City Cricket Club Warm Up Match Wrap Up

Whangarei definitely reminded us that summer is on the way with a cracking display of beautiful blue skies and a light wind for the City Cricket Club Warm up game that was played at Kensington Park yesterday.

Two selected City Senior teams played each other in a highly competitive 40 over one day match.

Toss won by City Blue who elected to bat first.

CITY Blue 237/6 (40 Overs)

I Page 81, S Dhiman 51, J Yovich 37, J Serotsky 21

R Maan 2-29 (6), T King 2-40 (7), K Nelson 1-33 (8)

CITY White 163 (39.3 overs)

H Darkins 70, J Guy 27, K Nelson 15

M Lobb 2-18 (7) I Page 2-15 (6), J Serotsky 2-35 (8), M Chatha 2-51 (8)

A huge thank you to ‘Geoff Ogle’ and ‘Tank’ for doing a great job as the umpires for the day, and also to all the club members and supporters who came along to watch the cricket, show their support and enjoy the season getting underway.

Discovery Settlers Hotel & Restaurant put on a great buffet dinner function for the after match so a big thank you to everyone who made the effort to come and enjoy the evening.

A great day had by all – and what a way to start the new season of cricket.




As it has been highlighted in previous posts the City Cricket Club has been extremely fortunate to have very good overseas professionals involved with the club over many years.

This can certainly be said for English all-rounder Craig Rika, a right handed aggressive batsman and right arm medium fast bowler who joined the club as a professional in the 1992/93 season to play in the local Whangarei club cricket competition.

The Rika name was already famous to Northland sport, his late grandfather Kea Rika played rugby for North Auckland and late great grandfather Bill Rika was both a North Auckland, NZ Maoris and All Black forward in the late 1920’s so with that Craig came with a very good sporting pedigree.

The connection was made by City’s first class and Black Cap Bryan Young who met the youngster and his family back then when he played in England during the New Zealand off season and made arrangements for him to link Craig up with his City club.

‘Yorkie’ as he was known to many was only 19 when he arrived at the club as a young 1.88m tall strapping young athletic figure.

Back home in England he had been captaining his Woolhouse Grove School XI of Bradford and had signed as a non-contract member of the playing staff with the intention of being a paid member of the Yorkshire Academy of cricket staff which later on eventuated.

In addition to playing for his school he had also turned out for the Cleckheaton Cricket Club in the Bradford league where for three years he had been Cleckheatons young player of the year which in that time also saw him go onto play for the England U19 side.

Craig at that stage had also started to show his all-round sporting talents having also played for Yorkshire under 18’rugby team.

Craig became an extremely popular member of the City Cricket club and excelled on the field with both bat and ball – known for having a bullet arm in the outfield along with being a bowler who was somewhat of an awkward customer to face and punishing batsman who could hit a long ball.  This was no better highlighted when he cleared the City clubrooms at Cobham Oval with a towering six in a blistering innings of 150 that also saw him take out the highest club batting score for that season.

It’s fair to say as a true Englishman he enjoyed a beer or pint or two but was along with that a true gentleman and as described by many of the Whangarei and Northland female fraternity ‘absolutely gorgeous’ when attending many a social nights out with fellow City team mates and there partners at the local Forum bar night club in Whangarei.

He also was integral in doing a grand job coaching the City cricket club youngsters and for that matter was an extremely popular figure throughout junior cricket in Whangarei.

‘Yorkie’ went on to represent Northland as an all-rounder in four matches that same season scoring a well compiled 101no in a Fergus Hickey two day match against Poverty Bay.  He also played 5 one dayers for Northland and in one of those matches he produced a fine bowling spell in claiming a five wicket bag.

We unfortunately haven’t been able to track down ‘Yorkie’ since he last left New Zealand shores but if someone knows of his whereabouts or ‘Yorkie’ if you come across this post on your travels it would be great to hear from you.

Junior Registration Day Success

A huge thank you to all involved in the City Cricket Club Junior Registration day that was held on Saturday.  We had a spectacular turnout, filling the indoor centre with young cricketers – both boys & girls – and parents for two hours.  A proud moment to see all the registered cricketers in their City blue shirts ready to get into the swing of things for the season.  With around 70 juniors signed up on the day and registrations coming in online we are looking at a very, very busy season!

Richard Pooley did a great in leading the day along with his team (Amie, Nicky and Mike Bird).  Thanks to our senior players, coaches and supporters – Pagey, Ravi, Treibs, Joey, The Pattendens, Mushi and Matt Lobb aswell as our Club Captain Don Nelson, Brad Lang and his partner for pumping out about 150 sausages for the Juniors!

Thanks to our Club Captain Don Nelson, Mushi and Brad Lang and his partner for pumping out about 150 sausages (and Matt Lobb for an emergency bread run!)

We are very fortunate to have such great support from Grant Jackson and Jason Mills from Kookaburra – a huge thank you for the fantastic cricket gear giveaways – winners will be contacted before the start of the season.

City Cricket Club is looking forward to having another cracking junior season and the chance to build a good foundation for grassroots sport with a new group of kids getting cricket experience this year.

An amazing team effort, once again thank you to everyone for putting on a great day!

Check out our Facebook Page for more pics from the day.


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.

AGM Overview

City Cricket Club held their Annual General Meeting on Friday 7 August 2015 at their clubrooms Cobham Oval.

We had great attendance with around 40 members joining us for the evening – we were fortunate enough to have six of our distinguished life members present, the full executive committee, past and present players including our coaches and coordinators ranging from the senior playing side through to our junior representatives.

The meeting was chaired by Joseph Yovich which saw constructive agenda topics raised along with proactive initiatives and the chance for members from the floor to put forward any thoughts and insights leading into the season.  After the welcome formalities, we proceeded with an introduction of our new members whom have shown interest over the winter, many of them coming from outside the area and we look forward to having them join the club.

Our Club Captain Don Nelson gave an overview of the season including a report of happenings both on and off the field and took the opportunity to thank the various identities including its loyal and invaluable sponsors and its members within the club who continue to play an integral part in the running of the club initiatives.

Club Captains Report (click on link)

A popular figure who was present for the evening was Craig Presland, who travelled up from Auckland for the meeting.  Craig is a former City Cricket Club legend, Northland and Northern Districts cricketer who has recently moved on from being COO of New Zealand Cricket.  Craig has recently been appointed as Chairman of the Parnell Cricket Club in Auckland which has over 700 members and serves as the oldest cricket club in NZ dating back to 1858.

Craig (known as “Pres” to many) gave those in attendance an articulate insight around the legacy of the City Cricket Club along with the importance of leadership, success and its shop window, the overall club development and perspective in modern times which was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

The City Cricket Club Executive were appointed for the new season which sees Des Thomsen as Patron,  Joseph Yovich as President, Don Nelson as Club Captain, Nicky Stroebel as Secretary & Treasurer along with committee members Richard Pooley as Junior Coordinator, Russell Smith, Ian Page and Ravi Maan.

Joe Darkins, who was our Treasurer stood down from the executive and was acknowledged for the large contribution and support he has given to the cub over recent years.

The City Cricket Club coach appointment for the season is once again the evergreen Karl Treiber who gave a conscience review along with Richard Pooley on the coaching developments of the club with the senior and junior progress and programmes for the upcoming cricket season.

Ian Page was named as the Premier Captain for the season along with the experienced Craig Little as Vice-Captain.  Craig has recently joined the club after playing many years in senior grade cricket in Sydney.

Ravi Maan who took up the captaincy role for our Reserve side towards the end of season last year was re-appointed as Captain and will have the services of experienced veteran Tim King to call upon as Vice-Captain.

With the season on our doorstep the City Cricket Club is certainly looking forward to an exciting time ahead.  If the sense of excitement from the recent AGM evening is anything to go by the club is definitely in a strong position to achieve success along the way.

A huge thank you to everyone who took time out of their evening to join us.


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.

Phone Book Delivery Date on our Doorstep


Any members who would like to get involved with the annual phone book delivery please get in touch … this is a very important fundraising opportunity for the club so the more volunteers we have the better!

This year the phone book run is confirmed for SATURDAY 22 AUGUST.

We are currently putting the teams together for our designated areas, if you could please could you let us know on  if you would be available to help on the day – we will be in touch!


Peter Nathan could be well described as City Cricket Clubs ‘Calypso Bradman’! Peter seen here playing a swash buckling cover drive for City in a premier grade match at the ‘old’ Cobham Oval, Port Road in Whangarei. Pete known to his club mates as ‘Rasta’ certainly embraced the flamboyant West Indian way and golden era, this was best highlighted as Pete could always be easily spotted playing in the City colours but wearing the West Indian Maroon coloured wide brim floppy hat whilst so relaxed at times you could have thought he was actually horizontal, both on and off the field!

When Pete wasn’t throwing wood to willow at the tail end of the City innings he was taking wickets with his crafty swinging delivers with the special ‘knack’ of taking key wickets and breaking notable partnerships when thrown the ball by his skipper. A great City Cricket Club man and someone who could be always called upon at the drop of a hat, Pete can still be spotted supporting and following cricket teams down at Cobham Oval.

Pete is a Maintenance Supervisor at Housing New Zealand Corporation in Whangarei.

BLAST FROM THE PAST – Richard Johnston

Richard Kingsley Noel Johnston seen here taking off for another run amongst the many he scored for the City Cricket Clubs premier side over the years that he was involved in as a player.
Richard moved up from the Hawkes Bay, was a stylish but dashing left handed opening batsman who went on to represent Northland and was well known for never ‘blocking many’ and simply getting his team off to a flying start by taking too many opposition bowling attacks. Richard played an integral part in the successes of the City premier side during his playing time at the club.

The story goes that during this time playing for City (after scoring many quick-fire 30s and 40s) he was dared to play out a maiden over when on 49 – he did so! He then funnily enough went on to score his first century for the club then repeating that feat the following weekend. ‘Johnno’, as he is more widely known as, is a real character on and off the field and is man of many names (known to some as ‘Kojak’ because of his distinctive hair style (or lack of it), a few of his other aliases have been ‘Bull’ or ‘Nude Nut’ for the same reason. Johnno is the great impersonator, he has been called ‘Uncle Fester’, in recognition of his fancy dress attire and has also has been described as ‘Paddy Batch’ as he bats like former Black Cap Mark Greatbatch. Richard is still dusting off the whites and can been seen playing the odd match for the Cobham Club and the Northern Districts Masters team which play their annual tournament in Queenstown every year.

Richard works as a Sales and Finance Executive for Mark Cromie Holden in Whangarei and has had 25 years in vehicle sales. Richard’s work philosophy is “never sell to the back pocket”


Remember this likely lad? Welshman Owain Hopkins (Hutch) who joined the City Cricket Club as ‘pro’ in the 2005/06 season. It would only be fair to say that Owain become the resident pro and part of City Cricket Clubs furniture over the six year period that he was here. The Northland community certainly got used to seeing both Hutch and Simon Kuhn (Kuhny) cruising the streets in their beloved City sign written professional car, there was certainly nowhere to hide considering both Hutch and Kuhny’s names and numbers were splashed all over the reliable but challenging blue station wagon.

City Cricket Club have been very fortunate with the quality pro’s they have had throughout its history. With that Hutch would certainly sit at the top of this pile, this being highlighted in in 2006/07 when he took out City’s most prestigious Cooney Cup for Club Man of the year. A highly likable character not only with the older members but amongst the many City juniors that he worked with during his time as the City junior coach within the local schools and down at the Cobham Oval on club training days.

As a player Hutch was talented all-rounder who represented Northland. A right handed ‘touch player’ when it came to scoring runs and a niggly right arm bowler who had a knack of consistently hitting the seam and being at times unplayable and extremely tough to score from on bowler friendly wickets.2007/08 Hutch captained the City side to NCA one and two day championships along with leading the side through to being one of the top six clubs to compete at the prestigious national club championships held at Cornwall park in Auckland.

In 2009 /10 he received the Kimber Trophy for most wickets in a season along with also the Wilson Trophy for most overall points in a season showing his all-round skills on the park. Hutch fell in love with the spa at the residence house he was living parking himself up after a weekend of cricket and celebrations and during his stay spending more time there then his own bed – it was thought that he must have had shares in the local power company! He will be remembered as a player that was never flustered, extremely popular figure who always had time for the young and and old and found that nothing was ever to be a problem.

He went on to make many friendships not only within City Cricket club family but throughout the wider Northland community. He was well known for using the word ‘Perfect’ as his reply to ‘yes’ in a sentence. It’s fair to say Hutch was the ‘perfect’ City pro !