Dennis Shepherdson: My father Anselm Nicholas Shepherdson was born in Taiping on 14 May 1900. He worked with the Malayan Railways. He was a very talented all-round sportsman excelling in football, hockey, cricket, athletics, rugby and billiards. His top priority was football and hockey. He was popularly known as ‘Shep’ among his colleagues. He had a large family of six sons and six daughters.
The Railway Institute ground in Sentul in Jalan Ipoh was the nursery of sports activity after the Second World War. It produced many state and national sportsmen especially in cricket, football and hockey. I vividly remember that come 4.30 pm every day the boys would converge at the ground for their share of activity. Cricket, football, hockey, tennis and badminton would be played in this huge ground. I also clearly remember a regular feature at the tennis courts would be the burly Durairatnam, father of Hector Durairatnam walking steadily to the beautiful lawn tennis courts.
MIKE: He was a naturally talented sportsman. As a matter of fact in any ball-game he played, he was a very crafty and intelligent billiard player and went on to represent the National Electricity Board in the inter-government services competition. He was a natural and talented 100m sprinter, even a 110m hurdler. He possessed the natural technique and style required to succeed in this area. Of course, cricket was his forte. He was coached by none other than an Oxford Double Blue (cricket and rugby) Tom Hart.
He took his coaching very seriously and would continue the exercises after his coaching sessions, that is certainly walking the extra mile. Besides his batting prowess he was also a good leg-spinner. In fact, he earned his state colours in a match-winning performance by taking five wickets in an inter-state match played at the Klang Coast Club ground. Over the years Mike made a number of centuries particularly against Hong Kong in the Inter-Port Series.
I would rate his best performance as the 132 runs he made against Hong Kong at the Padang in Kuala Lumpur. At hockey he was like a guiding light. Playing at centre half he could oversee the whole game. He had that uncanny talent to be able to read the game within 10 minutes and then counter the tactics of the opponents.
His sense of anticipation was remarkable. He would leave gaps to entice opponents to make the pass and then intercept it. Mike represented Malaya at hockey in the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne. As a result of his performance at the Games he was chosen to represent the World XI vs the Olympic champions, thus becoming the first Malayan to achieve the feat. He also represented Malaysia at the Asian Games in Tokyo in 1958 and Jakarta in 1962.
Mike had the distinction of captaining Malaysia at both cricket and hockey. Such was his versatility in sports that in 1962 he was vying for selection in the Selangor state football trials when he broke his leg and was strongly advised to give up the game and concentrate on cricket and hockey. I attribute Mike’s success in cricket to he being physically and mentally strong and fit resulting in his ability to fully concentrate for long periods on the pitch.
CHRISTIE: Standing at 6 feet 2 inches tall, he was also talented at cricket, hockey and athletics. He was an opening bowler and middle order batsman. He was an aggressive batsman who would always be looking to score runs quickly. At hockey, he was a speedy right winger for the state and country. For Kilat Club and NEB he was a centre forward and prolific goalscorer . He represented Malaysia at the 1958 Tokyo Asian Games as a right winger. At athletics he was fairly active in 100m, 200m, 400m, 110m hurdles and long jump.
DENNIS: I was overshadowed by my elder brothers. Like my brother Christie I stand at 6 feet 2 inches tall. I represented St .John’s Institution at cricket and hockey. As a matter of fact all of us schooled at St. John’s. In 1954 I captained the school cricket team to win the Van Der Holt Trophy for the inter-schools Under-19 competition at the state level.
I represented Selangor in 1958 after some fine performances as an opening bowler for Kilat Club in the Stonor Shield inter-club competition. However, I wasn’t a regular as at that time Selangor had the likes of stalwarts like Arthur Dewes, Allan Jones and T. Sivagnanam — all opening bowlers who represented Malaysia.
In fact in their absence for outstation games I opened the batting and bowling for Selangor. However, my best performance in inter-state cricket was in 1975 at the age of 40 years. In the final of the inter-state MCA League competition played at the Kilat Club ground, my six wickets for 13 runs for Federal Territory in the second Selangor innings under the astute captaincy of Hector Durairatnam, helped FT to skittle Selangor out for a mere 36 runs to win by a comfortable margin. My performance earned me the Man of The Match award.
VIVIAN: He was also an opening bowler and played for Selangor for a short while. However, due to work commitments he could not play regularly. He was an accurate bowler who kept a decent length and moved the ball into the batsman. In one match against Singapore he took five wickets.
MY SISTERS MAUREEN AND GLEN were also involved in sports. Maureen the elder of the two represented the Police at netball. The younger Glen was a 100m sprinting champion with NEB and also represented Lembaga Letrik Negara at netball.
FINALLY: My dad’s advice — never play dirty, play the game not the man.
My dad’s only regret is that none of his sons took to his favourite sport – football.