The passing of Clive Ulyate
Clive Ulyate, great sportsman and wonderful companion, died on Sunday at the age of 84.
Ulyate was a highly skilled, idealistic sportsman and the liveliest of men with an enormous sense of fun.
He played rugby for South Africa as a flyhalf, played cricket for Transvaal and Eastern Province as an all-rounder, and played provincial hockey and provincial squash. Of all games his most enduring love was cricket.
A man who could catch and pass to perfection, he could not stand the modern game. He felt for modern flyhalves because the channel between him and the scrumhalf was so cluttered with forwards and then they have to contend with haphazard passing from the scrumhalf. "I never got a bad pass from my scrumhalf, Tommy Gentles."
Ulyate played for Natal Schools in 1951. After he left Hilton, he went to Witwatersrand University where, not yet 20, he was a huge success in a backline that contained Wilf Rosenberg, Joe Kaminer, Freddie Herbst and Merril Pike. Ulyate was still 19 when he was chosen for Transvaal, at a time when Natie Rens was the accepted flyhalf, and went on to play for them for 1953 to 1957.
In 1955 the great B&I Lions came to South Africa, perhaps the most impressive team to tour South Africa. In their third match, Ulyate played for the Transvaal Universities at fullback. He did not play against them for Transvaal but was at flyhalf in the first Test, one of the greatest ever when a missed conversion gave the tourists a 23-22 victory before a crowd estimated at about a hundred thousand.
He was back at flyhalf for the second Test when the Springboks scored seven tries and won handsomely. He was there for the 9-06 defeat in the third Test and then for the great win in Port Elizabeth, 22-8, and Ulyate scored one of the five Springbok tries. He got a pass from Johan Claassen, c hanged direction and scored under the posts. Later he dropped a goal.
Ulyate went to Australasia carrying an injury in 1956. He played in only one match in Australia and after 10 matches had played only twice, but he was back at flyhalf for the first three Tests of the four-Test series.
His career in big rugby ended when the was 22.
From Wits, he went to Rhodes University. Then he taught at Kingswood College in Grahamstown before becoming a sports officer at the university and then up on the Goldfields.
There are many happy memories of his versions of Herman Charles Bosman's stories of Oom Schalk Lourens and the Groot Marico. People loved his take-off of a monocled colonel. He was just the liveliest, most ebullient of men.
Ulyate and his wife Sheila Sarah, called Sally, had been married for 40 years when she died in April 2008. In her sporting days she had been a provincial diver and swimmer.
Clive Anthony Ulyate, a descendant of the 1820 settlers, was born in Johannesburg on 11 December 1933. He died in Virginia in the Free State on 18 March 2018.
It is possible to have only happy memories of Clive Ulyate.