Remember this lad? If you don’t it’s South African Simon Kuhn who joined the City Cricket Club as a ‘pro’ in the 2005/06 season and became extremely popular. It’s fair to say that the initiative and foresight by City Cricket Club to get a pro over saw Northland cricket follow in the trend by having options to have professional players available for other clubs under the umbrella of NCA.
Who will ever forget Kuhny’s introduction to the City Cricket club – having not long arrived in the country he was summonsed down to the City nets by a couple of the club stalwarts and severely put under the microscope by one man in particular that goes by the name of Martin (Maggot) Kimber, a former City and Northland leg spinner along with being one of City’s Life members. It’s fair to say Kuhny’s batting net on this occasion did not last particularly long after receiving his first ever ball in NZ. Kuhny after taking centre lined up to Maggots wiry and well known leg-spin deliveries.
Maggot on this occasion with a brand new ball in hand produced what he would describe to you as his ‘ball of the century’ a extremely quick leg spinning delivery (minus the spin part and certainly without the trajectory of his infamous ‘moon ball’) which found its way through Kuhny’s defence (like many, having played for Maggots turn) hitting him absolutely fair flush on the private parts and seeing him drop to the ground like a sack of spuds unable to continue his net and struggling to remove himself from the crease. After finally finding his feet in wanting to make his way out of the net as quickly as possible and away from total embarrassment and requiring sympathy Kuhny then of all things received the words from the nonchalant but fiery spinner ‘welcome to NZ Tiger’! A dashing right handed batsman along with being a tidy and agile wicket keeper not of the normal mould considering he was six foot in height and had two different sized feet!! These unorthodox characteristics even more so highlighted his talents in receiving the Young’s Platter for best club Wicket Keeper.
It was quite fitting that he and together with Owain Hopkins ‘Hutch’ also received the Kessell Trophy that year for the highest BATTING partnership of 146 runs for the season. Kuhny was not only skilled with the bat and handy behind the stumps but was a real character. It must be said that Kuhny’s sense of navigation was never that flash considering Whangarei is not all that hard to find its way around, on many occasions when labouring as a tiler for one of club members business a simple trip down the road could easily turn into a search and rescue mission in helping him find his way back to the work site. Kuhny who has recently had his first child won plaudits as a club pro enjoyed relaxing, telling a story at the bar with team mates and club members whilst enjoying a cold bevy and ciggie.