Syd Ward 1907-2010 January 10, 2011

Second-oldest cricketer of all time dies aged 103

Syd Ward, the oldest known surviving first-class cricketer and the second longest-lived ex-cricketer whose age has been incontestably established, died at his home in Wairarapa, New Zealand, on New Year's Eve at the age of 103.

Born in Australia, Ward moved to New Zealand at an early age and worked in Wellington as a jeweller. A top-order batsman, he played ten matches for Wellington between 1929-30 and 1936-37 scoring 282 runs at 14.84. The highlight of his career came in December 1935 when he was in the Wellington side which beat the touring MCC by 14 runs.

Ward was also an accomplished rugby player for the state before his career was ended in 1933 by a badly-broken ankle.

He had no children but his nephew said he had been "a bit of a larrikin" in his earlier days "but he never had a bad word for anyone and always had a smile on his face".

The longest-lived cricketer remains Derbyshire's Jim Hutchinson, who was 196 days older than Ward when he died in 2000.

Martin Williamson is executive editor of Cricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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