By Callum Hill
As the temperature drops and the wintery weather has everyone longing for some sunshine and dirty whites we are all waiting in jubilation for the 2022/23 season. During the off season, to get your cricketing fix we will be reflecting on the clubs history, delving into the archives to reminisce about the great players the club has produced. This week we will look back on the club’s top 10 run scorers. Looking back on some fantastic careers from some club legends and top men.
The Burnside West Christchurch University Cricket Club has boasted some prolific run scorers over the course of the club’s inclusion in the Christchurch Metro competition in 1905. With a rich history of champion batsmen, elegant strokeplay has been a staple of Christchurch summers at the picturesque Burnside Park.
10 – GT Dowling, 5001 runs, BWCUCC #233 (West Christchurch)
Graham Dowling, a highly regarded opening batsman was a mainstay at the top of the order from 1954-78 boasting 5 centuries and 28 half centuries over his 123 match career for the club. Graham was also well renowned for being an elusive fielder. But beyond his decorated club career Dowling climbed to higher honours representing Canterbury 119 times in first class cricket, finishing his career just shy of 10,000 first class runs. The higher honours didn’t stop there for Dowling, in 1961 he proudly became Blackcap number 93 and BWCUCC Blackcap number 8. Playing 39 tests, scoring 3 test centuries at an average of 31.16 during a hostile period of fast bowling. He then went on to captain New Zealand scoring a glorious 239 on captaincy debut, leading from the front as he led New Zealand to their first ever test victory against India. This trend continued as he also was at the helm for New Zealand’s maiden victory over Pakistan. Post his playing days he went on to be the CEO of New Zealand cricket. In 1987 he was awarded an O.B.E for services to cricket. A truly elegant opening batsman with tenacious grit and masterful stroke play and a BWCUCC club legend.
9 – RC Blunt, 5178 runs, BWCUCC #68 (West Christchurch)
All rounder Roger Blunt is another stylish cricketer that produced 16 club centuries at an impressive average of 56.9 from 1915-26 with a monstrous highest score of 266. One of the 1928 Wisden Cricketers of the year, the Durham born leg spinning all rounder boasts many reporitable feats. One being annihilating 42 off an 8 ball over against Riccarton in 1923. The rare feats don’t stop there, Blunt scored an exciting 338 not out in the 1931-32 Plunket Shield fixture while playing for Otago against his former province Canterbury, a knock that at the time was the highest score in New Zealand first class cricket. Beyond his combined 114 First Class appearances for Otago and Canterbury averaging 40.99. Blunt was the club’s third Blackcap. Playing in nine tests as an all rounder from 1930-32. Blunt fell heartbreakingly short of a test century scoring 96 against his birth country England at Lord’s. Outside of cricket Blunt received an M.B.E for his work in business in 1965.
8 – DG Farrant, 5581 runs, BWCUCC #372
David Farrant played 160 games for BWCUCC from 1978-90. Scoring two centuries and 19 half centuries with a high score of 150 not out in the two day format and a further 14 half centuries in one day cricket. A consistent performer over a long period of time, four separate seasons Farrant scored 500 runs or more in the two day competition alone. An impressive all rounder, along with his batting prowess, Farrant amassed 221 wickets over his 12 years in the saddle over all formats. These consistent performances at club level earned him four first class matches and two list A games for Canterbury. This however was not the only sport David excelled in. Farrant was a crafty outside back playing dominantly at Fullback for Burnside, in 1986 Farrant played his lone cap for Canterbury on the wing in the NPC, no mean feat considering the strength of domestic rugby through the 80’s. The Farrant name is a legendary one around the cricket club. With brother, Anthony playing 87 times for the club and son, Matt playing his 201st match in the 2021/22 One Day Final victory over Lancaster Park.
7 – GN Gearry, 5581 runs, BWCUCC #171 (West Christchurch)
Another fantastic all round talent. George Gearry represented the club 140 times from 1939-62. A fantastic left handed stroke maker that went on to amass ten centuries for the club with a high score of 166 not out. Another consistent performer that passed the 500 run mark on four separate occasions. To go with George’s ten centuries, his medium pacers picked up 11 five-wicket-hauls. Not only that, but he is the only cricketer from the club to take ten wickets in an innings, with 10-50 against Old Collegians in the 1955/56 season. George was selected for Canterbury in 1953 after he served in World War II with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, where he was utilised more as a bowler. Picking up best figures of 6/32 against Wellington in just his second appearance. His batting was not lost at first class level scoring two half centuries with a highest score of 79 helping Canterbury to victory over Auckland.
6 – SA Jeffery 5763 runs, BWCUCC #387
Stephen Jeffery slots in at number six on the all time leading run scorer list. A mainstay at first slip and a classy batsman throughout the “ Watershed years,” the 80’s and 90’s in a very dominant era for the club 1982-95 Jeffery consistently performed season after season to put BWCUCC in solid positions to regularly contend for trophies. Another player to surpass 500 runs in the two day competition four times. Averaging 30.8 over his 85 two day appearances for the club, scoring four centuries and 22 half centuries with a highest score of 138. Also a handy addition with the ball, Stephens best figures in two day cricket were 5-40. Jeffery also played 75 one day matches amassing 160 total appearances for the club. Winning the two day trophy once and the one day trophy an outstanding ten times this incredible period saw them run second at the club nationals in 1994/95.
5 – MA Hastings 6005 runs, BWCUCC #407
Hastings is another surname that carries a great legacy around the cricket club. Mark Hastings, son of Brian was a triple threat cricketer, excellent with bat, ball and in the field Hastings plied his trade for BWUCC from 1989-2007 playing 205 times over all three formats. Marks highest score for the club was 125, he scored centuries in two formats, scoring three in total. Mark is in both the batting and bowling all time top tens so we will cover his prowess with the ball in hand when we look into the bowlers. A noted match winner and clean striker of the ball Mark followed in his fathers footsteps to represent Canterbury playing 10 times at first class level scoring a solitary half century. He also went on to play 27 list A games scoring two half centuries with a highest score of 95. An outstanding cricketer, and a well loved legend of the club.
4 – RW Haglund 6407 runs, BWCUCC #388
Russell Haglund is BWUCC third most capped player. Playing an impressive 224 matches from 1982-96. Haglund was a part of the dominant side through the 80’s-90’s that claimed 10 one day titles along with a two day championship. Haglund scored six centuries for the club with a high score of 114. One of his six centuries came against an Old Boys Collegians attack featuring Sir Richard Hadlee and brother Dale. Along with being an organised batsman, Haglund also took over 150 wickets for the club with a best of 7-42. Proving an asset to the side with his all round abilities. Not many players have passed the 200 game mark. Russell Haglund provided a consistent role in the side throughout this period, captaining the side at times and proving to be a key to the sustained success throughout the 80’s and 90’s.
3 – CW Huyser 6505 runs, BWCUCC #545
Hailing from South Africa, Carl is an explosive top order batsman. Carl loves to put pressure back on the bowlers, playing elegant cover drives and leaping onto anything short. The club’s second most capped player playing 262 games from 2008- present. Carl is the current head coach of the side. He is a championship winning captain, leading his side to victory in the 2017/18 season, winning the one day title. The club’s first trophy in over 25 years. And also a championship winning coach, being the mastermind behind the 2021/22 unbeaten one day campaign, culminating in a home Grand Final victory against Lancaster Park. His outstanding leadership might overshadow what a terrific batsman Carl is. Opening the batting in club cricket is no easy task and Carl has stepped up to the task for nearly 15 years. Carl has 2 centuries for the club with a highest score of 108 against a strong Old Boys Collegians side. A club legend, Carl epitomises what it means to be a BWUCC player. Tough and tenacious and would do anything for his teammates. Carl will be looking forward to a big 2022/23 as a player and coach.
2 – BF Hastings 7481 runs, BWCUCC #280 (West Christchurch & Burnside)
The Hastings name is synonymous with the club. Brian Hastings is a life member and one of the greatest players to come out of BWCUCC. Playing 147 times from 1961-82, scoring 13 centuries and 41 half centuries, at an average of 34.2 and a highest score of 153. He is the only player in the clubs history to score centuries in both innings of a two-dayer. Hastings was a noted timer of the ball and an excellent cutter and hooker of the ball. He kicked off his first class career in his native Wellington as a 17 year old before stints at Central Districts and Canterbury. Playing 163 times at first class level averaging 31.89 with 15 centuries. He became Blackcap number 116 when he made his test debut against a fearsome West Indies attack. Hastings batted at number four with club great Graham Dowling opening the batting and captaining the side. He managed 18 and 31 on debut, being dismissed by Sir Garfield Sobers and David Holford. Hastings went on to play 31 tests and 11 ODI’s scoring four test centuries with his highest score a classy 117 not out against the West Indies in Christchurch. Hastings shared a record final wicket partnership of 151 with Richard Collinge against Pakistan in Auckland. Post playing, Hastings became a match referee for the ICC and spent time as BWCUCC club president.
1 – JL Kerr 8416 runs, BWCUCC #125 (West Christchurch)
Burnside West Christchurch University Cricket Club’s most prolific all time run scorer Jack Kerr. An opening batsman who played 151 games for the club from 1928-56, scoring 20 centuries at an average of 40.8 and a highest score of 153 not out. Born in Dannevirke, Kerr started to play for Wanganui in the Hawke Cup at aged 15, helping the side to win the prized trophy in his second season. Kerr’s job as an accountant moved him to Christchurch and he began playing for West Christchurch. His outstanding form saw him selected for Canterbury to play in the Plunket Shield. He played 89 times for Canterbury scoring 8 centuries at 32.19 with a high score of 196. Great domestic form saw him selected for New Zealand becoming Blackcap number 19, he went on to play seven tests for New Zealand. In 1935/36 Kerr scored 146 not out and 71 for Canterbury against the touring MCC. Jack served in the Armed Forces in the second World War and became a Test selector and followed that position up with numerous different positions in administration with New Zealand Cricket. Kerr was President of the club in 1956/57 and a patron from 1977-2005 during this period he saw the club relocate to Burnside Park and merge with Burnside. The club’s batting trophy has rightfully been named after our most prolific run scorer. The Jack Kerr trophy is awarded to the player with the most senior runs at prize giving each year.
Kerr was a tremendously decent man who constantly gave back and did what was right for the game, from club level to test level. This led to him being awarded an O.B.E in 1972 for valuable services to cricket and in 1999 was appointed a C.N.Z.M (Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit) for services to the community. An incredible man who played an instrumental role in the clubs history and a classy opening batsman, 8416 runs is going to be tough for anyone to topple.