The Onslow Cricket Club commenced existence in time for the 1930-31 season, cricket in Khandallah having previously been played under the Khandallah Boys Club banner. The driving force behind the Club's development was Major F C Gentry and his three sons were prominent in the first years.
For the first few seasons only two teams were fielded, growth being hampered by the lack of a suitable home ground and the effects of the Depression. Once Nairnville Park became available for use in 1933-34 the Club started to expand and eight teams were fielded in 1938-39. Some players had difficulty with the 1.30pm starting time as Saturday morning work was common and transport less available than in modern times.
Nevertheless, the 1938-39 season saw five of the eight teams winning their grades. A standout performance was that of Ash Levastam who took 100 wickets in the season.
The forties were a difficult decade with the war taking its toll on playing numbers, although the Club revived sufficiently to progress to Senior grade status for the 1951-52 season. By this time Onslow was establishing itself as a strong club in the lower one day grades, a feature which has continued virtually unchanged in the half century since.
The one day teams domination of their grades was the basis of Onslow on several occasions winning the trophy awarded to the club with the most championship points across all grades, irrespective of the number of teams. To the fore in this were teams of players from the Onslow Rugby Club, throughout the decades a fruitful source of playing talent. This close relationship between the two Nairnville Park clubs was part of the tight community spirit of the district which carried over several generations.
As the New Zealand cricket team struggled in the late fifties, so did Onslow, with playing numbers dropping at adult and schoolboy levels. This was to end with Onslow losing Senior status in 1965-66. Things started to improve in the late sixties however and with class players such as Chris and Jeremy Coney in the top team, Senior status was regained for the 1970-71 season. Jeremy was to become Onslow's first New Zealand representative in 1973-74. Numbers of players grew, as did the strength of Onslow teams and in 1977-78 Onslow had a magic season. Pride of place went to the Senior team in winning the first Senior championship for Onslow. Two other grades were won and with other teams also showing strongly, the Club Championship was won for the first time in a number of years. Two years later, Onslow celebrated 50 years as a club and a large number of players achieved representative honours that year. 1979-80 started a decade which saw two other Senior titles and several other close chases for that honour.
Over the years Onslow has had a number of players play for Wellington at various levels and age groups. Of these, Jeremy Coney, John Morrison and Gavin Larsen have featured prominently for New Zealand, Jeremy becoming captain and Gavin playing over 100 one day International games for New Zealand.
After a brief appearance in the late forties, women's cricket returned to Onslow in 1978-79 and consolidated to the extent that Onslow dominated women's cricket in Wellington during the eighties and early nineties. Patricia McKelvey (long time New Zealand captain), Nancy Williams, Karen Musson and Maia Lewis (former New Zealand captain) have all represented New Zealand while playing for Onslow.
Junior cricket has in recent years thrived with the exposure of the sport on television. For a number of decades junior numbers were low and administration carried out by a few dedicated enthusiasts. As numbers increased dramatically in the early eighties, a separate club was established with parental administration better able to devote the necessary time to this important aspect of Onslow cricket. Junior cricket at Onslow has gone from strength to strength and the results are now feeding back into the senior club.
The nineties have seen mixed fortunes for a club that has finally seen itself as a genuine force in Wellington cricket at the top level. Onslow has continued to provide a number of representative players sometimes at a cost as representative commitments deny players the chance to perform for Onslow. With the amalgamation of the Wellington and Hutt Valley Senior competitions and a two tier Senior structure, Onslow has experienced mixed results finding itself in the second level for several seasons before winning its way back into the top grade for the 2002-03 season.
Onslow can look forward to the season and the future beyond with confidence.
B A C Heather
W R Heatherwick
R F Hickling
L A Mead
I H Paterson
V C Smith
E J Tonks
K J Haines
A M Wilson
D M Lander
F C Gentry
W H Gledhill
A G Wells
A A Barritt
W T Christian
G P Comeskey
Life Members (left to right) - Kevin Haines, Ian Patterson,
Bruce Heather, Wally Heatherwick, Denis Lander and Andy Wilson under the "Heatherwick HallSign" at Old Timers Day 2010.
Below are representative profiles of Onslow players who have represented New Zealand while playing for Onslow. Others to have played for New Zealand, either before or after their stint at Onslow include Andrew Penn and Sophie Devine. Former New Zealand captain Martin Crowe was once 'registered' at Onslow in the early 1990's but never played in a competition match for the club.
Overseas imports Paul Jarvis and Mal Loye have turned out for England.
John “Mystery” Morrison was Onslow’s first New Zealand representative making his test debut during the 1973-74 season. In his 17 tests and 18 one day internationals, Morrison reached the century mark once while his best first-class score was an unbeaten 180. After retiring from first class cricket, Morrison continued to play for Onslow right up until 2003/04 and has also gone on to run his own sports management company, been elected as a Wellington City Councilor (Onslow Ward) and worked as a cricket presenter and commentator on both TV and radio as well as serving as an ICC match referee.
A very tall, fit, and enthusiastic all-rounder, Jeremy Coney was an organised and correct batsman, a steady medium-pacer and a fine fielder, who became an exceptionally astute captain. He had appeared in Tests against all the other countries before taking over from Geoff Howarth in Pakistan in 1984-85. Very determined, he tended to produce his best when the chips were down. A good musician and a qualified teacher, he became a regular selection after a successful home series against Pakistan in 1978-79, and was an important member of the team that reached the semi-finals of the 1979 World Cup. Consistent batting, including a record seventh-wicket stand with Geoff Howarth, helped New Zealand to a shock series victory over West Indies in 1979-80, but it was not until the first Test against England in 1983-84 that he finally registered a maiden Test century, a painstaking eight-hour match-saving marathon of 174 not out. He further enhanced his reputation by leading New Zealand to a first series win in England, in 1986, endearing himself to spectators by his sunny disposition. When Bruce French was felled by a Hadlee bouncer at Lord's, it was Coney who permitted England to play two substitute wicketkeepers. He was awarded an MBE in 1986, and became a successful TV and radio sports commentator and presenter. Shrewd and witty, he was streets ahead of most other players-turned-pundits (obtained from Cricinfo).
The name of Gavin Larsen is synonymous with one-day internationals in New Zealand having played 121 matches and been a part of three consecutive World Cup teams. 'The Postman' (he always delivers) has built a reputation as a miserly one-day bowler regularly conceding the least runs per over. Larsen played in eight 1999 World Cup games taking six wickets and having the best economy rate of the New Zealand bowlers with 3.46 rpo. However in the past two seasons opposition batsmen have targeted Larsen, charging down the wicket in a bid to counter his accurate medium-paced deliveries. His RPO has slipped a little but the counter balance has been more wickets. To the disappointment of many New Zealand supporters he announced his retirement in October, 1999 yet has continued to turn out throughout the grades for Onslow as recently as 2006/08. Following a stint in corporate sponsorship and commentary, Larsen moved into the role of Chief Executive of Crcket Wellington before stepping down in 2011 to focuse on business interests. (obtained from Cricinfo).
Maia Lewis made her debut against England in the 1991-92 seasons and went on to play nine Tests, and 78 one-dayers, scoring 1372 runs at an average of 22.49. She made a significant contribution with her dynamic captaincy and was responsible for the development of several young cricketers on the international scene. A six-year absence, during which time she underwent a full knee reconstruction, ended when she returned to New Zealand colours in the 2005 World Cup (189 runs at 31.50) and went on the lead the side on their tour of India. Her superb leadership qualities made a significant impact on and off the field, and she was also known for her outstanding fielding.
She represented Canterbury and North in domestic cricket and was more than once the leading run-scorer for the State Wellington Blaze - since the introduction of the State League in 1998-99 she made 1578 runs at an average of 41.52. She was also awarded the Ruth Martin Cup, for being the best batsman in the 2002-03 season. She announced her retirement from all cricket in September 2005. (obtained from Cricinfo)
Sophie has been part of the White Ferns for the last three seasons and when she was selected for the side she was sitting in home economics class at High School. She is one of the youngest members of the White Ferns and she was first selected to play for the Wellington Blaze when she was just 14. She is a multi talented sportswoman and not only has she played cricket for New Zealand but she is also part of the Black Sticks hockey team. She first debuted for the White Ferns in 2006 in an ODI and then a Twenty20 game against Australia, and was recently part of the squad that travelled to the world cups during 2009. Sophie says although the White Ferns didn’t win, it is good to look back at the big achievements of the team. (obtained from blackcaps.co.nz)
Trish McKelvey was a long-time captain of New Zealand, playing 15 test matches and 21 One Day Internationals between 1966 and 1979. Trish scored two test centuries for New Zealand with a personal best of 155 not out.
Between 1985 and 1992, Nancy Williams played four tests and 19 One Day Internationals for New Zealand.
Between 1993 and 1996, Karen Musson played one test and 13 One Day Internationals for New Zealand.