October 10, 2001

'Dad' Weir becomes Test cricket's oldest survivor

Aucklander Lindsay 'Dad' Weir became the oldest surviving Test cricketer in the world following the death in England, on Monday, of fast bowler Alf Gover.

Weir, a two-time tourist to England with the New Zealand teams of 1931 and 1937 was born on June 2 1908 making him 93 years old.

Weir was twice dismissed by Gover during the 1937 tour, once against Gover's Surrey county side and once in the third Test, the only Test Weir played on that tour.

Weir, missed by one Test, playing in New Zealand's first official Test match, against the 1929/30 MCC side on its tour of New Zealand. He was called into the second Test and scored 3 and 21 in the drawn match.

He won his selection after making an outstanding start to his first-class career which he began as a 19-year-old. New Zealand's players only had three first-class matches a season if there was no touring team and in his second season he scored the first of 10 first-class centuries, 106 not out, against Otago.

It was his second century, 105 against Canterbury, in the 1929/30 season that was directly responsible for his Test selection.

In the following summer he made up for a first innings duck and scored centuries against Canterbury and Wellington to assure himself of inclusion in the 1931 side to England under the captaincy of Tom Lowry.

Weir completed his 1000 runs on tour, but overall his average of 25.87 was lower than he might have expected and was the result of not being able to score as freely as he liked to in the foreign conditions. He played all three Tests but only managed 96 runs at 24.00.

However, he prospered when returning home. His 74 not out against South Africa on its 1931/32 tour of New Zealand was his highest score in a career which saw him score 416 runs at 29.71.

The highest score of his first-class career was 191 scored against Auckland in 1935/36.

A useful medium-pace bowler he took seven Test wickets with his best being 3/38 against England in the first Test at Lord's when he opened the bowling with Ian Cromb.

On the 1937 tour of England he scored 893 runs at 26.26.

By the end of his first-class career in 1946/47, he had scored 5022 runs at 32.19 and had 107 wickets at 37.35.

He has been a regular visitor to Eden Park for Test matches ever since.