Tess Nichol is an NZME. News Service reporter.

Auckland Grammar honour Martin Crowe

Crowe’s leadership and ‘phenomenal’ sporting legacy a living inspiration

The sporting legacy left by Martin Crowe at Auckland Grammar has been described by the school's head as phenomenal and an inspiration to current students.

Auckland Grammar flew the flag at half-mast yesterday to pay its respects to the cricketing legend and Grammar old boy.

Headmaster Tim O'Connor said the flag was lowered as soon as the school heard the news the former batsman had succumbed to his years-long battle with follicular lymphoma yesterday morning.

The captain of the Auckland Grammar School cricket XI Martin Crowe (left) and the teams coach Steve Watt holding the E. Heathcote Williams Challenge Sheild.
The captain of the Auckland Grammar School cricket XI Martin Crowe (left) and the teams coach Steve Watt holding the E. Heathcote Williams Challenge Sheild.

The former Black Cap has been described as one of the very best sportsmen the school produced.

"If you think about his sporting prowess it was quite phenomenal," Mr O'Connor told the Herald.

"Performing as he did, it's almost unheard of now."

Crowe attended Auckland Grammar from 1976 to 1980 and was in the 1st XI cricket team every year from the fourth form onward.

In 1979, in his second year as captain of the 1st XI, he scored 325 runs at an average of 40.60.

He was also selected for the school's senior squash team and was a winger in Graham Henry's 1st XV.

He was made deputy head prefect in his last year at Auckland Grammar and was remembered as a capable academic.

Crowe's achievements gave students something to aspire to, Mr O'Connor said, calling him an "inspiration to young men".

Photos of Crowe from his school days adorn the walls of the prestigious boys' school and his name can be found on the cricket honour board and the 1st XI captain's board.

Today's school assembly would allow the school to pay their respects to Crowe together, Mr O'Connor said. An obituary would be read out, followed by a moment of silence.

Crowe was active in the school's community and would be missed by students, who were used to seeing him pop up on the sidelines to support the school at 1st XV matches, or play in old boys cricket matches.

The school's current top cricket players asked Mr O'Connor yesterday if they could wear black armbands to pay their respects to Crowe during their Marryatt Cup final match against St Kentigern today.

Martin Crowe (front and centre) in a team photograph of the Auckland Grammar School first XI cricket team from 1979. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Martin Crowe (front and centre) in a team photograph of the Auckland Grammar School first XI cricket team from 1979. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Sir John Graham, Crowe's headmaster at Auckland Grammar and a former All Black captain, described Crowe's resilience as he battled cancer.

"When he had completed chemotherapy he looked a shadow of the young man I once knew.

"Yet he spoke with a growing and renewed confidence of his desire to help others. He spoke of the importance, particularly to young New Zealanders, of following one's dreams, of facing challenges, of aiming high."

Crowe made his first-class debut before the start of his seventh form year, top scoring for Auckland in his first outing.

He was selected as New Zealand's Young Cricketer to Lord's in 1981 at 19 and two years later he was re-selected on a full tour of England.

Crowe will be remembered as one of New Zealand's best batsmen, scoring nearly 20,000 runs and averaging just over 56 in his first-class career.

In 77 tests, 16 as captain, Crowe averaged over 45 with the bat including 17 centuries with a highest score of 299 in 1991. No New Zealand batsman had reached a triple century - until Brendon McCullum's innings of 302, 23 years later.

- NZ Herald

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