Grand old man of cricket John Reid licks his lips

GOOD WOOD: John Reid admires an old piece of willow at his Auckland home.
GOOD WOOD: John Reid admires an old piece of willow at his Auckland home.

First, the most important news.

Rumours John Reid is on his deathbed are far from accurate.

In fact when contacted yesterday about becoming a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM), Reid had just finished eating an icecream.

The 85-year-old was battling bowel cancer earlier in the year but he says the operation was a success and after close to six weeks in hospital, the grand old man of New Zealand cricket was discharged home.

On Christmas Day in Auckland he told his family, that includes former New Zealand one-day representative Richard Reid, that he had been awarded a CNZM.

"They were very proud, it was nice," Reid said. "It's an honour. I got an OBE a long time ago, so here I go again. It's well past my time. I stopped playing in 1965, that's 49 years ago."

Reid has lost about 12kg and has a goal to put that weight back on, hence the icecream maybe.

"I'm getting good reports from the doctor and I'm eating," Reid said.

"I've got to put on 12lb by Monday. I'm trying to put weight on. I'm pretty slow around the place."

Reid has tickets to the one-day international between New Zealand and India at Eden Park on January 25. He hopes to go but thinks it might be a step too far.

Reid's list of achievements have been documented many times before. He is a former New Zealand captain and former ICC match referee. He steered New Zealand to their first test match win, against the West Indies in 1956, and to their historic first away-test victory over South Africa in Cape Town in 1962.

He played 58 test matches for New Zealand between 1949 and 1965, scoring 3428 runs at 33.28 and taking 85 wickets at 33.35.

Reid still holds the record for most test runs (871 in 1965) in a calendar year by a New Zealand batsman. Ross Taylor reached 864 runs at an average of 72 from 10 tests this year only to be denied a shot at the record when New Zealand cleaned up the West Indies quickly in Hamilton.

"I've been following the cricket closely the last couple of months and I've enjoyed it. How good the form is against the West Indies I'm not sure. The Indians will be a different story altogether."

Also in the New Year's Honours is Canterbury's Dick Tayler, who won gold in the 10,000m at the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch. He is being made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for services to athletics.

Other sports figures to receive the MNZM are Peter Dale, an advocate of youth and community sport for close to 30 years, netball administrator Sheryl Dawson, Rita Fatialofa-Patolo, who won world championships with both the Silver Ferns and New Zealand women's softball team, and former New Zealand squash player Ross Norman, who won the World Open in 1986 against Pakistan's Jahangir Khan, ending Khan's five-year winning streak.

The Dominion Post