Saturday, December 19, 2015

Almanack continues to hit the mark

Earlier as New Zealand's cricket season may be getting, especially on the international front, some things remain the same and at the forefront is the New Zealand Cricket Almanack.

The inestimable diary of New Zealand's summers, whether in the southern or northern hemisphere, is in its 68th year and it remains as invaluable as ever in all its chronicling of the men's and women's games.

Editors Francis Payne and Ian Smith have built the Almanack to the point where it is difficult to imagine, especially as newspapers further retrench, a more ready reckoner of the game.

Websites may be fashionable but there is something to be said for picking up an almanack, consulting the contents page and going straight to the required information.

It also has the advantage of acknowledging significant milestones in the game, especially at the less resourced first-class level, while also ensuring that in most instances the deaths of players unknown to many of a younger generation are suitably acknowledged.

In a changing media world it is difficult to imagine how the game could survive without this outstanding ready reference for New Zealand.

It also acknowledges key performers in games with Trent Boult and Brendon McCullum named as players of the year while the promising players were Jacob Duffy, Will Young and Henry Nicholls, who was most recently named in New Zealand's one-day squad to play Sri Lanka.

New Zealand's World Cup performance is captured and it bears repeating again that the side produced the highest run scorer in the tournament (Martin Guptill – 547 runs) and the best bowling performance (Tim Southee – 7-33 v England).

Among some of the statistical points were noting during the year was Peter Fulton's breaking Jeremy Coney's record of 18 catches in a season for a province. Fulton took 20 for Canterbury.

It was a big year for Fulton who achieved 100 first-class appearances for Canterbury while also becoming the first player to score 7000 runs for the province. Only Bert Sutcliffe (five) and Matthew Bell (three) and Fulton (three) have passed 200 runs as many times for their provinces.

When Tom Latham scored a Test century against Pakistan it was the third occurrence of a father-son century in New Zealand Test history. Rod Latham scored a century against Zimbabwe. Walter and Richard Hadlee and Ken and Hamish Rutherford are the other combinations to have achieved the feat.

The gems continue and it is difficult to imagine how the breadth of New Zealand's involvement in cricket around the world nowadays could be better captured than in this 'must-have' tool for serious cricket fans.

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