Gerald De Castro is nothing if not loyal.
These days you'll find him with his dog, fishing from the shores of Waitarere Beach, having retired from his job at a sports shop in Levin earlier this year - the very same job he had since leaving school in 1963.
That's loyalty for you. De Castro has only ever had the one job. He worked there as shop manager for 58 years. It changed owners and locations a couple of times, but there was always one constant that customers could count on for the best sport and fishing advice.
It was only when the first wave of Covid-19 hit New Zealand in late March and New Zealand went into lockdown that he made a decision to retire.
"It was the perfect excuse," he said.
But his loyalty doesn't end there.
As his beloved Weraroa Cricket Club prepares to stage its centenary early next year, it's a chance to delve into the club's history, tell stories and look back on some fine players who had turned out for the club.
The name De Castro stands out like a beacon in every club statistic, from the 364 turns at bat to the 3542 overs he bowled.
The stories will tell you he was a very quick opening bowler in his early days and always came to the crease in the middle order. He found a home at first slip too, and took 190 catches for Weraroa over the years.
De Castro's career-high score of 149 comes with a story. He was at the crease and nearing the century mark when his wife Colleen went into labour with their first child.
"Ring your mother - he's still batting," was the call.
He also played more than 150 representative matches for Horowhenua-Kāpiti. It was where he picked up the nickname Blossom, handed down by a teammate who marvelled at his generous sideburns, such was the fashion of the 70s and 80s.
De Castro said he inherited a love for the game from his father Kevin De Castro, a representative cricket player in Taranaki who was also considered for selection for the All Blacks before the outbreak of World War II.
Kevin De Castro did manage to play some cricket abroad during the war before he was shot. The bullet lodged in his lung, effectively ending his sporting career.
But after the war, he became a well-known administrator in rugby and cricket in the Horowhenua region, particularly with the Weraroa club.
Interestingly, De Castro's maternal grandfather George France also had a lot to do with the early establishment of the Weraroa Club 100 years ago, on property to the south of Levin owned by the Broughton family.
So there was never any question of Gerald playing for any other club. He played every season for Weraroa after leaving Horowhenua College as a 15-year-old, having captained the school First XI.
When he made a decision to retire from all cricket in his late 40s he had played senior cricket for more than 30 years, and his career tally of 6524 runs put him second on the all-time Weraroa list, headed by Trevor Chamber with 7309 runs.
De Castro batted 364 times compared with Chambers' 280. However, the record for the most innings for Weraroa belonged to the late Bruce Martin, who donned his whites an incredible 573 times.
But statistics don't always tell the full story.
Off the pitch, De Castro made just as big an impression. He had always been involved at committee level and was often the first at the Weraroa Domain to open the doors, and the last one to leave after cleaning up.
Up until last year he was president. Another former Weraroa club president, Peter Davies, said De Castro was always the one making sure the gear bags were stocked up each week, too. It was helpful he worked at a sports store.
De Castro was involved with the Athletic Rugby Football Club, where he was president for a time, and he followed in his father's footsteps at the headquarters of the Horowhenua-Kāpiti Rugby Union, where he was the current president. He also did time as a referee.
- Weraroa Cricket Club will celebrate their centenary during Waitangi weekend next year, from February 5-8.
Gerald De Castro: A club cricket career with Weraroa in statistics:
91 not outs
6524 total runs
149 highest score
Feilding - first slip: