One of the most famous redheads in world sport is seen supporting the NRL’s New Zealand Warriors in a photo taken 20 years ago. Can you tell who it is?
- Star spent her formative years in New Zealand.
- The father played rugby league in the country.
- Now he is a giant of a very popular sport.
Skipper Ben Stokes has been one of England’s heroes during the Ashes series, but 20 years ago he was just another sports-obsessed kid growing up in New Zealand, as a recently resurfaced photo shows.
Four years after being the hero in their famous one-wicket win against Australia in Leeds, Stokes shrugged off a gluteal injury to hit five sixes in an impressive 80 last week to help his team get back to the Serie.
Stokes has been in impressive form and previously reflected on how his New Zealand upbringing laid a good foundation for cricketing stardom.
Stokes was born in Christchurch, New Zealand, but moved to England with her family when she was 12 years old.
Ged Stokes, Ben’s late father, played in New Zealand rugby league and later became the manager of the Workington Town rugby league team.
Ben Stokes spent the first 12 years of his life in New Zealand, with the English captain’s father playing rugby league for the nation and then coaching.
Stokes moved to England with his family when he was 12 years old after his father got a coaching job.
‘We had 10 years in Christchurch and two in Wellington. I remember going to rugby practice with dad every night. He would kick goals all night. I loved it,” Stokes said. things.co.nz.
“We moved to Wellington, we lived a five minute walk from the beach and 10 minutes from where I played cricket and rugby. I played a lot of cricket in New Zealand and mum and dad told me that as soon as I could walk all I wanted to do was play cricket.
“Every time someone came, all they did was play cricket in the garden for hours. I remember tearing down the fence a couple of times and the Chinese family next door didn’t appreciate it too much.’
Ged Stokes was not a man to be messed with and stories of his toughness were legendary. Even Ben’s cricket opponents were watching his footsteps.
“I played club cricket as a boy against Workington, the best team in Cumbria, and they had a professional from Auckland called Simon Beare,” Stokes recalled.
He didn’t say much to the older ones, but he messed with me, the young one. I didn’t say a bean back then. But my old man was there watching.
‘When I played him again after that, he didn’t say a word to me. I think dad had a word. You can imagine why he didn’t tell me much after that.
During a tour of New Zealand in February, Stokes said he had fond memories of training in Wellington as a youngster, but don’t mistake him for a New Zealander.
Stokes is pictured with her parents, Gerard and Deborah, in the dressing room at the Oval after England won the 2018 Test series against India.
Stokes has fondly remembered his time as a child living in New Zealand.
“I’m English, just so we’re clear,” Stokes told reporters with a smile.
Stokes’s father, Ged, died aged 65 after losing a long battle with brain cancer in December 2020.
Every time Ben scores a century in cricket, he does a ‘three finger salute’ in honor of his father.
The gesture comes about when Ged injured his middle finger and was told to choose between his finger and his rugby league career. He chose soccer and had his finger amputated.