Lord’s. The home of cricket, and the most played at away venue for New Zealand. Famous for its bacon & egg ties, the slope, Members’ stand, the spaceship at the Nursery End, and Father Time. And its Honours Board.
So who are the New Zealanders who sit on those boards? Today, the batsmen.
Stewie Dempster, 120. 1931
Stewie Dempster. Retired with a test average of over 65 after only 10 tests; born in the wrong era. You can pay your tributes to him the next time you enter the Basin Reserve through the gates named after him. He was compared to Bradman on that tour and fittingly scored New Zealand’s first century abroad.
Curly Page, 104. 1931
New Zealand’s second ever test captain and a double All Black (Christchurch Boys High School old boy in case you started to wonder) scored his only test century at the home of cricket in the same test as Dempster.
As it happened, there was a fleeting chance of victory here. After the first day NZ 224, Eng 190/7 proving test cricket in 1931 was pretty sexy.
But England’s tail wagged a bit; they made 454 and it needed Dempster and Page to rescue things. Roger Blunt also scored 96 to start a list of kiwi almost-was Honours board entries
Still, the performance persuaded the powers that be to add another couple of tests to the tour. The age of versatility.
Martin Donnelly , 206. 1949
The highest score by a New Zealander at Lords, and our first ever double centurion.
Until the 1980s this side was widely considered to be NZ’s best; pushing England in all four tests. What is unusual about this test was that it was not the first in a tour. The home side made 313; Donnelly powered NZ to 484, but the hosts managed to bat out the last day for a draw.
Bevan Congdon, 175. 1973
England (the late Tony Greig) did a bit of trash talking aimed at captain Congdon before that 1973 tour. The theory was that they had isolated some weaknesses in his game.
Two tests into the series and it was clear what it was; he was strangely vulnerable in the 170s. Here he was out for 175 following his 176 in the previous test.
Mark Burgess, 105. 1973
But wait; there’s more.
Vic Pollard, 105. 1973
By now it’s obvious NZ was in a good position in this test. A first innings lead of nudging 300 in fact. As it happened Keith Fletcher played the test innings of his life and that first test win against the Old Country remained elusive.
Geoff Howarth, 105. 1978
Proof that the NZ 3rd innings capitulation isn’t really a new thing. On a 2RPO pudding of a pitch the tourists led by 50 on the first innings thanks to the innings above.
Time for a 67 in the third dig then. Bevan Congdon said it was the best ever bowling he’d faced, but he was 38 by then.
Bruce Edgar kept wickets in that test.
Martin Crowe, 106. 1986
A tight test, but for rain on the fourth day could have been a nail-biter. Instead it is mainly remembered for Mike Gatting’s World XI / Illford 2XI comment.
Crowe’s century guided NZ to a modest first innings lead, but rain and 183 from Graham Gooch took the match away from New Zealand.
Trevor Franklin, 101. 1990
Trevor Franklin didn’t always have the best time in London. But Lords is 50k or so to the north of Gatwick, and that was where he scored his only test century.
This was painful too. At a strike rate of 32 he finally got to the three figures. This was a diversion to the main theme of the test, which was how “SIR RICHARD HADLEE” was going to fit on the old scorecard.
John Wright came the closest he ever got to the Honours Board. 98.
Martin Crowe, 142. 1994
Dion Nash’s test. But it was all set up on the first day with the kind of captain’s knock you want; even on half a knee. A first innings of 476 set up the pressure that Nash was able to exert later in the test, despite not having a lot of help. England finished the match 8 down in the last innings, calling bad light after >100 overs of which Owens bowled ten.
Bryan Young came agonisingly close in the second dig with 94.
Matt Horne, 100. 1999
This one is unique as it is the only century here as part of a winning effort. And it was a bit of a thumping too; England barely made 400 across both innings and the match is best remembered for Chris Read was bowled on the first day ducking a Chris Cairns floating full toss.
The New Zealand innings was built around Horne’s neat 100; a lead of almost 200 sealed it.
Mark Richardson, 101. 2004
This is the best known entry on the Honours Board, because it gets referred to nightly on The Crowd Goes Wild. It is also the only entry from a losing side.
That 2004 tour was packed with frustration, and this Lords test summed it up. Richardson came close in the first innings with 93 before converting in the second innings. In all he faced 635 balls, yet New Zealand still lost.
That match also featured a 47 ball 82 from Chris Cairns on his swansong tour and the first “if only” knock from McCullum with 96. A strange test in a strange tour.
Jacob Oram, 101. 2008
That’s right, Jacob Oram. A match saving innings too.
In a line-up that had a top 3 of Redmond, How and James Marshall it fell upon McCullum (97) in the first innings and Oram in the second to provide the bulk of the runs.
After a fair bit of the second and third days were washed out, NZ started the final day with scores almost level with nervous day at the crease in front of them. When McCullum retired hurt the tourists seemed effectively 80/5. But Oram dug in before putting his foot down to get himself on the board and seal the draw.