02 March 2023

John Wayne Burtt – Obituary

Wayne Burtt died recently at the age of 79.

Wayne (affectionately known as Burtis) was from a cricketing family that is generally regarded as cricketing royalty in Canterbury sport with father (Noel), uncle (Tom), sister-in-law (Vicky), nephew (Leighton) and cousin (John Ward) all representing Canterbury or New Zealand at various times.

He was an integral member of a successful Canterbury Plunket Shield team in the late 1960s where he played as a stylish middle order batsman. He was a right-hand batsman with a bustling yet compact technique and scored prolifically off the front foot. He bowled right-arm leg spin in mostly a part-time capacity as a partnership-breaker.

At national level, he represented Canterbury at Brabin Shield (Under 20) in 1962/63 and 1963/64 and then at Rothmans (Under 23) in 1963/64 and 1964/65. He gained selection for the New Zealand Rothmans team in 1964/65.

From there, Burtis gained selection for the Plunket Shield team in 1965-66 where he remained a fixture until 1972/73 before he moved to Wanganui (and then New Plymouth) where he represented Central Districts from 1973/74 and 1974/75.

Burtis was always promising and, for a period, he threatened New Zealand selection without quite grabbing his opportunities. He made an encouraging first-class debut scoring 53 and taking 4 for 49 with his leg spin bowling in 1965/66. He consolidated his position with a stellar season in 1967/68 when he scored his first (and only) first-class century of 130 not out against Wellington. His form during this season saw Burtis rewarded with selection in a New Zealand Cricket Council President’s XI against India. He performed well with a nice double of 33 and 71. He later played for a South Island selection against the West Indies in 1968/69.

In his formative years, Burtis played for the Christchurch Boys’ High School 1st XI before playing his senior club cricket for St Albans Cricket Club where he was a formidable opponent. He continued to play at Hawke Cup level for Taranaki until 1980.