Vale David Fordham, thanks for the memories
David Fordham will always be remembered for his laugh and the laughter he generated. He was one helluva bloke: his presence lit up any sporting team, any studio, any room.
The 62-year-old sportscaster died of prostrate cancer in Brisbane yesterday, but he suffered a lot more than that having undergone quadruple by-pass surgery, a bone marrow transplant, and bouts of chemotherapy.
Yet “Dasher” kept laughing, and kept generating laughter.
Having had the privilege to captain him in Mosman first grade, there was one obvious way to go with “Dasher”: let him go when he had a bat in his hand.
There was no point in ever asking such a free-spirit to hold up an end. It was against his very nature.
There was one memorable innings at Manly Oval when “Dasher” was at his dashing best. He monstered the Manly attack on his way to a lightning 80, batting mainly from the northern end.
To the east was the Manly Tennis Club, with every court in action. Not for long.
“Dasher’s” flat-bat sixes and one-bounce boundaries scorched over the low fence between the two sporting arenas, making it suicidal for the tennis to continue. Play resumed when the “Dasher” was dismissed, a massive relief for both the tennis players, and the hapless Manly attack.
That was David Fordham; everything was fun. Life was there to be enjoyed to the full.
Before he cracked a television career that lasted three decades, he would call the upcoming Melbourne Cup in the Mosman dressing room. It was very professional.
And he took that same professionalism into his television work, covering cricket, rugby, rugby league, golf, and tennis, including three Rugby World Cups, Kangaroo tours, State of Origin, Davis Cup, and Presidents Cup, plus four Olympic and four Commonwealth Games for Ten and Seven.
His standout feature was his instant recall of sporting facts, figures, and newsworthy highlights, matched only by the ABC’s David Morrow.
More importantly, that laughter was ever present.
But you always had to keep an eye on him. “Dasher” was prone to mischief. He’d hide clothing or shoes in the dressing room, and you’d often find the missing items in a team-mate’s kit.
Or he’d organise a non-existent party, telling “guests” only to ring the home number after 10am when the target was at work. The wife eventually saw the funny side of the prank. Eventually.
Two older brothers have played a big part in “Dasher’s” love of sport.
Bob Fordham refereed seven rugby internationals between 1983 and 1987, and holds the singular honour of refereeing the very first game of the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987 between the All Blacks and Italy. Bob went on to become the CEO of the Australian Rugby Union.
John Fordham is a manager of top sportsmen and celebrities, including Richie Benaud, Ian Chappell, Mark Taylor, Matt Burke, Ricky Stuart, Glen Boss, John Laws, Anne Fulwood, Steve Liebmann, and Peter FitzSimons. John also writes a mean wine column, and he’s been doing that for longer than looking after the elite.
A trifecta of achieving brothers.
But the younger one is no longer with us. For such a large as life public figure, David Fordham will be sorely missed.
Thanks for the many fond memories, “Dasher”. And the constant laughter.
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- David Fordham