Most people have a favourite cricketing family dynasty – there’s no shortage to choose from around the world.
From pairs of brothers, of which there are many, to three brothers like the Hadlees and Chappels of New Zealand and Australia. The more impressive are the ones which span generations, and they are inevitably far rarer. Many a son has attempted to follow in his father’s footsteps. Most fall short but some are even more successful.
Very few brothers are of similar skill – the Waugh twins, Mark and Steve, may be one of the few examples. Walter Hadlee played for New Zealand and so did his three sons, Richard, Barry and Dayle, although Richard was comfortably the greatest of the quartet. Richard’s wife, Karen, played a solitary ODI for the NZ women’s team, giving them a quintet of internationals.
Some families even span borders, never mind generations. George Headley’s grandson, Dean, played for England.
South Africa boasts a host of brothers and father-son combinations, from Dave Nourse and son Dudley to the most recent, the Morkel brothers. But there is another which many people may not be aware of, and it is one which may even span countries as well as three generations.
John Henry Richardson, currently 79 years old, was a wicketkeeper-batsman who played 22 first-class games in the 1960s for North Eastern Transvaal and Transvaal scoring 785 runs at an average of 20 with four half-centuries and a top score of 72.
His two sons, Ralph and David, also played first-class cricket although there was a considerable difference in their achievements.
Ralph, 50 now, played ten games for Western Province in the 80s as an allrounder scoring 181 runs with a highest score of 52 not out and claiming 10 wickets. David, now 54, held just about every SA test wicketkeeping record in his 42 tests before Mark Boucher claimed them all. He is now the ICC’s chief executive.
For good measure, David and Ralph’s cousin, Rory, also played a single first-class game for Northern Transvaal in 1993.
But there is a third-generation, and he is qualified to play for England. David’s son, Michael, scored his fourth first-class century for Durham in the English county championship this week and is highly regarded, despite starting his first-class career relatively late after pursuing an academic career at Nottingham University.
He, too, is a wicketkeeper although he is playing as a specialist batsman at the moment behind veteran Durham gloveman, Phil Mustard.
Cricket really does run in the blood.
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