Tall tales are all in the game

GOOD SPORTS

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

Bryan Hag­gitt has been hooked on cricket for al­most six decades.

The 71-year-old has been at Par­nell Cricket Club since he was 12. He is club sec­re­tary and has held al­most ev­ery po­si­tion in the club over the years.

He says Par­nell is the old­est cricket club in New Zealand with its first recorded game in 1858.

It’s a his­tory that needs to be recorded, Mr Hag­gitt says.

‘‘We’re still writ­ing our his­tory. If you’ve got it, make sure you cher­ish it – that’s my at­ti­tude.’’

He lives a ‘‘hop’’ away from the grounds and can be found at the club most sum­mer week­ends help­ing out, watch­ing the games and ‘‘catch­ing up with the oldies’’.

He has been a strong ad­vo­cate for the club and its grounds on is­sues such as van­dal­ism, ground con­di­tions and dog poli­cies in the past.

Mr Hag­gitt says the com­rade­ship within cricket clubs is un­de­ni­able.

‘‘Cricket has given me friend­ships from the out­set. It con­tin­ues on with the oldies around here.

‘‘We have a beer, watch the clos­ing of the game and lie about the old days.

‘‘How good we weren’t, to be hon­est.’’

The club wit­nessed a boom in the early 70s when the se­nior club moved to its cur­rent fa­cil­i­ties at Shore Rd to join the ju­nior club at Thomas Blood­worth Park.

‘‘That was so huge for us. Up un­til then you al­most had two dif­fer­ent clubs form­ing be­cause of the sep­a­rate spots.

‘‘Now it’s all to­gether – that’s how it should be.’’

The 1992 ICC Cricket World Cup, held in Aus­tralia and New Zealand, also prompted a spike in mem­ber­ship.

Past mem­bers in­clude Black Caps Gareth Hop­kins, Scott Styris and the re­cently re­tired Chris Martin.

The pre­mier team brought home the Jeff Crowe Cup last sea­son and has made five out of the last six fi­nals. The club now has about 650 ju­niors.

‘‘Kids are what it’s all about. They’re the life of the club.’’

Photo: LAU­REN PRIESTLEY

Go­ing batty: Bryan Hag­gitt says he’s al­ways been crazy for cricket.

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