30 years of club cricket a rare feat for Murray

Greerton's 30 year veteran Murray Jarvis in his natural habitat of a summer Saturday.

If you’ve spent 30 straight years at the sharp end of Bay of Plenty club cricket, you've probably come up against all the hotshots and got them out.

That’s something Murray Jarvis - whose Greerton club has just held a function to mark his rare achievement of reaching three decades in their eye-catching black and gold strip - claims with a degree of modest pride.

Pretty much all, that is. There is one notable exception.

“I think the only one I’ve never got out, but I’ve nearly had out, was Kane Williamson,” says Murray. “I thought I had him LBW once. The umpire didn’t agree, but it was pretty close.”

Was the umpire too scared to raise his finger?

“I dunno,” he says. “It looked pretty out to me.”

Bowlers, as Murray admits, always think they're out. But that's the kind of tenacity you need to keep sending down your nagging medium pace line-and-length grenades, Saturday after Saturday, for 30 years of premier club cricket.

Moving on from his first XI days at Tauranga Boys’ College, Murray joined Greerton. And – also a rare feat – he’s been a one-club man ever since.

“I just didn’t feel like changing clubs,” he says. “Having good mates around you is what it’s about.”

So far this season it’s been the Reserve Grade side for Murray, due to the influx of good young players under the leadership of president Steve Wineti. He's always up for a return to the prems, but he’s fine with the second tier.

“I quite like the reserves anyway,” he says. “It’s more relaxed.”

Stats are not a big thing for Murray, but his CV includes an occasion when he took seven wickets in an innings, and a couple of six-fers as well.

There’s also two centuries in there - a reminder of the time when his skills with the bat were more noted than with the ball.

“I used to open the batting a while back. I've batted literally all the way from one down to 10.

“I get out there when I have to, but I'm not too bothered if I don’t get a bat.”

These days he’d rather let the younger guys have the limelight.

Typically, he can’t recall much of his own performance in the match he calls his career highlight, but he looks back fondly on the team’s success at the Bay Oval in 2012, when Greerton won the Bay's most sought-after club trophy, the Williams Cup, for the first time in 27 years.

“We beat Cadets in that final, and obviously we hadn’t won it in quite a number of years,” he says. “So that was probably the main highlight.

“I don't recall, but I got maybe one or two for 20-odd. I didn’t get many runs - in fact I think I might have only got one.

“It was a tight game anyway. It went down to the wire.”

Other highlights have been watching talented players emerge and go on to achieve global status.

He remembers getting a close-up view of Kane Williamson as a schoolboy facing seriously quick adult bowling, and being totally unruffled by it.

“Nothing bothered him, and his technique was pretty awesome. You could see he was going to be good.”

There was also a young guy called Trent Boult.

“I played against Trent when he was 16-years-old,” says Murray, “and he was reasonably quick back then, and swinging it.”

Murray has since endured the Blackcaps’ paceman dominating more than one game with the bat as well as the ball for his club team, Greerton’s big rivals Cadets.

He thinks he might give it another couple of seasons before he throws his boots back in the gear bag for the very last time, and there’s one thing he’d like as a retirement present.

“Hopefully I don’t have to play either of them, because you know you’re going to be up for some runs.”


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