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Childs calls time on innings

Mark Childs, with his twin sons Ethan Childs, Quinn Childs in 2016. PHOTOS/FILE

But family name lives on in team through sons

CRICKET

ELI HILL
[email protected]

Greytown’s Mark Childs has pulled stumps on a Wairarapa representative cricket career that spanned 26 years, leaving twin teenage sons Ethan and Quinn to fly the family’s colours in the team.

Ongoing injuries, particularly to his elbow have forced the opening batsman and wicketkeeper, 44, to walk away from the team.

The niggles forced him to pull out of the Wairarapa team which played Hawke’s Bay in a Furlong Cup two-day match in Napier.

Mark Childs batting for Greytown.

“I played in an over-35s tournament in Wellington last weekend and hit 71 runs. But by the end of it, I couldn’t even hold the bat,” Childs told the Times-Age on Friday.

“It has been ongoing since last year. I thought, ‘You’ve got to listen to your body’, that’s something I’ve always believed in. I could get needles put in my arm, but at my age it’s not such a good idea.”

Childs made his debut for Wairarapa in 1993 at the age of 18 after returning from a six-month stint with the Golcar Cricket Club in Yorkshire, England.

“It was a whole different game back then compared to now, you used to get a whole load of sledging. I remember playing Manawatu and there was only one player in the team who wasn’t abusing me.

“You developed thick skin pretty quickly.”

Childs also played for the Central Districts Under-20s and was offered the captaincy of the Central Districts A side, one step down from the Central Stags, in 1995.

At the same time, he was a talented first five-eighth who trialed for the Hurricanes and also got an offer to play for the Johnsonville Rugby Club – at $200 per game.

Childs decided to go with rugby and declined the captaincy, however he ended up injuring his shoulder which meant he couldn’t throw a ball for the next few years.

His children – Jesse, Ethan and Quinn – as well as a business, became the priority of Child’s life and he only managed to play representative cricket occasionally.

Even then, he couldn’t keep away from sport and decided to take up golf – becoming good enough to win the Carterton club senior championship not once, but four times.

Mark Childs wicketkeeping for Greytown.

Childs played out of the Greytown Cricket Club and coached most of his sons’ junior cricket teams.

“I remember Jack Forrester [Wairarapa opener], and my sons, Ethan and Quinn, were in the Under-11s cricket team when Jack’s dad and I coached them.

“It’s funny so many years later to be opening the batting with Jack, while Ethan and Quinn are also in the team.”

Childs said the twins, who made their debut for Wairarapa in 2017 as 16 year olds, were his main motivation for continuing.

“That’s the thing that’s kept me going so long, I reckon – just the chance to play alongside my sons. I don’t know of any guys who have got the chance at 44 to play with their kids at that level.

“I’ve even managed to get a few runs which justified me being in the team.”

With Quinn and Ethan carrying on the Childs name in the team, the batsman said he looked forward to chatting about the shared experience in the future.

“That’s what it’s about really. When I’m 80 and they have kids, and we’re all together, we can relive these memories.

“Besides it’s time for me to step aside and let some younger players come up and have their moment.”

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