Bruce Groth has a passion for cricket and at the age of 95 has watched, played, and officiated at many matches.

Bruce is still on a high after recently receiving correspondence from former New Zealand test cricketer Sir Richard Hadlee.

Bruce has the first ball Sir Richard Hadlee bowled in a match in Narrabri when Sir Richard was 18 years old and Bruce was the umpire.

It is mounted, sits on his shelf alongside an article in The Courier on January 2, 2007.

The ball holds a special place in Bruce’s heart.

Recently Kathryn, also an avid cricket fan and a nurse from New Zealand was working in the Boggabri Multi-Purpose service.

While speaking to Bruce about cricket he pointed towards the ball and the article and said: “have a read”.

Kathryn was intrigued and said ‘I am going home to New Zealand in the next few weeks may I take a copy of the article and a photo of the ball and I will see if anyone in New Zealand is interested’.

Interested they were, and Bruce received a copy of the reply Kathryn received from Sir Richard.

Sir Richard said: “Very interesting indeed. I recall that tour and ‘test’ match (very loosely used term) as it was the Canterbury Colts v Emus. We were representing the Canterbury region and not NZ as such.”

“We played games in Dungog, Coffs Harbour, Tamworth, Armidale, Taree and Narrabri.

“I was 18 and played my first test for NZ in 1973 at 21.”

“The Narrabri ‘Test’ was certainly rain affected and when we batted the pitch was very muddy – the ball got very soggy and muddy.”

“Nice memories of the tour. Regards, Richard.”

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