This week the Allied Nationwide Finance Basin Reserve is hosting its 50th test – and one Wellington-based nonagenarian has seen every one of those 50 games.
Watching from his favourite spot in the R A Vance stand this week will be 91-year old cricket lover Wyvern Hunt.
Cricket has been a life-long passion for Mr Hunt. When he was younger, he would read the Wisden Almanack cover to cover and knew all the best players. It was his father who took him along to the first test at the Basin in 1930, when the young fan was just 11 years old.
“I remember the cricket to some extent,” he reminisced. “We sat down on the wooden seats in front of the stand. The RA Vance stand wasn’t there back then.”
He was there in 1978 when the Kiwis beat England for the first time in a Test, seeing Sir Richard Hadlee clean up with the ball (10 for 100 in the match). “They had a full English team who were very good, that would probably be one of the highlights so far,” he said. “The other highlight was beating Australia [in 1990] when John Wright got 120. Those were my best memories.”
He’s seen some of the world’s greatest cricketers play at the Basin Reserve, but his heart has always been behind the New Zealanders. Through the years he thoroughly enjoyed watching Hadlee as well as Martin Crowe. “I saw him get 299. I was a bit disappointed that he didn’t make 300!”
His family have always been part of the cricketing adventure. He would take his wife and three children to the Basin for a family day out at the cricket – although sometimes cricket had to come first. In 2005 he came home early from a family wedding so he could attend a Test match. “It was a great inconvenience!” Hunt chuckled. “I was keen to get back otherwise I wouldn’t maintain my record of attending at least one day of every Test match at the Basin Reserve.”
Mr Hunt is also a foundation member of the Wanderers Cricket Club and he said he is looking forward to spending some time with his son Tony and enjoying a cold one in the long room at the lunch during this week’s Test.
On the eve of this week’s historic Test Mr Hunt had the opportunity to meet the BLACKCAPS at their pre-match team meeting, and was presented with a signed bat.
“I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the team,” he said. “It was a privilege, and I’m certainly looking forward to seeing them in action over the next few days.”