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Proccie’s On The Mend

Mike Procter will be back at the crease soon

Hollywoodbets Brand Ambassador Mike Procter is well on the mend after the 75 year old cricketing  legend underwent heart surgery on Valentine’s Day.

While it’s great news that South Africa’s first post-isolation coach is revving up and bowling bumpers on the pitch to recovery, a chat with ‘Proccie’s’ good friend and racing personality Selwyn Elk lifted the lid on those little coincidences that make racing, as well as the people and horses involved, so special.

Selwyn Elk and Mike Procter in winning form at the Busamed Gateway Hospital on Friday

Selwyn recalled Monday 14 February, his 30th Valentine’s Day with his lovely wife Rene. A hopeless romantic, Selwyn had Rene cook him up a magnificent meal.

“We were sitting at home on Valentine’s Day when I received a call from my mate Rodney asking me what had happened to Proccie.  Having not been watching racing at the time, I was unaware that the on-course presenters at Hollywoodbets Greyville had mentioned that Mike was undergoing surgery and had wished him a speedy recovery,” recounts Selwyn.

He then called Mike’s wife Maryna to find out what had transpired at the hospital.

“Maryna told me that while we were speaking, Mike was in the operating theatre.  This is where the story becomes very coincidental. She mentioned to me that the Hollywood Syndicate had a horse running that afternoon, which Mike had named.”

Watch Mighty Mashona win on Valentine’s Day:

Selwyn says that Maryna had no idea what race Mighty Mashona was running in and he himself also had no idea and had not been watching Tellytrack at the time.

“As we spoke I switched over.  Low and behold, as I tuned in there was 400m left and Mighty Mashona was right in the firing line.  Still on the phone I told Maryna to listen to the finish of the race and I thought that Mighty Mashona was in with a good chance. The Master of My Fate gelding ran out an impressive winner and Maryna, by sheer coincidence, had the opportunity to have listened to the race!”

Mighty Mashona wins under Donovan Dillon (Pic – Chase Liebenberg)

“She jokingly said to me that once Mike comes around, this will certainly be something to cheer him up,” adds Selwyn enthusiastically.

Mike Proctor apparently got the name from a cricket franchise in Zimbabwe called Mashonaland – the meaning of Mashona being ‘warrior’ – and decided to call the gelding Mighty Mashona.

On the subject of names, Selwyn tells that when he and ‘Proccie’ worked at Sanlam many years ago, they attended a Sales Course which included a role play.

“I was the Salesman and Mike was Mr Moerdyk. Ever since then, that name has stuck between the two of us and on many occasions when I refer to him as Moerdyk, people don’t know who I am talking about – bringing back good memories of days gone by!”

In her young days, Mike’s wife Maryna (nee Godwin), pictured below, was an excellent tennis player.

Her best achievement was reaching the quarterfinals of the 1968 US Open.  During 1968/69 she also played in four ties for the South African Fed Cup Team.

Maryna met Mike in 1969.

“What a duo with each excelling in their own right – Mike our dynamic fast bowler and hard hitting batsman, who needs no introduction,” says Selwyn proudly.

Proccie’s  recognition in English County cricket is phenomenal, but sadly South Africa’s banishment from world cricket in the 70’s, deprived him of the international stage.

Proccie & Ali Bacher during the 2nd ODI between India and South Africa at the Captain Roop Singh Stadium in Gwalior, India, during the first tour back after isolation in November 1991

After retiring, Procter was director of cricket for the Free State and Natal provinces, as well as of Northamptonshire county.

He was then appointed as the first post-isolation coach of the South African cricket team, and was the coach for tours of India (in 1991), and of the West Indies, which included South Africa’s first post-isolation test, as well as Sri Lanka and Australia.

Mike Procter sent a message via Selwyn to the racing industry and thanked everybody for the well wishes and messages.

He also asked that we send a shout-out to Busamed Gateway, his home for the past fortnight. They are labelled ‘world-class’ by the legend.

  • Ed – thanks to our good friend, Selwyn Elk

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