Father-son Bond broken

By Bevan Hurley

Shane Bond acknowledges his father's support but doubts they will reconcile. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Shane Bond acknowledges his father's support but doubts they will reconcile. Photo / Brett Phibbs

The father of cricket great Shane Bond has revealed the cause of a bitter family feud that has seen him ostracised from his son.

John Bond said that his marriage to Shane's mother Judith ended more than five years ago amid allegations of infidelity.

The 59-year-old said he was wrongly accused of cheating on Shane's mother but the fallout from the divorce saw Shane and his sister Tracey break off contact.

In his autobiography, Looking Back, Shane said his father, who was his "hero" growing up, had let him down. "He is no longer a part of my life, or the lives of his grandchildren," Shane wrote.

Speaking for the first time about the rift, John said that he was never given a chance to explain himself.

"Whether my wife and I split up or not, it had nothing to do with my kids. They have chosen to make it their issue. They never bothered to ask my side of the story."

John, a truck driver now living in Blenheim, said the divorce dragged through court for over a year. "I was accused of ripping people off, I was accused of having affairs. I heard it all through the family and I'm sick of it. Now I don't even have a photo of my son and me together.

"If I hadn't have been there he couldn't have done it. Shane has done very well and I am very proud of him but that part of my life is gone."

John said he spotted a special talent in Shane from age six and coached his son's teams.

He said: "I knew from the day that he picked up a cricket ball for the Black Midgets in Upper Hutt when he was six that he was something special.

"He had the same bowling action then. That's what fathers do for their kids. No one can take away the fact that I was a good father to him."

John said Shane lived at home until he was 25 as he chased his cricketing dream, and was selected for the Black Caps aged 26. "That was my proudest moment. He came to ask me for advice but by that stage he didn't need me to tell him anything."

In the two years following, as Bond was tearing through batting lineups around the world, John's marriage to Judith started to disintegrate. John, who said he hardly touched alcohol, claimed to be innocent of all the allegations of infidelity thrown at him.

Shane had acknowledged his father's influence but also said the pair would probably never reconcile. "It hurts when the man you grow up loving and respecting, in many respects he was my hero, lets you down.

"Those personal issues have driven us apart, probably forever, but I need to acknowledge the massive influence he had on my early development as a cricketer."

John was close to his half-brother, Ngai Tahu chairman Mark Solomon, and had discussed the family problems with him. He said he was happily remarried now, to Michelle, and had a step-son.

He accepted that he may never meet Shane's three children, and had moved on with his life. "It was pretty hard for the first year or two but you can't miss something you haven't got. I'm not going to live the rest of my life being bitter."

Shane Bond did not return calls yesterday.

- Herald on Sunday

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