One of our true cricket greats, all rounder John Reid, has died at 92, thus for once the old cliché that he had a good innings is true, both literally and chronologically.
My god, he was special, captaining New Zealand through a difficult time in our cricket history.
John was an affable fellow with a sunny outlook on life and always good company.
I haven’t seen him for half a dozen years now, the last time being when a commemoration was payed to him, marked by a fitting large monument in the Hutt Rec.
He came down for that and stayed with me and we had a few laughs.
Memorable was driving over to Wainuiomata to look at his first home after he’d married, Wainui being a popular location for young professional class newly weds back in the 1950-60 era.
We drove to the street and he became annoyed, insisting his house has been removed. It hadn’t, rather with the passing of over half a century both it and its neighbours now sat amidst lush vegetation plus of course with extensions, decks and such-like subsequently added.
John would make everyone’s perfect all-time NZ team selection, the only one I’d suggest from his era.
I knew John when he was a BP sales rep. A job that gave him plenty of time to pursue his cricket interests! A nicer more affable man you would never meet.
What about Bert Sutcliffe
Maybe after that terrible blow he took from Neil Adcock at Ellis Park on that dramatic awful day in 1953, Bert was allegedly a bit suspect to really fast and short stuff.
So while Glenn Turner is a shoo in as one opener, the other comes down to other left handed options besides Bert such as Mark Richardson or Tom Latham. Or maybe Stewie Dempster if you aren’t too fussed on a left/right opening combo.
And with Kane Williamson and Martin Crowe as certainties in the middle order, Bert would be competing with his fellow 1949 left handed tourist, Martin Donnelly, then the likes of Andrew Jones, and Ross Taylor for that last batting slot.
But a great player nonetheless with great style and panache. My grandfather had two Caisbrook heroes, Kevin Skinner in winter, and Bert Sutcliffe in winter.
Great tribute to a very fine man. At that commemoration he looked in tremendous shape when one considers his age. I would suggest though that in picking an all time eleven I would certainly strongly consider Bert Sutcliffe. He also played in that era when our stocks were pretty low. A terrific batsmen and an absolute gentleman.
Bert was a lovely batsman, as was JR. Can anyone confirm that Bert was a rep for Rothmans, the cigarette company? I think he used to smoke like a train, before the days when it was a big ‘no no’.
Alan – Yes, Rothmans visited my high school in 1972 to do some sports coaching. As well as Bert Sutcliffe, Don Clark was there. I can’t remember them handing out any of the sponsor’s product but in those days they may well have done!
Leaving aside the…ahem, off field issues with Chris Cairns, and also especially the first half of his test career when he was soft, psychologically brittle and went hiding when there was tough work to be done (and even in the 2nd half of his run he usually got the ball when it was favourable)
…I think it would be neck and neck with Bongo Reid for the no. 6 all rounders slot in an all time greatest NZ Cricket team selection. Reid a better batsman, Cairns a better bowler (even despite hiding when there was tough work to adversely affect the bowling average).
Then again, Reid clinches the role as he could skipper albeit in the follow-me style that sometimes was discomforting for the more peaceable souls with whom he sometimes disagreed or didn’t rate (John Guy due his front foot technique and John Sparling due to his alleged inability to really turn the ball were two).
And Reid was a team man to his finger tips who persevered and succeeded in very weak New Zealand teams, especially through two long tough tours of India and Pakistan with the lousy accommodation, unhygienic food and drink and terrible illnesses they used to suffer.
And on that 1961-62 tour to South Africa he was a colossus. Sure, guys like Paul Barton, Noel McGregor, Graham Dowling, Zin Harris and Artie Dick all chipped in averaging about 30, and the bowling attack of Dick Motz, Frank Cameron, John Alabaster and Gary Bartlett was likely at least equal to the current Black Caps line up. But without Reid they would likely have failed miserably like the 1953-54 team. You look at the stats for that tour and Reid was worth three players!
Rest well, Bongo, after an innings well played!