That fringe of Hagley Park was a focus for long-retired firstclass gamers and much from family names final week, the place Canterbury defended their title.
“Sure, you’re near the hospital, in order that’s one factor,” Stuthridge laughed, earlier than taking up a critical tone.
The self-confessed one-eyed Cantabrian misplaced, by strategy of elimination, a variety train and needed to end up for a depleted and well-beaten Auckland, when the South Island performed a division two match final Monday.
“I drew the brief straw. Auckland had a few injured gamers and one among them needed to return residence for a household bereavement so that they had been a participant down,” the 71-year-old defined.
“Within the spirit of cricket we tossed a number of cash round and I used to be unfortunate sufficient to should placed on the Auckland jersey. By no means in my wildest desires did I ever suppose that may occur.”
Stuthridge ran himself out, although it was removed from deliberate.
“It was solely as a result of I’ve acquired a calf drawback. There’s been a number of accidents, as you’ll be able to think about,” he mentioned.
As a member of the strolling wounded, Stuthridge was relieved to be umpiring on the tail finish of the event, which ended on Thursday.
Canterbury, unbeaten for the reason that event was first held in 2017, defended their crown on Thursday. The hosts included former firstclass spinner Andrew Nuttall, whereas rugby stalwart and cricket consultant Brian Cederwall turned out for Wellington.
There was no last in division one, however division two – for gamers aged over 67 – did have a decider the place the South Island aspect comprising Canterbury and Otago beat Northern Districts.
Whereas comfortable tissue accidents are commonplace, luckily there had been no critical medical points for a event the place a defibrillator is an element and parcel of the primary support package.
Stuthridge had a coronary heart assault 15 months in the past so he takes the required precautions.
“I’ve simply to take capsules for the remainder of my life and I’ve a twig factor. If something did occur I’d get somebody to spray below my tongue.”
Stuthridge, who racked up 500 video games as an umpire in Christchurch membership and 1st XI colleges cricket final yr, was among the many skilled members of the officiating crew alongside former take a look at umpire Evan Watkin.
And whereas the aggressive juices nonetheless flowed throughout the 40-overs-a-side video games, fielding was understandably now not a fluid movement.
“Most groups nonetheless have fairly good batsmen however the operating between and wickets and the fielding are the primary handicaps,” Stuthridge mentioned.
“You don’t get individuals diving round within the subject. You get them extra falling over attempting to get the ball.”
In any other case the standard on show may be an eye-opener.
“There’s nonetheless some darn good cricketers round with good hand/eye co-ordination,” Stuthridge mentioned.
“You’d be amazed how good a few of them nonetheless are. John Cushen (a 70-year-old former Otago consultant), he trains for this.”
Stuthridge mentioned superior age-group cricket was gaining popularity in New Zealand as veterans roll again the years.
“New Zealand has an over-50s aspect that went to South Africa at the beginning of Covid for a World Cup. They solely performed a few video games and needed to come residence once more,” he mentioned.
“In Australia over-70s may be very sturdy, we’re solely within the infancy levels of over-70s cricket right here. I suppose at that age it’s powerful getting sufficient individuals to face up and maintain maintain of a bat.”