Bert Sutcliffe Trophy


Bert Sutcliffe Trophy

Teams in the Over 60s section of the Golden Oldies Cricket Festival will have the opportunity to play for a trophy named in honour of a true New Zealand test cricket legend and one of the leading left-handed batsmen in world cricket from 1949 to 1965, the late Bert Sutcliffe. The trophy, to be presented to the outstanding Over 60s team on and off the pitch, has the blessing of Bert’s family and will be a permanent part of future Golden Oldies Cricket events for Over 60s teams.

Bert, a super Golden Oldies supporter, received an MBE for his services to cricket in 1985. He played 42 Tests between 1947 and 1965 and scored 2727 runs at an average of just over 40. He scored 5 centuries including 230 not out v India at Delhi in 1955 and 151 not out v India at Kolkata in 1965. His remarkable First-Class record included 233 matches in which he scored 17,447 runs at an average in excess of 47. Included were 44 centuries and 83 fifties with a highest score of 385 for Otago v Canterbury in 1952-at the time the 6th highest score in 1st Class Cricket and the highest by a lefthander until Brian Lara’s 501 in 1994. He had 6 other scores in excess of 200 including a wonderful 243 v Essex in 1949 followed by 100 not out in the second innings. In 1947, he had scores of 197 and 128 for Otago against a strong MCC touring team.

During the 1949 tour of England he scored 2,627 runs including 423 at a marvellous 60.42 in the Tests and was one of Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year; only Bradman, with 2,960 in 1930, had a higher aggregate on a tour of England. During the 1953 New Zealand tour of South Africa, Bert was part of one of the more dramatic incidents in test cricket history. During the second test at Ellis Park he was struck on the head by a bumper from Neil Adcock causing him to leave the crease. He later returned, heavily bandaged and pale, to score 80 not out in a total of 187, adding 33 for the last wicket with fast bowler Bob Blair whose 19-year-old fiancée had been one of 151 people killed in a rail accident at Tangiwhai in New Zealand.

A month later Sutcliffe pasted the Border XI bowling for 196, his only century in South Africa, but he managed to score centuries against Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria on the way home. A wonderful player and an absolute gentleman, Bert was New Zealand’s First Sportsman of the Year in 1949, an inaugural member of the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame and in 2000 was named as New Zealand champion sportsperson of the decade for the 1940s.

Very importantly, Bert embraced the concept of Golden Oldies Cricket and was a member of the Auckland Cricket Society Sinisters XI consisting of all left-handed batsmen. At the Auckland Domain in 1984 at the 1st World Golden Oldies Cricket Festival, Bert opened the batting with former England cricket regular, the lefthanded John Edrich. Bert played and supported Golden Oldies Cricket through the 1980s and early 1990s.

An outstanding lawn bowler, Bert continued his close interest in cricket and bowls until his passing in 2001. Hs contribution to cricket (including mentoring Martin Crowe during his time as captain of New Zealand) and indeed to many sports cannot be measured. He was an outstanding person who had time for everyone and we are honoured to be able to name our trophy for the Over 60s Section of World Golden Oldies Cricket Festivals, the Bert Sutcliffe Award.

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