Former Black Caps captain battling cancer

JONATHAN MILLMOW
Last updated 05:00 25/07/2013
John Reid
JOHN SELKIRK/Fairfax NZ
NEW BATTLE: Former Black Caps captain John Reid holds the bat he used in his last test against England in 1965.

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John Reid is battling bowel cancer.

The former New Zealand captain, who turned 85 recently, volunteered the information during an interview with the Dominion Post this week.

Reid and his wife Norli have sold their house in Taupo and moved to Auckland where treatment will be more accessible.

"I need to be near a hospital," Reid said.

"I've got a problem. I've got a tumour in the bowel some where, so I'm waiting for that. I had an examination and that's how they found it.

"If I stayed in Taupo I had to go to Rotorua for treatment, which is an hour's drive more or less."

Reid, who also suffered a mild stroke recently, remains in great spirits.

"It's manageable, my doctor says. I've got lots of faith in my doctors. It's a little battle I've got to put up with now."

To illustrate Reid's bouncy spirit, he will be in Wellington this weekend to watch his granddaughter Christina Orgias sing Verdi's rarely staged Il Corsaro at the Opera House.

Q&A with John Reid:

Q: I see you turned 85 the other day John, did you mark the occasion?

A: "Yes, we had a group of about 30 family members and former cricketers around. Barry Sinclair, Roger Harris came - it was very nice. I've caught up to my wife (Norli). We are both the same age for two months."

Q: What have you been up to lately?

A: "I went to England to watch the cricketers (New Zealand) but that was a bit of a waste of time. I caught up with a lot of people over there. Brian Close, he's on a stick and not looking too good. I also caught up with Raman Subba Row, Dennis Silk, Dickie Bird, I was match referee with him. I saw Ray Illingworth too. It was nice but it was cold, only 13 degrees."

Q: I see you've made the move from Taupo to Auckland, why?

A "It's health wise. I had a stroke, a small one, I reckon it was a warning, so I sold my house in Taupo and moved up with my daughter in Auckland."

Q: How is the health?

A: "I'm okay at the moment. I need to be near a hospital. I've got a problem. I've got a tumour in the bowel somewhere, so I'm waiting for that. I had an examination and that's how they found it. If I stayed in Taupo I had to go to Rotorua for treatment, which is an hour's drive more or less."

Q: Is the outlook okay?

A: "It's manageable, my doctor says. I've got lots of faith in my doctors. It's a little battle I've got to put up with now."

Q: Are you still able to do some exercise?

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A: "I'm doing a bit of walking, not much else. I was asked to play a round of golf by Terry Jarvis and Graham Vivian, but they are single figure golfers. I was, but I ain't any longer and since I've had the stroke I've lost a bit of balance, so I decided to skip that because you upset their game. I said I can't make it and they said go and hit some balls and get better."

Q: That must be frustrating, because you are so competitive.

A: "It is a bit. I've got no one to swear at these days. I still get around, though. I'm coming to Wellington this weekend to watch my granddaughter (Christina Orgias) sing. She's in Verdi's opera (Il Corsaro) on Saturday and Tuesday. She's very good."

Q: Could you sing?

A: "No, I could whistle."

Q: Do you know it is 50 years since you scored 296 for Wellington against Northern Districts at the Basin. You hit a world record 15 sixes that day. What do you remember of that knock?

A: "It was a world record and it stayed for 30 years. Madly, I tried to hit one more six and mishit it and was caught on the mid wicket boundary by Peter McGregor. The boundaries were full length, they weren't 10m in like they are now days."

Q: It's also 50 years since you scored 100 against England at Lancaster Park. That still stands as a world record for the lowest innings score (New Zealand scored 159) when someone scored a test century. What are your memories of that day?

A: That was Ted Dexter's team. I saw him in England the other day, he's living in France these days. That was a hard effort against Trueman and Co and I batted for a long time. Sadly, it was a losing cause."

Q: You played against a lot of fine players, I imagine it is hard to single out the best of them.

A: "No, that's easy, Peter May. There are a lot of tremendous batsman, Colin Cowdrey and Ted Dexter but Peter May was magnificent. He was an amazing player and such a nice guy. He left us pretty early. He wasn't very old."

Q: John, what are your memories of your time as a match referee because you made a few headlines?

A: "Shoaib Akhtar for chucking. He said he had a physical deformity, like hell. The guy that had a physical deformity was Murali, because he couldn't straighten his arm. I collared a few guys with interferring with the ball. I didn't have as many problems as some of the other referees because the players knew I wouldn't put up with any shennanigans. My reputation went before me and they knew they had to be careful."

- The Dominion Post

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