For many years between the 90’s – 2000’s City had a team which competed in the local fourth grade competition under the name of the “City Guvenors” a group of good mates who simply were madly in love with the game, would train or play if they could through rain, hail or shine along with having fun and spending many hours enjoying each other’s company in the City clubrooms at the old Cobham Oval. The team was made up of entirely new younger members and one of the driving forces behind this group of characters was the husband and wife duo of Bruce and Sarah Kessell along with Bruce’s late father Murray.
Bruce Kessell was an integral part of this team and fair to say the ‘superstar’ of the Whangarei lower grade competitions for many years which saw him not only be prolific with both bat and ball but play a huge part in seeing the City Guvenors move up the ranks and have many successful seasons in the reserve grade competition.
On the majority of Friday evenings leading up to Saturday club matches a group of the team led by the one and only Kessel would be found honing their skills down at the City nets into the early hours of the morning down at the old Johnson and Crawford Indoor Centre – it would be frightening to know and even think what the power bill throughout the many years equated to.
Bruce Kessell was an all-rounder and free flowing top order batsman along with being a fiery right arm swing bowler who simply lead through his actions with many man of the match performances for the club. A quick snapshot speaks for itself with his impressive performances over the years seeing him take out most of the CCC trophies that are on hand to receive. These include most wickets in a season on three different occasions, winning the best bowling average in 1992/93 and taking out the best bowling performance on four different occasions with his best bowling figures being 9 for 30 which is also the clubs record. With the bat in hand he also achieved very impressive stats, winning the best batting average on five different occasions along with the taking out of the highest score on four different occasions including a highest score of 172no along with the Kessell family trophy for the highest batting partnership in 2007/08.
To go with all these achievements Bruce has also won the MVP player of the season along with best fieldsman and catches cup, the Wilson Platter for most overall points in a season an impressive 9 different occasions and also the prestigious trophy for City Cricket Clubs best club man in 1998/99.
Brought to our attention by one of his close team mates and partners in crime for the City Guvs, Bruce also believed that umpires for the day had just as an important job to do and never needed any extra help – obviously this helped his runs scoring at times with Bruce only walking when he ran out of petrol!
As has been highlighted, it is widely known within the club that Bruce had the clubs biggest trophy cabinet and at times needed to turn up with his very own trailer at the end of season prize giving evenings. Not only was he a proven performer on the park for the club but also a real character that along with his family pulled together a unique group of club cricketers and supporters that shared in many special times shared by the City Cricket Club Guvs.