Canterbury and Canterbury Country legend Shanan Stewart has retired - and this time, it’s real.
Most recently sighted helping his beloved Canterbury Country lock away the Hawke Cup for the 2020 winter, when Stewart retired from Domestic cricket in April 2014, he finished as one of Canterbury’s most capped contributors.
His 244 matches at that time made him Canterbury’s second most-capped player — having first repped the side as a teenager, representing NZ Under 19 and ultimately going on to play four One-Day Internationals for the BLACKCAPS in 2010.
Stewart was just 31 when he hung up that red and black cap, but after his Canterbury retirement he continued serving and representing Canterbury Country as a player-coach or player from 2014/15, playing in seven Hawke Cup Challenge matches over his career from February 2014 until this month.
The 37-year-old's last game was Canterbury Country’s successful defence against Otago Country in Rangiora earlier this month — the side’s first defence since raiding Hamilton’s Galloway Park to prise the historic silverware away from previous Hawke Cup holders Hamilton.
In his last game, he claimed 3-24 off just 10 overs and then chipped in a modest 20 runs in his best-known discipline — in the partnership that took Canterbury Country into the all important first-innings lead that would secure the trophy.
Stewart was no stranger to lifting the Hawke Cup — he did that in his first season as player-coach, taking it off Manawatu in Palmerston North in February 2015 before defending it against North Otago for the summer.
The following summer saw history of a different sort made with the loss of the silverware to Buller.
At the end of the 2016/17 season, Stewart took a step back from coaching the senior rep team but remained on board as a senior player.
The following are excerpts from a tribute from Canterbury Country Cricket Association:
“In his last season, Stewart produced arguably his highest quality innings for the Association in the Hawke Cup victory over Hamilton.
He scored 113 in Country’s first innings — the next highest score in the match by any other batsman was 55. His knock pushed Country into a strong position from which they secured an outright win and the Hawke Cup.
Shanan finished his [Country] career with 3,321 runs at an average of 56.20, as well as 53 wickets at an average of 16.10.
Off the back of Shanan being highly regarded amongst the cricketing community, Canterbury Country was able to build a highly attractive representative programme which has included matches against Otago A, Central Districts A and Auckland A, along with the usual Hawke Cup fixtures.
This programme, as well as his quality coaching, led to several young country men becoming professional players while Shanan was coach.
Henry Nicholls, Jack Boyle, Jeremy Benton, Harry Chamberlain, Henry Shipley, Kyle Jamieson and Will Williams to name a few, all playing for Canterbury or higher.
Shanan’s attitude, work ethic and commitment to the team was second to none throughout his time with Canterbury Country. Add to this his gritty ‘no-fuss’ nature as well as his high-quality batting and bowling that made him an invaluable member of the Country set-up.”
Canterbury Country’s first defence of the Hawke Cup will be in January 2021 at Rangiora and it sounds like Stewart’s legacy will continue to be felt at Mainpower Oval for years to come.