My father surprised me when he stated cricket was his favourite sport rather than rugby. His full name was “Derek Rugby Darrow” also known as Bill. As a rugby player, he excelled at Kings College in Auckland as a halfback. Bill made it to a Counties second XV team and that was as high as he went. He never put pressure on me to reach the top. He and I played on my father’s cricket team in the annual match played on our farm.
At high school, I did not play cricket as a regular sport and focused on rugby. Joining my father’s social cricket side made me enjoy playing the game. Prior to this, an Australian cricket team toured New Zealand in 1969/70. The team in New Zealand included Greg Chappell, John Inverarity, Terry Jenner, Dennis Lillee, and Kerry O’Keeffe, with the three matches against New Zealand not awarded Test status.
My first taste of international cricket came with great admiration for the mighty Australian team. The 1973/74 tour by Australia to New Zealand was an important event for NZ with their first ever win over Australia. One of the great joys of cricket is listening to Test cricket on a hot summer’s day, which my father adhered to on his old transistor radio.
Highlights of battles between Australia and New Zealand are numerous, but some standouts would be Mark Greatbatch’s innings in Perth where he was at the crease for eleven hours. The underarm must also be mentioned. Richard Hadlee’s clinical display of fast bowling to secure nine wickets for 52 in Brisbane is unforgettable.
Cricket is in a better position than rugby union is at present and the old fella was right! In memory of Derek Rugby “Bill” Darrow 1924-2004.