Cricket World Cup 1992 pitch invader recalls on field celebration with Martin Crowe in famous opener
It’s a moment so fondly remembered, it has its own entry in New Zealand’s online encyclopedia, Te Ara. With two balls left in the first innings of New Zealand’s triumphant 1992 Cricket World Cup opener against Australia, Martin Crowe’s cheeky single – TV footage showed non-striker Chris Cairns diving for the crease in the background – had earned the Kiwi captain his third one-day international century. Almost immediately Crowe, who died aged 53 in 2016, was surrounded as dozens of jubilant spectators ran on to the field. Vince Weir, who would later captain the New Zealand Rugby League Sevens, was among them.
We went over the fence as soon as he hit the ball, because he only needed one run.
It wasn’t my sort of thing then to do the run, but I was with my mates and Martin Crowe went to Auckland Grammar, and I’d been a boarder at Grammar, so one of the guys said, “Come on mate, he’s a legend and he’s one of your Grammar boys, so you better go over and say hello”.
So when he did hit that final one, I was over the fence and gone.
We were on the eastern terraces and they had some security there, on the fence, but we’re talking two or three guys and, while they might’ve grabbed the first person, nuh, there was no point.
I don’t remember exactly what was going through my mind. Probably, I was a bit scared of getting caught, but to be fair I’d also had an afternoon in the sun drinking beers, so I probably felt 10-feet tall and bulletproof.
Because I was pretty quick I was miles ahead of everyone, so I knew I was going to be the first to get there.
I suppose what I was worried about was his turning around and hitting me with the cricket bat and telling me I was a naughty boy.
One thing I remember is he wasn’t on the crease when we caught up with him. He was smart enough to make sure we weren’t damaging the wicket.
It was just great to touch him, and to say to him, “Well done”.
He said, “Thanks, boys” or something like that, and “Can you bugger off now?”.
He certainly wasn’t angry.
But there was an element of, “I’ve got to get on with this. The job’s not done”.
He was a true professional, he didn’t jump up and down as if he’d just won everything.
This was the first game of the world cup, so his mind was already on the next seven or eight games, and s***, what a world cup he had.
It was obviously a beautiful day and we’d had a fantastic day in the terraces.
On our boundary, we had [Australian batsman] David Boon and he was a bit of a legend, Boony, for drinking, so we were giving him so much s*** all day.
As we ran back, he applauded us.
That game, it’d be one of the best games I’ve been to.
It’s one of those iconic things that’s happened in New Zealand so you couldn’t think of a better start to a cricket world cup than Martin Crowe, who was the world’s best player at the time, getting a hundred.
It’s a fond memory, that whole summer.
I was at uni so had come up from the Waikato, pinching my dad’s van, putting a mattress in the back and me and the girlfriend, who became my wife, and a couple of mates all bunked in there.
We slept at the Domain the night before, with a view to getting to the ground really early.
We wanted to get a good seat right on the boundary, which was part of the reason I was able to jump over the fence at the spur of the moment.
The picture was in the Herald the next day, I think.
I’m not sure my parents were overly thrilled.
Thankfully, this was before mobile phones or social media. Someone would’ve cut it out later on and said, “What are you doing, you clown?”.
I do have my scrapbook at home and it’s in there. My kids know about it.
To be in that photo, I think it’s fantastic. I have no regrets.
I know there’ll be certain cricket purists who wouldn’t like people running on to the pitch, and I tend to agree with them, but at that particular moment in time, it was an amazing experience.
• As told to Cherie Howie
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