NZ tour memories fresh

THE swing bowler-friendly wickets in New Zealand are one of the lasting memories for Bill Gross as he recalls the first of his two Warwick cricket trips to New Zealand.

A Warwick senior team of 14 toured the North Island of New Zealand in 1969 and played four games.

Two decades later, Gross was manager of the Warwick U16 team which toured New Zealand. A Warwick senior team also toured in the 1970s.

The 40-year reunion of the 1969 team and 20-year reunion of the 1989 team are being combined with dinner at the Condamine Sports Club on Saturday night.

Gross said he made a lot of mates on the New Zealand tour.

“It was through the trip that I played in a Golden Oldies tournament in Vancouver,” Gross said.

A right arm medium pace swing bowler and batsman, Gross said the ball swung a lot more in New Zealand than it did in Warwick.

After the 1969 tour, New Zealand teams visited Warwick.

Some games played in New Zealand were at Warwick’s sister city Whakatane.

Batsman/spin bowler Rod McLennan remembers how picturesque the North Island was four decades ago.

“The ball came off the wicket a lot slower in New Zealand and it took a lot of adapting to,” he said.

Of the 1969 team, Wally Lobwein is in North Queensland, a few players live at the Gold and Sunshine Coast and many are still in Warwick. Organisers hope most will be at the reunion.

Three of the 1969 players are deceased – batsman John Chicken, left-arm paceman/batsman Doc Bodimeade and wicket-keeper/batsman Reg Freak – but organisers would like family members to come to the dinner.

Bookings with Gross on 4661 1212 or McLennan on 4661 8856.



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