12 Jul A triple tribute at Tigerland
There was plenty to celebrate last Saturday night at Bannockburn, as a host of past players had spent another long and fruitful afternoon reminiscing on past
glories, club legend Ronnie Pilgrim handed over the baton for club games record holder to his Cousin Darren Donaldson and the popular club secretary and general go to girl Kath Bourke played her 200th senior netball game with the club.
Darren clocked up game number 316 to cruise past Ronnie’s 16 year old record, but he certainly had the great man’s congratulations and blessing as the baton changed hands. Ronnie started his illustrious career in 1985 and aside from some appearances with the Geelong under 19’s and a year with his good mate Ron Watt at Geelong West, he has been a true and loyal Tiger until his retirement in 2003 and now as a supporter. He was delighted to see another staunch Bannockburn man take over the mantle and the pair remain the only 300 game players at the club.
Darren started his senior career in 1998 and made his first 18 debut in round 1 the following season. He bounced in and out of the senior team from then on, but the majority of his appearances have been in the second 18 and he regards captaining the 2005 seconds premiership as the highlight of his career. He has two other premiership medallions in his career and is still excited about collecting some more. Despite telling his wife that he would stop playing at 40, that birthday has passed by now and his body is suggesting another year is possible. He is keen to get some more of his current teammates into the 300 club and Mark Banks is his prime target. He has just celebrated his 250th game with the Tigers and Darren is keen to nurse him over the line. During his long career at Bannockburn, Darren has seen some great players, including Ronnie Pilgrim and Troy “Nappies” Kollegher, but he rates Aaron Broom as the standout.
Kath moved to Bannockburn in 2000 and wandered into the Tigers Den in 2005 to introduce her children to local sport. As a keen parent she started to get involved with the goings on at the club almost immediately. She had been an enthusiastic netballer in social games at Kardinia Park in her younger days, but put that aside when motherhood commenced. When her commitments to parenting were reduced in 2008, her career kicked off again in the Bannockburn C Grade team and she has been a constant on the court at the club since then. Her love of the club moved her into a committee position and she commenced the role of club secretary in 2013, another constant in her life still to this day.
All football/netball clubs have these wonderful salt of the earth characters embedded in the fabric of the place and to have them recognised with these types of attachments is something for all to share and enjoy. All three had one common theme when questioned by the Footy record.
“I love the place”