Wisden Obituary

Peter Petherick

PETHERICK, PETER JAMES, who died on June 7, aged 72, was the first NewZealander to take a Test hat-trick - in his first match, at the age of 34, less than a year after being hoicked out of the garage where he worked in Alexandra to make his first-class debut for Otago. At Lahore in 1976-77, off-spinner Petherick had Javed Miandad caught at square leg off a top edge, before Wasim Raja drove back his first ball uppishly.

"Amazingly, he caught it," said Warren Lees, the wicketkeeper. "He couldn't even catch it when I threw it back to him, so this was quite a surprise." Then Intikhab Alam flicked one straight to Geoff Howarth at bat-pad: Petherick had completed a hat-trick - only James Franklin has since done so for New Zealand in Tests - although Pakistan already had 336 by then, and the 19-year-old Miandad, also on debut, 163. They won easily. "Most of his bowling was flight and guile, and he had a wee bit of outswing with his slower arm-ball," said Lees.

"There was minimal effort in his run-up: it was a three-metre shuffle." But, as the Otago Daily Times noted, "Petherick could make the ball turn square on any pitch which gave him help." That ability brought a record 42 wickets in his belated first season for Otago, including nine for 93 against Northern Districts and six for 36 in his next match, against the Indian tourists, both at Dunedin.

When Hedley Howarth, New Zealand's incumbent spinner, was unavailable for the tour of Pakistan and India the following year, Petherick was called up: including the hat-trick, he collected 16 wickets in five Tests. Early in 1977 he took seven for 65 against the Australian tourists, and played the Auckland Test that soon followed - but he failed to strike there, and was never chosen again, despite breaking his own Otago record with 45 wickets in 1977-78. Petherick then moved to Wellington, and signed off in 1980-81, aged 38, by dismissing Stephen Boock with his final delivery in first-class cricket. He became an accomplished player of lawn bowls, reaching the national pairs final in 2006, and later joined his son in Australia.

© John Wisden & Co