Veteran calls time on distinguished top-grade career
Dave Fulton, one of the pieces of Manawatu's cricketing furniture, has finally given up premier cricket after 27 years.
Club cricket starts this weekend, and for the first time in a long time, Fulton won't be playing for Freyberg's premier one side.
"Just age catching up with me," he said. "I've played 27 years at the P1 level; maybe it's time to move on."
The 46-year-old said he wasn't keen on all the training any more, and there were good, young players coming through.
"I might play down the grades, maybe. Fill in [for the P1s] when reps are away and see how the numbers go."
After all his experience playing at the premier level, he will be a boost to a lower-grade team, even if he doesn't take it as seriously.
For Freyberg, and its predecessor Kia Toa-Freyberg, Fulton scored more than 10,000 runs in his career and took about 246 wickets and about 240 catches, spending some time as a wicketkeeper.
He said Freyberg's player numbers were not as strong as in the past, so there was a chance he could get dragged out of retirement.
But his cricketing career wasn't limited to Freyberg. He played 130 matches for Manawatu, and still holds the run-scoring record for the association, with 5285 runs.
"I think I played my first game for Manawatu in 1988, probably until five or six years ago, I suppose - maybe 20 years." He averaged 40.34 in that time, with a high score of 209 against South Canterbury in a Hawke Cup defence.
His youngest son plays for the Palmerston North Boys' High School fourth XI, and Fulton will coach the Manawatu under-16 side.
So while he may have more free time on Saturdays during summer, he said he would still spend a bit of time watching cricket.
Fulton was also at Fitzherbert Park for 15 years, rising to become turf manager, and was a New Zealand indoor cricket representative in 2007. He now runs Turf Care Specialists.
- © Fairfax NZ News