October 15, 2002

Bali bomb claims life of prolific Parker

Former Otago batsman Mark Parker has been named as New Zealand's first confirmed victim of the Bali bombing atrocity, that killed nearly 200 people over the weekend.

Parker, who was thought to be holidaying on the island while returning from a highly successful summer playing for St.Cross Symondians in the Southern Electric Premier Cricket League, was in the Kuta district of Bali when the bomb exploded.

The news of the death of the 27-year-old son of New Zealand test player Murray Parker and nephew of the great John Parker, another Black Cap, has been taken particularly hard at his club, Onslow CC and in Hampshire, where he led his adopted team to promotion from the SPCL Division Three last season with 757 runs at an average of 84.11 - the best in any of the three divisions.

It is believed that he suffered extensive injuries in the blast, according to Christchurch-based Daniel Whiston, who told New Zealand television station TV3 that "he tried to stop the bleeding and was conscious and talking before he died."

A close friend of All Black rugby captain Anton Oliver, he also led the New Zealand Under 20s side that contained current Black Cap international Jacob Oram and Joseph Yovich before playing three times for Otago in the Shell Trophy of 1996-97 alongside former England star Matthew Maynard and Kiwi off-spinner Paul Wiseman.

John Morrison, the newly appointed ICC international panel match referee and friend of the family spoke of his disbelief while Gavin Larsen, the NZ medium-pace bowler said that Parker was "mega-talented and wanted to give first-class cricket another go with Wellington."

"He was a great timer of the ball and should have played more first-class cricket."

The tragedy has rocked the Winchester-based cricket club in England where Parker had performed with great aplomb for the past three seasons, recording his best year in 2002 with two excellent centuries.

An extremely popular figure with his team-mates at St.Cross, he was due to return for a fourth campaign with the club he helped secure promotion and second place in SPCL Division Three.

All involved with the Southern Electric Premier Cricket League pass their condolences to his family and friends. A fine, talented young man so cruelly taken.