Peter Argent, Yorke Peninsula Country Times
Klynton Kitto has recorded numerous sporting highlights throughout his lifetime, perhaps the most notable is taking 10/36 in a single innings playing for YP in the 1960 SA Cricket Association Country Carnival.
And this wasn’t the first time he’d claimed 10 wickets in an innings, first performing the feat in 1958 for Arthurton, helping bundle Urania out for just 60 runs with his 10/17 from 6.2 overs, including a maiden.
Tall, lean and nimble, the 198cm northern Yorke Peninsula identity also stood out as a sprinter and footballer in his younger days.
His father, Arthurton farmer Percy Kitto, was an accomplished athlete who won his share of foot races between World Wars I and II, and Percy’s father, Robert Kent Kitto Junior, ran at the Stawell Easter Carnival in 1904.
Klynton Kitto attended Prince Alfred College where he was captain of the athletics team, a First XI cricketer and a First XVIII footballer.
In the summer of 1955-56, he played in a SACA District B grade premiership; his season stats were 54 wickets at an average of 11.03 runs, including 6/41 in the grand final win against University.
Finishing his secondary schooling, he came home to the family farm near Arthurton and played tennis for two seasons before returning to cricket.
Kitto shone as a fast bowler for YP at Country Championships in the early 1960s.
In February 1960, he took an outstanding 10/36 from 19.1 overs against Eyre Peninsula; this is thought to be the first and only time this feat has been achieved in the carnival’s nearly 100-year history.
Chasing 132, YP won by five wickets.
He took 7/12 against Lower North and equal top-scored with 17; YP made 74 and still won by 39 runs.
As could be expected, Kitto was selected in the team of the championships which played a SACA XI; he took two of the four wickets to fall.
In the opening three rounds of the 1961-62 country champs, he scored six and seven-wicket hauls.
“In the 1963 representative game … when the final wicket had fallen (the scoreboard) showed we’d beaten the SACA team by one run, 140 to 139,” Kitto said.
“However, we were told the scoreboard was wrong, and the scorers somehow found two runs for the home team.”
YP won the Harry Meyer Cup as the leading side in the SACA Country Championships of 1963, just its fourth win in the competition’s history.
Kitto was a key component, taking 6/69 in the opening round against EP. He claimed 5/74 in a loss to Upper North, following that up with 7/35 in a low-scoring win over South East.
His first game for SA Country was against the West Indies at Berri in the summer of 1960-61.
Opening the bowling, he collected 1/7 and, batting 10th, made 19 to be SA’s second highest run scorer in the first innings.
He also played for SA Country against South Africa at Whyalla in 1963-64.
“I played for Weetulta, Arthurton and Price Cricket Clubs,” Kitto said.
“Perhaps my best performance in a local game was a score of 180 with the bat and ‘seven for’ with the ball against Port Victoria.”
Fleet of foot, Kitto finished third in the 1965 120-yard Stawell Gift, behind winner Bill Cox from Brighton, Victoria.
“That result was the biggest disappointment of my life,” Kitto said.
“On Saturday I ran the fastest heat time, off a marker of seven yards.
“I didn’t like running in the cold and we endured a very wintry Sunday night with plenty of rain.
“On the Monday, I was wearing a couple of track suits in the warmups, and we ran in eight-degree temperatures.”
Throughout his running career, Kitto competed in various races, all sprints, including 24 Stawell Gifts and won the 1965 Bendigo Gift, another high-profile sprint race.
As a teenager, he represented SA at the 1957-58 Australian Track and Field Championships in Brisbane, running in the 100 and 220-yard sprints.
He won NYP’s 120 metre Cousin Jack Gift, which was a fixture on SA’s calendar for many years.
He had his final win in his mid-40s, a 70m sprint at a masters’ event in Broken Hill in 1983.
An outstanding footballer, Kitto played in Arthurton Football Club’s 1955 Yorke Valley Football League A grade premiership.
“I was 17 at the time,” he said.
“I rucked all day, and I reckon I finished with seven goals as well.”
Kitto’s first taste of SANFL was with Norwood in a post-season game against Port Adelaide in 1956.
“I received a phone call from Jack Oatey asking me to come down and play,” he said.
“I signed with Norwood without ever training at the club.
“The match was Norwood Oval and I played at centre half forward.
“Norm Walker was my minder in that game, and he said to me I was too far when I was setting up for my first shot.
“Before I kicked my second goal, he just said, you know what you’re doing.
“I came back in 1961 under Alan Killigrew and played a handful of games, debuting against Port Adelaide at Alberton Oval.”
Kitto was the Yorke Valley Football League Mail Medallist in 1958 and was made a substantial offer by Essendon at age 21.
He went on to captain/coach Arthurton and play in successful Croser Cup representative games for the YVFL.
After retiring from playing at 28, Kitto umpired for 22 YVFL seasons, including being the umpires’ coach for seven.
This article appeared in Yorke Peninsula Country Times, 19 December 2023.