Pat Malligan passed away in the early hours of this morning, Saturday 24th May 2014. That she held on for Saturday, after I had a heartfelt conversation with John on Thursday late afternoon learning of the graveness, ironically symbolic. Saturday meant cricket. That was our connection.
Pat held no illustrious official position within the game. It is unlikely that her name will appear on any Honour Board or receive special mentions in Annual Reports. Notwithstanding, Pat had been a servant of the highest order.
In the short time that I had the privilege of knowing her, Pat made each day of cricket that little bit special for me.
Pat could easily have been of Hepburn heritage. A qualified glamour of the ages. She was always immaculate in appearance, style and demeanour. The delicate but sensible black hat, leather gloves, long sleeves and pants with perfect make up applied, one could be forgiven for thinking that this was for a swank afternoon tea at the Windsor. No it was to watch her beloved True Blues.
I am not fully aware how many of the 89 matches that husband John played from 1956-67 or the 189 matches that son Kyle played from 1986 -99 Pat personally witnessed. I would expect most of them. However, undoubtedly, Pat easily went beyond the 200 game criteria that signifies a career of substance.
Every game day upon greeting, no matter the physical state of presentation I was in (which could have been straight from the warm up, some extra exercise or freshly showered and changed), Pat would always greet me with a firm handshake and allow me to peck her on the cheek. Despite at times my protest due to the disparity in our respective presentation, she would politely admonish me for considering. Pat was rather big on the first contact always being meaningful and important.
Pat had a very keen eye for youthful talent that had depth, energy and expansive passion. Fully understanding of the historical significance within a club for father and son succession, in my time with her she had an enthusiastic affection for Nick Morrey. It may have been also the interest in his slightness of frame, a physical attribute shared, that gives cause to a greater awareness of supporting skills. Whenever Nick did well it made her day a little more fulfilling.
The aforementioned afternoon tea, a break in play where Pat respected the proper traditions from her own years of personally preparing and administering. Time that allows one with a keen eye the opportunity to observe all sorts of manner from those that partake purely for over indulgence disguised as sustenance, to those who value the time for shared fellowship.
In these recent years, Pat graciously extended her welcome allowing me within her company to listen to and share some observations of the game position at the tea break. They may not have been relevant to immediate tactics suitable but I rarely departed these conversations without some extra notes in my book that would be reviewed or referred to at a later time. There was not much that Pat missed.
The loss will be felt deeply beyond the family. But should Pat somehow bump into Mr Loxton, Mandie, Parish and Warne-Smith, she will enjoy and deserve a seat at the same table of wisdom, sharing True Blues tales.
A touch of class with eternal elegance, she departs with gentle footprints that remain in our hearts and minds.
Eternal peace Pat.