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Completing the top 10

1969: Richard Collinge batting in New Zealand’s first innings of the second test against England at Trent Bridge. PHOTOS/GETTY IMAGES


What a great response to Wednesday’s article about establishing a Wairarapa Sports Hall of Fame.

I have since learnt that planning for such a project is already under way, although very much under wraps at this stage, while an appropriate venue and criteria are determined.

On to yesterday’s selections, and two All Blacks, a test cricketer, three-time Olympian, and a world champion complete my first 10 inductees.

Richard Collinge

1965: A youthful Richard Collinge in action against Pakistan.

A tall left-arm medium-fast bowler, Richard Collinge made his debut for Wairarapa at age 15, taking seven wickets for 86 runs against the NZ Nomads. He made his Central Districts debut in 1963 at the age of 17.

Collinge made his test debut at home against Pakistan in 1965 and was the third youngest player to represent New Zealand at that time.

He later moved to Wellington and then Northern Districts.

Collinge is noted for two major achievements. In 1973, he combined with Brian Hastings for a world record 10th wicket partnership of 151 against Pakistan at Eden Park, of which he scored 68 not out, a record for the highest score by a number 11 batsman that stood for 32 years.

He was also instrumental in New Zealand’s first test win over England in 1978, bowling Geoff Boycott with a fast inswinger to start England’s collapse to 64 all out.

Collinge took 116 wickets at 29.25 in his 35-test career.

Marlene Macdonald

Wairarapa doesn’t produce many world champions so the region’s first to achieve that, roller skater Marlene Macdonald must be included.

Marlene Macdonald

As a 17-year-old, Macdonald competed at 1968 world championships in Vicenzia, Italy.

Injuries curtailed her preparations but she overcame severe abrasions on her legs to win the 500m title.

When she returned to Masterton, the overwhelmed Macdonald was greeted by a crowd of several hundred people.

The significance of Macdonald’s achievement was best summed up in the Wairarapa Times-Age editorial on September 17, 1968.

“Marlene Macdonald’s great win is best illustrated by the fact that no more than a dozen New Zealanders in this century have won gold medals in international sports competitions, and even more significantly she is the first Wairarapa resident to win a world title in sport.”

Macdonald won numerous national titles and competed in the 1980 world championships held in Masterton.

Bill Schaefer

To make one Olympic Games is a significant achievement but to do so on three occasions highlighted the class of Bill Schaefer, goalkeeper for the New Zealand hockey team at the 1956, 1960, and 1964 Olympic Games.

New Zealand finished sixth in Melbourne [1956], before unluckily missing out on a medal match in 1960 [Rome].

Spain scored the winning goal in the last two minutes for a 1-0 win to deny New Zealand a place in the playoffs.

New Zealand were below par at the 1964 Tokyo games, finishing a lowly 13th out of 15 teams.

At his peak, Schaefer was widely regarded as the best goalkeeper in the world.

Stu Wilson

Stu Wilson

All Black great Stu Wilson came to Masterton as a child and was educated at Wairarapa College.

A multi-talented sportsman Wilson excelled at not only rugby but golf, in which he represented Wairarapa, cricket as a useful wicketkeeper-batsman, hockey, tennis, and athletics, in which he won college championships.

After leaving Waicol, Wilson moved to Wellington and was soon representing the province.

He made his All Blacks debut on the 1976 tour of Argentina, and his test debut against France a year later.

Wilson became the All Blacks’ leading test try scorer with 19 tries. He captained the All Blacks in all eight games of the 1983 tour of the United Kingdom.

Wilson retired in 1984, having played 51 games, including 34 tests.

Grant Batty

Grant Batty

Born in Greytown in 1951, Grant Batty’s rugby talent was evident at an early age. During the 1969 season, the diminutive Batty scored a remarkable 70 tries for the Kuranui College First XV.

Batty moved to Wellington the next year and was an immediate hit in the club scene. He made his provincial debut in 1972. At just 1.65m and 70kg, he punched well above his weight and quickly gained cult status.

Later that year Batty made his All Blacks debut against British Columbia in Vancouver on the 1972-73 northern hemisphere tour.

Batty’s test debut was against Wales in Cardiff, won by the All Blacks 19-16, in which Keith Murdoch scored the team’s only try, before being sent home.

Batty played 41 games, including 15 tests, before injury curtailed his career. His last test was against the 1977 Lions at Athletic Park, in which he scored a memorable 50m intercept try.

Those are my first 10 inductees and I have left out many worthy candidates, including All Blacks Invincibles Quentin and Jim Donald, 1949 All Black Kiwi Blake, hockey international Kevin Percy, Paralympian gold medallist Joanne Duffy, Olympian Penny Hunt, golf international Reon Sayer … the list goes on.

Tomorrow, I will look at the unsung heroes – the coaches, referees and administrators.

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