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Eric Tindill – The man who played and officiated in both Cricket and Rugby

Eric Tindill is the only player to play Test matches in both Cricket and Rugby for New Zealand.

Eric Tindill
Eric Tindill, who at 95 is the oldest living Test Cricketer. (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images)

There are players who played two different sports, they are players who became officials after playing career in the game but Eric Tindill of New Zealand played two different sports and ended up officiating in both the sports. Tindill who was born on 18th December 1910 is one of the five New Zealand players to represent New Zealand at the International level in both Cricket and Rugby but remains as the only player to play Test matches in both the sports for his nation.

Tindill’s maiden appearance at International stage came when he made his debut for the New Zealand Rugby team in a Test match against England in London’s Twickenham on January 4, 1936. He played the game as a Forward Hooker in which his side lost and that game turned out to be his last Test as well. On 26th June in 1937, Tindill made his Test debut as wicket keeper for New Zealand in a Test match at the Lord’s, few miles away from Twickenham in London.

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In his Test career of five matches that spread across a decade, Tindill aggregated 73 runs with the best score of 37* and bagged six catches and a stumping. The Kiwi player later turned up as a referee during British and Irish Lions’ tour of New Zealand in 1950. He officiated in the first two Test matches of the tour played in Dunedin and Christchurch. Tindill officiated as an on-field umpire in the 1959 Test match between New Zealand and England in Christchurch, the only International he ever officiated in cricket. Later in 2009, Tindill created history by becoming the then oldest Test cricketer when he celebrated his 99th birthday.

Eric Tindill
Former New Zealand All Black Eric Tindill blows out candles with his daughter Molly Tindill as he celebrates his 99th birthday. (Photo by Mike Heydon/Getty Images)

He went past England’s Francis MacKinnon who passed away at the age of 98 years and 324 days. On 1st August 2010, Tindill also passed away, unfortunately, a few of months before his 100th birthday and is the 2nd oldest Test cricketer as on today behind South Africa’s Norman Gordon, who is the only Test cricketer to survive 100 years. In rugby terms, Eric Tindill is the oldest lived Test player of New Zealand and could have been one of the six players who survived 100 years.

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