Zimbabwe’s cricket and hockey associations mourn all-rounder ‘Porge’ Williams

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The national associations of cricket and hockey in Zimbabwe have paid tribute to Porge Williams (pictured), who starred in both sporting codes, more so in the latter where he captained the national team and later coached it.

He lost his battle with cancer at his home in Bulawayo on Sunday at the age of 60.

Colin Ray Williams – better known for the rest of his life by his nickname Porge – was born in Bulawayo in 1961, a proud and much-respected resident of the city in his lifetime.

He was the father of Zimbabwe’s Test cricket captain Sean Williams and had a massive impact in his son’s career.

The older Williams played first-class cricket for Matabeleland for just one season with modest success and captained the province at the age of 40. In hockey, he represented Zimbabwe at international level most of the time as captain and the team’s best player. After retiring as a player, he coached the national hockey side for a lengthy period.

“He was a club cricketer in Bulawayo and was appointed Matabeleland captain for the Logan Cup campaign in 2001-02, at the age of 40, mainly as an experienced mentor for a young provincial team,” said Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) in a statement.

“This he did well, although in five matches he only scored 81 runs, with a highest score of 27 – this was his only first-class experience. We as the ZC Board, Management, Staff and Players extend our deepest condolences to Sean and the entire Williams family on the loss of their beloved father and grandfather. Our thoughts and prayers are with them as they come to terms with losing such a wonderful man.”

The Hockey Association of Zimbabwe posted on Facebook an eulogy of Williams and gave a detailed account of his life and career.

“The Hockey Association of Zimbabwe was saddened to learn of the passing of hockey legend Colin Williams, more often known as ‘Porge’. The HAZ extends its condolences to the family at this sad loss.

“Porge was educated at Hamilton High School in Bulawayo where he played both first team cricket and hockey. But whilst retaining a keen interest in cricket, it was hockey that would become synonymous with Porge. After school he initially joined Combined Old Boys Sports Club, before being persuaded by the late Brian Frazer to join Bulawayo Athletics Club. It would be the start of a life long association with this club, playing in its first team for over 20 years. During this period, BAC would go onto win the Rothmans Shield, the HAZ Cup, an unprecedented 11 consecutive National Hockey League titles, and the silver medal at the Africa Cup of Club Championships in 1999, making BAC the most successful men’s hockey club in Zimbabwe. Porge is one of only three players to have won 11 consecutive National League titles and the HAZ Cup.

“Porge went onto play for his province Matabeleland, securing consecutive wins at Inter-Provincial tournaments throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Not only did he play for Matabeleland but he was also elected provincial coach for many years, and served briefly on the board itself.

“Porge was first selected to play for Zimbabwe in 1984, and in time would go onto to represent his country as a player and captain of the Zimbabwe team. He was also appointed national coach after his retirement as a player in 1997. He represented Zimbabwe at the All-Africa Games, and a number of Africa Cup of Nations, at a time when Zimbabwe would win such events. He was elected for the Africa XI to play against the Asia XI in 1987. Porge was an accredited Federation of International Hockey (FIH) coach, and an FIH International umpire.

“Porge’s legacy will live on in the literally thousands of boys and girls, men and women that he coached during his lifetime. Whilst he could be controversial at times, this was outweighed by his devotion to the game, and a quest to select the best possible teams to win, at club, provincial and national levels. He held no prejudices when it came to recognising and promoting talent and sponsored a handful of national players in their development.

“Porge is survived by his partner Mandy, three sons, Sean, Mathew ‘Bud’ and Ben, and two grandchildren.”

Williams’ family has a strong hockey background. He met his ex-wife, Patricia, Sean’s mother, through hockey. Then known as Patricia McKillop, she was a key member of Zimbabwe’s famous “Golden Girls” team that won the gold medal at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. She finished as the tournament’s joint-top scorer.

His other son with Patricia, Matthew “Bud” Williams, also played hockey for Zimbabwe whilst step-son Michael McKillop is a former national team captain. Sean Williams himself played cub hockey whereas his wife Chantelle is a Zimbabwe national women’s hockey player.

 

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