Debbie Hockley – One of New Zealands Greatest Cricketers

World Champion
A champion on and off the field.

Trying to sum up Deborah Hockley, or Debbie as she’s known to most, her cricket career let alone her life really needs a book written to do it justice, a career which began like so many youngsters on her back yard in Christchurch hitting cricket balls and bowling with a neighbour and subsequently falling in love with the game.
She is one of the greatest women cricketers of all time, played in an incredible five World Cups including three finals, Played over 20 years for the White Ferns and bowed out in the best possible style, being part of the only New Zealand women or men’s team to win a World Cup final, an epic contest back in 2000.
 
This was a brilliant nail-biting victory over a star studded Australian team in the final played at Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Lincoln near Christchurch where the Kiwis got home in the last over by just four runs defending a modest total of 184.
 
She played 19 tests averaging 52.04 including four centuries. She played 118 one-day internationals, scoring 4066 runs averaging 41.91 and in all World Cup matches her average was a very impressive 51.05 and she took 54 wickets over-all bowling medium-pace.
 
She was the first women cricketer to make 4000 runs and the first to play 100 one-day internationals and her 1501 runs in World Cup matches is the most by any player.
Run Machine - What a player, what a record
Her first-class career began in her home city of Christchurch for Canterbury and she played for North Shore as well, her career going from 1977-2000.
 
Debbie was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to cricket in 1999 and in the 2021 New Years honours list she was promoted to Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. In 2013 she was inducted to the ICC (International Cricket Council) Hall of Fame.
 
Such is the esteem held for this gracious champion of the game, she is currently President of New Zealand Cricket and during the recent women’s World Cup in New Zealand was part of the expert TV commentary team.
She is thrilled with how successful the recent women’s World Cup was in New Zealand where it showcased some amazing talent from around the world and really put the sport out there in an extremely positive way and so many close finishes.
 
She is very excited about women’s cricket being included in the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England from July 28-August 8 which she’s confident will promote the game even more throughout the world.
Whilst disappointed the White Ferns failed to make the recent World Cup on home soil, Debbie marvelled at the talent in the sides, especially the World champions Australia who have taken the game to a new level.
 
Life certainly has thrown couple of major curve balls Debbie’s way. She has survived both endometrial cancer and not long after going into remission with that she was diagnosed with breast cancer. By her own admission only her vigilance in getting regular check ups picked both cancers up early otherwise in her words, “I would have been a gonner”.
 
Debbie talks openly in our interview for this story about those battles stressing how important it is for women to make sure they are vigilant and do get their regular check ups. The same of course applies to men.
I was lucky enough back in the late 1970s-80s to play for the same club as Debbie, Lancaster Park and watch her career develop and blossom and enjoy and beer and a chat with her at the club rooms on a Saturday night.
We all knew how talented she was then and what a cool humble person she was and it’s just wonderful she fulfilled that potential and then some.
 
Listen to my interview with Debbie Hockley, a wonderful lady, an absolute champion, as she reminisces about her amazing playing career and her health battles.

Interview & Story by John Alexander | Supporting Images sourced by Absolutely Famous.

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