Photo Credit: New Zealand Cricket
Keith Thomson, who died in Christchurch yesterday aged 81, was a double international in cricket and hockey, who will be remembered for a highly unusual crouching stance that served him well in both sports.
One of two brothers (along with his late brother Bill) who represented New Zealand at hockey at the Mexico Olympics, Keith played two cricket Tests for his country against India in the summer of 1967-68, including 69 on debut in what became New Zealand’s fourth Test victory.
He was later fast-tracked as a first-class cricket umpire, standing in 13 first-class and 11 List A matches between 1983 and 1987 as well as a Youth “Test” between New Zealand and Australia. He also umpired two hockey Tests.
Thomson was born in Methven in 1941. An article from the Christchurch Metro described his family living a frugal, nomadic lifestyle in a mobile, timber unit, pulled by a steam engine, and camping around the Mid Canterbury countryside.
Eventually settling down in Christchurch, Keith attended Addington School and Christchurch West High School (now Hagley Community College) and became a loyal member of the Sydenham Cricket Club, for whom he scored 8811 runs including 13 centuries.
Selected for Canterbury, he played 58 games for the Major Association between 1959-60 and 1973-74, scoring 2543 runs at 27.64, including four centuries.
The first two of that quartet of centuries, 102 and 102 not out against Otago in Dunedin in 1966-67, catapulted him into the New Zealand team to play the inbound Australian XI, after which he toured Australia with New Zealand in 1967-68.
Thomson trained as a secondary school teacher and taught at Amuri Area School, Hagley High, Makora College (in Masterton) and Christchurch Boys High.
He was life member of the Sydenham club, and also of the Canterbury and New Zealand Hockey Associations.