s women’s basketball team, date unknown, probably mid 1970s. From left, Shirley Murray (now Whyte), Linda Hammond (now Bradley), Joy Higginson (now Miller), Linda Cosgrove, Robyn Thomas.

Reunion organiser Kevin Murray said that over the past 50 years, several hundred people had played for Saints, and while good membership records were kept between 1982 and 2009, time had passed and most of the contact details were now obsolete.

The 1970s were the heyday for the club, when the men’s team won five championships in a row and the women’s team three in a row.

Over the club’s 50-year history the men’s team has won about 10 championships in total, and the women’s team five.

Men’s coach Keith Mair went on to spend 12 years coaching the New Zealand men’s basketball team, the Tall Blacks.

Mr Murray said about 40 people had registered so far, but the club was hoping to spread the word to make sure everyone who had been a member had the chance to take part. The last reunion was held 25 years ago.

The July 20-22 reunion will include shared meals, informal events and a chance to relive the glory days with some Sunday morning basketball.

Former players interested in attending the reunion can email Kevin Murray at kevin.jeanette@xtra.co.nz or text 022 394-1588. Registrations close on Monday.