Michael Hogan Testimonial Lunch and the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the St. Helen’s Balconiers
The St. Helen’s Balconiers and guests including a number of former players gathered at the Towers Hotel, Jersey Marine for a lunch with a difference on Friday the 4th November 2022.
At the outset of this now regular November event, there were two topics to celebrate Michael Hogan’s Testimonial and the 50th Anniversary of the formation of the St. Helen’s Balconiers but by the end four subjects had been recognised.
Dr Andrew Hignell (Glamorgan CCC – 1st XI Scorer / Heritage and Education Coordinator) oversaw the proceedings of the afternoon with John Williams (Chairman, St Helen’s Balconiers) opening the lunch by welcoming the 100 plus people attending and explaining the revised date to enable Michael Hogan to return to Australia.
A buffet lunch was served, this was appreciated before a video recording prepared by Paul Sussex highlighting the contribution Michael Hogan has made to Glamorgan since he joined Glamorgan in 2013.
It was then the opportunity for a “Panel Q&A” with the panellists being Michael Hogan, Steve Watkin (Glamorgan, England and current Glamorgan 2nd XI coach) and Michael Powell (Glamorgan and Warwickshire). Edward Bevan (Cricket Correspondent / Broadcaster) sourced the questions from the audience and used his knowledge of Glamorgan to phrase his questions to the panellists.
Gareth Williams (Glamorgan CCC Chairman) then spoke to those assembled about the importance of the West in the history and future of Glamorgan cricket. Given the venue extolling praise on the support of the St. Helen’s Balconiers toward Glamorgan both in voice and finance. He concluded that Glamorgan were in talks with two Councils with the aim of reinvigorating cricket coaching and playing facilities in the Neath / Swansea area to allow the continuance of professional cricket under the Glamorgan banner.
The first unscheduled element of the afternoon occurred when Andrew Hignell invited Alan Jones MBE (England, Glamorgan and former President of Glamorgan) on his 84th birthday to come forward and receive a painting by Lena Lim depicting him receiving his England cap.
It was now time to recall the 50th Anniversary of the formation of the Balconiers so named because of where the founders sat at the St. Helen’s Ground. A further video with a compilation of information and photographs was played to illustrate the story of the Balconiers so far. The story covered the formation on the 28th August 1972 to the current day with the Glamorgan supporting tours under the banner of Daffodil Tours.
John Williams gave a response emphasising it was the collective of the membership that had perpetuated the Balconiers and would carry them forward. Alan Jones took the opportunity to award John Williams with a gift in recognition of his work over the years and his forthcoming birthday. The results of the raffle were announced and presented, following which Michael Hogan was invited forward to receive a cheque in support of his Testimonial first granted by Glamorgan in 2020 and rolled forward to 2022 having initially coincided with the Coronavirus pandemic. Michael made a heartfelt response thanking everyone for making his time at Glamorgan exceptional and his time in Wales unforgettable with his children speaking Welsh.