Farmer became cricket stalwart
HE WAS going to answer questions about celebrating his birthday only after he had hit a ton.
That was William Roderick (Bill) Richmond in November 2011, packing a wicked sense of humour, days before his 92nd birthday at his home in Clive.
The Hawke’s Bay Cricket Association life member on Monday fell shy of making a century in his game of life.
He died peacefully with his family members by his side.
Born on December 8, 1919, Richmond went on to provide a foundation for not only many youngsters’ cricketing careers but also left an indelible impression on their lives.
Dubbed Mr Schoolboy Cricket of Hawke’s Bay in Hastings accountant Barry Rosenberg’s glowing tribute, Richmond selected, managed, coached, organised and sponsored Bay primary schools’ representative cricket from 1965-79.
He didn’t encourage players’ drive to succeed but left them feeling in a good space for life after cricket.
Some attributed Richmond’s input in 1965 as the beginning of junior boys’ cricket in the Bay.
A quadrangular tournament involving provincial primary school representative teams from the Bay, Wellington, Hutt Valley and Auckland at Cornwall Park, Hastings was Richmond’s initiative.
In 1970 it evolved into a six-team tourney, embracing Waikato and Western Districts.
Concerned many promising players gave up playing cricket at high school, Richmond established an after school coaching clinic at Heretaunga Intermediate School from 1965-77.
A rep team from the clinics went on to tour Australia with Richmond at the helm as selector and manager.
His unbridled passion for cricket prompted the livestock farmer to set up a clinic on his Raukawa farm, Torran (Thomas or Richmond’s ran) Station where blokes such as Rosenberg and ex-Black Cap Tony Blain spent two-three hour sessions.
“It was very suitable to coach them at my farm and I had a very suitable wife, too,” Richmond had said of the late Rita Richmond.
Daughter Bev recalls how she and sister Sally returned from a cricket trip in Australia to start a Woodford House first XI team which Richmond coached and managed in 1976 to national acclaim.
In 1970, Richmond ordered a revolutionary bowling machine from Melbourne, the first in the country.
“I didn’t do too many throw downs,” he says with a grin, adding the machine went to Hastings Boys’ High School and Lindisfarne College after that.
It now resides in the Waikato Sports Museum.
Boys breaking windows wasn’t unusual so Richmond always had builder John Mackersey handy with precise measurements.
Former Bay senior men’s representative player and son Billy Richmond, a right-arm leg spinner, was 21 years old when he died in a tractor accident.
“Billy’s best wicket was Mike Shrimpton,” Bev had explained in helping with his interview.
The founder of the now defunct Richmond’s meat company was instrumental in the success of the amalgamated Midlands Rugby Club, becoming the club delegate to the HBCA before assuming the mantle of Bay association president in 1979.
His brother-in-law, Fred Greville, managed the farm which gave Richmond time to coach children.
The son of Catherine “Mary” and William, Richmond was born in Hastings and attended Mahora School before attending Christ’s College in Christchurch, where he first played cricket.
His father didn’t know what cricket was but his mother was believed to be the first female pilot in the North Island.
Richmond’s other passion was model trains, which were housed at Raukawa/Featherston/Matangi sheds.
It took eight men four days to pack the 40m x 20m creations.
Richmond’s funeral will be held at 1pm tomorrow at St Matthew’s Anglican Church, Hastings.
Photo caption – Bill Richmond