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Thomson remembered as ‘a thinking cricketer’

Wairarapa Cricket life member Dermot Payton remembers double international Keith Thomson, who died last Thursday aged 81, as a knowledgeable and tough cricketer.

Thomson played for Greytown and represented Wairarapa from 1978 to 1982 when he was deputy principal at Makora College [now Makoura College].

“He was quite helpful to me in a way as the captain because he was a very good cricket captain himself,” Payton said.

“He captained Canterbury and played for New Zealand, and he was a fairly knowledgeable cricket personality.

“He made a good contribution to the wellbeing of the team and the success of it while he played for us, and I found him very helpful.

“He could have come to Wairarapa and tried to own the place, but he didn’t, and he fitted in quite well.”

Thomson’s best effort for Wairarapa was 90 and 54 not out in the district’s last successful defence of the Hawke Cup against Poverty Bay in January 1979.

Thomson also coached the Wairarapa men’s representative hockey side while in the region.

Thomson first pulled on the silver fern in hockey in 1961, going on to play 28 tests over the next decade, including the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, scoring three goals in eight games.

The double international earned his international cricket test call-up in 1968 after impressing for Canterbury, the province he represented in 58 games.

Thomson scored 69 on debut in the first innings against India at Lancaster Park, Christchurch, adding 119 with captain Graham Dowling [239] in New Zealand’s total of 502 in what was New Zealand’s fourth test victory.

His only other test was a week later, where he scored 25 and 0 in the eight-wicket loss to India at the Basin Reserve.

Thomson was noted for his unorthodox crouching stance at the batting crease and his powerful hitting.

His highest first-class score was 136 not out for Canterbury against Northern Districts in 1968-69. He was also a fine fielder and excellent close-in catcher.

After retiring from cricket, Thomson was fast-tracked as a first-class umpire and went on to stand in 13 first-class matches and 11 List A [one day] games from 1983 to 1987.

Thomson was also a New Zealand-graded hockey umpire and refereed two New Zealand internationals against Canada and India.

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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