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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Newcastle sporting great passes away

One of Newcastle’s greatest sporting personalities, Ray Frost, has passed away at the age of 94.

A life member of The Waratahs Rugby Union Club, Waratah-Mayfield District Cricket Club and the former Waratah Bowling Club, Frost passed away on Saturday.

He started his rugby career as a prop forward but later played as lock and breakaway because of his 79-kilogram frame.

Frost played on numerous occasions for Newcastle against teams such as the New Zealand All Blacks, Fiji, Australian Barbarians and Queensland.

He also played hooker for The Rest against Australia in a trial match for the Wallabies’ South African tour.

Frost is considered one of the unluckiest players after losing his chance to represent Australia to club mate, Cyril Burke, who was named as half back in the Wallabies squad.

However, he played strongly for Newcastle and NSW Country in 1954, appearing in all 11 of Country’s matches on a tour of New Zealand.

His performances resulted in his selection for NSW in 1955, along with team-mates Ron Harvey and Terry Riley (reserve), to beat Queensland 49-6 at North Sydney Oval.

Frost retired from football in 1958 but was named as lock in The Waratahs ‘Team of the Decade 1946-55’.

His description on the team sheet stated: ‘Tough no-nonsense forward. Excellent cover defender. Could cover virtually any position on the field. Read the game well’.

President of The Waratahs Rugby Union Club, Alex Robson, said Frost was a great clubman and a true gentleman.

Ray Frost when he represented NSW in 1955.

Robson added that Frost was one of the original members of The Waratahs’ First Grade premiership winning team in 1946 when they won the Grand Final 6-3 against Merewether Carlton.

He then became the club’s Secretary in 1949 and a club selector in the late 1950s before taking up coaching for the club in the early 1960s.

Frost played 243 matches (160 in First Grade) for The Waratahs, won five First Grade premierships and, in 1955, became one of five original life members of the club – an honour he held for 65 years.

Frost was also a talented cricketer and lawn bowler.

He was inducted in 1968 as a life member of the Waratah-Mayfield District Cricket Club, having played for the club between 1950 and 1970.

He was also a life member of the former Waratah Bowling Club, where the main green was named in his honour after years of dedicated play and work.

A small family funeral will be held for Frost because of the COVID-19 restrictions, with a memorial service being planned for a date in the future.