Cricketer recognised for hard work

GOOD INNINGS: John Reid proudly recalls his test cricket career, especially his triumphant 1961-62 South African tour.
GOOD INNINGS: John Reid proudly recalls his test cricket career, especially his triumphant 1961-62 South African tour.

An elder statesman of New Zealand sport feels "honoured" for once again being recognised for his enduring services to cricket.

John Reid, 85, has been made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen's 2014 New Year honours.

In 1962 he was awarded an OBE for services to cricket.

The Chatswood resident's legacy to cricket stretches back to the late 1940s when he joined the New Zealand team at the age of 19.

Although an accomplished all-rounder, Mr Reid became a "destructive" batsman, known for his "aggression", who was "momentum-changing" for New Zealand cricket.

Lindsay Crocker, a former first class cricketer for Northern Districts who is now an administrator for New Zealand Cricket, says Mr Reid's "enormous, larger than life" presence only grew bigger as his career progressed.

By the mid 60s John Reid had "the most runs, the most wickets, the most games" of a New Zealand cricketer.

"He was extraordinary," Mr Crocker says.

In 1956, Mr Reid top-scored with 84 against the West Indies in the fourth and final test match at Eden Park, helping New Zealand to its first ever test match win.

Mr Reid remembers the win vividly. "It was amazing. West Indies had a lot of the top players. It was a thrill, everyone performed properly. I had my first ever glass of champagne."

John Reid captained New Zealand for 34 of his 58 test match appearances, including his masterful 1961-62 season against South Africa, presiding over New Zealand's first overseas test match win.

He went on to bash-out a herculean 296 runs playing for Wellington against Northern Districts in 1963.

This first class cricket record stood until 1995.

Recalling his innings, the steely character of the 85-year-old, despite recent cancer surgery, still shines through.

"I'll always be competitive. Records are made to be broken," he says.

The new honour is a back-dated acknowledgment of Mr Reid's work, Mr Crocker says.

"It's a bit of a catch-up to recognise what he's done since 1962."

After retiring from cricket in 1965, Mr Reid continued as a selector, coach and referee. In later years he managed the New Zealand under-19 cricket team.

In the 1990s John Reid re-emerged as a successful international test cricket referee.

Mr Reid attributes his success as an umpire down to his playing days.

"I knew all the tricks, all the angles, because I'd been there as a cricketer."

Now completely retired, Mr Reid is taken aback by his latest award.

"What do you say about that? I'm honoured really."

North Shore Times