On the night that Ricky Ponting returned to his Mowbray cricket home, the former Australian captain felt right at home catching up with Rex Davidson.
In Ponting’s words at the time of Mowbray’s 60-year reunion celebrations, the club that nurtured him to international stardom would simply not exist without its elder statesmen.
There was an extra buzz amid all the balloons and streamers surrounding the 87-year-old’s presence that night in November 2015.
Club stalwart Clinton Reid was quick to wave over The Examiner: “You’ve got to come and meet Rex.”
Davidson humbly sat to the side, shaking hands, smiling and receiving pats on the back from many of Mowbray’s former champions.
Only when prompted did Davidson painstakingly tell in detail the story how he and Terry Cowley approached Brooks High School for land to build a new club in 1955 from the ground up.
Literally right down to the wicket, the clubrooms and all the trimmings. Not bad for a couple of guys from “Mowbree”, he would say.
The pair shared a common link: captaining Tasmania, nearly a quarter of a century before the state was placed on the Sheffield Shield map.
Davidson would earn 13 Tasmanian first-class caps between 1949 and 1956, first as a forceful middle-order batsman but also as one of two state wicket-keepers.
He finished with four half-centuries, a career-high 71 the highlight and was also unbeaten on the hallowed MCG when the King died and the game was called off.
Facing up against the great touring attacks from England, South Africa and West Indies, he also teamed with the greats including Keith Miller and Neil Harvey.
But Davidson in many ways also proved to be one of the greats of that era in Northern Tasmanian sport.
He had left his Campbell Town home at 15 for the big smoke naturally to live out his sporting dreams.
That came as no surprise for the prodigious schoolboy talent playing in Campbell Town under-21 competition, incredibly aged just 10.
Initially joining the North Launceston Cricket Club in 1942-43, the arrival of district cricket four years later and the lure to represent the state led Davidson to cross over to West Launceston.
Notwithstanding a nickname given by teammates – “The Don” named after Bradman – the 20-year-old Davidson first won NTCA selection one season before debuting for Tasmania.
But Davidson’s abilities extended to the football arena.
He played seniors in the Northern Patriotic association – at 15 – when the NTFA was in recess during the war.
Dashing efforts on the wing immediately earned representative honours and interest from NTFA club City.
His own doubts as a wingman persuaded Davidson to play first-change rover/forward that persuaded former rival side Cornwall to recruit him and soon after Davidson gain an intrastate guernsey.
Family and close friends celebrated his life at the Riverside Golf Club on Tuesday.
Davidson was 89.