Alan Burgess, New Zealand first-class cricketer and World War II veteran, dies aged 100

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He played 14 first-class games between 1940-41 and 1951-52, scoring 466 runs and picking up 16 wickets

Alan Burgess, the world’s oldest first-class cricketer, has died “overnight in his sleep” aged 100 years and 250 days at Charles Upham Retirement Village in Rangiora, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) announced on Wednesday.

Born May 1, 1920 in Christchurch, Burgess was a right-hand batsman and left-arm spinner, and played 11 first-class matches for Canterbury between 1940-41 and 1951-52 out of 14 first-class games overall. He also turned out for New Zealand Services in England in 1945 at the end of World War II, in which, according to a report in New Zealand Herald, Burgess was a tank driver. The report also noted that Burgess’ father was a World War I veteran and a cricket umpire.

Burgess’ cricket career started on Christmas Day in 1940, and he took 6 for 52 and 3 for 51 in that match against Otago. Overall, he put up 466 first-class runs at an average of 22.19 and picked up 16 wickets at an average of 30.68.

NZC quoted Burgess’ daughter Pip as saying that “her father had been in good form up to the end” and that he had spent much of Tuesday watching the New Zealand vs Pakistan Test in Christchurch on TV and “had seen Kane Williamson bring up his double century”.

In August 2017, Burgess became New Zealand’s oldest living first-class cricketer following the death of Tom Pritchard, and Burgess’ demise now makes India’s Raghunath Chandorkar, who turned 100 on November 21 last year, the oldest living first-class cricketer in the world.

NZC also noted that Otago player Iain Gallaway, now 98, is now the country’s oldest first-class cricketer.

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