Richard Collinge: Following in the Footsteps of ‘Davo’

Published: 2024
Pages: 20
Author: Francis, Bill
Publisher: Cricketers In Print
Rating: 4.5 stars

With the publication of Richard Collinge: Following in the Footsteps of ‘Davo’ Bill Francis becomes the first man to contribute two titles to the Cricketers in Print imprint. In some ways it was a brave decision to do so as his first contribution, on the subject of Dick Motz, is quite outstanding and however good this one is it was never going to surpass it.

And indeed it doesn’t, but it does come very close indeed, and leaves me with the abiding hope that Francis is, as I type this review, working on his next monograph. There are so many New Zealand cricketers who would warrant the Francis treatment, and without wishing to suggest he should confine himself him to pace bowlers obvious candidates for future projects are Jack Cowie, Frank Cameron and Ewen Chatfield.

Collinge was a left arm quick, not of express pace but a canny bowler who I remember well from his visit to England in 1973. In a fifteen year Test career he took 116 wickets at just under runs thirty apiece. No mug with the bat he also scored a couple of fifties in the course of the higher of which, an unbeaten 68 at Eden Park in 1973, with Brian Hastings he added a then record 151 for the tenth wicket against Pakistan.

But why the reference to ‘Davo’? The man concerned is indeed the great Australian fast bowler Alan Davidson who, playing for a visiting Australian side against Wairarapa in 1950, took 10-29 in the home side’s first innings before blasting an unbeaten 157 as the Australians won by the huge margin of an innings and 466 – Collinge’s father was one of the umpires who stood in the match and young Richard went on to idolise ‘Davo’.

Overall the Collinge story is neither so moving nor dramatic as that of Motz, but Francis nonetheless manages to pack a great deal into his fourteen pages, and to leave his reader with the impression that they know Collinge. Once more produced in a well illustrated limited edition of just 70 copies, all signed by author and subject. Richard Collinge: Following in the Footsteps of ‘Davo’ is available from Roger Page.

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