Our next City Cricket Club blast from the past was an extremely multi-talented sportsman who joined the City Cricket Club straight from Whangarei Boys’ High School.
Richard Watts was an extremely talented cricketer that played for the City Premier side throughout a dominant 1980’s period in the local Whangarei club cricket competition.
He blossomed and showed that he had talent from a very young age. Former NCA Chief Executive Bruce Scott who helped run junior cricket in Northland for 26 years had watched 15 of the regions youngsters go on to reach first class level with five of them representing the Black Caps. But the one name that doesn’t register on those lists is Richard Watts, who Scott rates as the most gifted cricketer of the lot.
Watts gave up cricket at about 18 to concentrate on rugby, going on to play for the New Zealand Colts under former All Black coach John Hart.
“He was one of the three quickest bowlers in New Zealand for his age, a brilliant fielder and very good bat. A naturally gifted player… but never carried on”, Scott said.
As a dashing but fluent left handed batsman this was highlighted in 1986/1987 when he took out the City Cricket Club highest batting score for the season with a free scoring 147 no. Also a right arm opening quick bowler who was amongst a selected New Zealand group from New Zealand who were asked to attend the prestigious Dennis Lillie bowling coaching clinic. It’s fair to say Richard’s text book bowling action was easy on the eye unlike that of ‘Black Cap’ great Sir Richard Hadlee.
“Wattsy” as he was known played many significant performances for the club with both bat and ball as mentioned he was an athletic fieldsman with a rocket arm in the outfield along with having a safe set of hands which was highlighted in 1987/88 when along with club mate Trevor Kelly they took out the City Cricket Club catches cup (12) for the season.
Richard also went on to represent Northern Districts at all age groups up to U20 and was selected in all the tournament age group teams along with going on to represent the Northland Cricket team at senior level before leaving the game to concentrate on his other talent rugby which saw him represent NZ at U/18 level in 1987 and the NZ Colts in 1990.
Playing many years for his beloved Hora Hora rugby club he went on to represent North Auckland before a move saw him playing many provincial matches for King Country throughout the 90’s.
If that wasn’t enough he also showed that he had the skills and talent to make it also in the rugby league code going on to represent the Northland Rugby league team at senior level as well.
There has been a selected few talented sportsman that have worn the City Cricket Club colours over the many years, Richard Watts certainly sits amongst some of the best.
Watch this space as there has been speculation and talk that we may even see Wattsy donning the City colours this season for the odd match for our Reserve grade team.
City Cricket Club is looking forward to seeing you back at some stage either on or off the field fella.