Don Neely

Last updated

Don Neely
Don Neely MNZM (cropped).jpg
Neely in 2011
Personal information
Full nameDonald Owen Neely
Born (1935-12-21) 21 December 1935 (age 83)
Wellington, New Zealand
Role Batsman
Domestic team information
1964/65 – 1967/68 Wellington
1968/69 – 1970/71 Auckland
Career statistics
Competition All 1st Class Plunket Shield
Runs scored13011180
Batting average 28.9130.25
Top score132*132*
Balls bowled121115
Wickets 11
Bowling average 29.0029.00
5 wickets in innings 00
10 wickets in match00
Best bowling1/41/4
Catches/stumpings 7/–4/–
Source:, 9 April 2009

Donald Owen Neely MNZM MBE (born 21 December 1935) is a New Zealand cricket historian, administrator and former player. He is a former President of New Zealand Cricket and has written or co-written over 30 books [1] on New Zealand cricket.

New Zealand Cricket

New Zealand Cricket, formerly the New Zealand Cricket Council, is the governing body for professional cricket in New Zealand. Cricket is the most popular and highest profile summer sport in New Zealand.


Early life

Neely was born in Wellington in 1935 and attended Rongotai College from 1947 to 1953, [2] where he played 1st XI cricket. [3] He later played in the senior grade for Wellington's Kilbirnie Cricket Club, which has since amalgamated with MSP (Midland St. Pat's) and become Eastern Suburbs Cricket Club. The Eastern Suburbs clubrooms in Kilbirnie Park are now home to the Kilbirnie honours boards that record Neely's successes with the club. [4]

Wellington Capital city of New Zealand

Wellington is the capital and second most populous urban area of New Zealand, with 418,500 residents. It is located at the south-western tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Remutaka Range. Wellington is the major population centre of the southern North Island, and is the administrative centre of the Wellington Region, which also includes the Kapiti Coast and the Wairarapa. It is the world's southernmost capital of a sovereign state. Wellington features a temperate maritime climate, and is the world's windiest city by average wind speed.

Rongotai College is a state single-sex boys' secondary school in the southeastern suburb of Rongotai, Wellington, New Zealand. Serving Years 9 to 13, the school has 622 students as of July 2015.

Kilbirnie Scottish town

Kilbirnie is a small town of 7642 inhabitants situated in the Garnock Valley area of North Ayrshire, on the west coast of Scotland. It is around 20 miles (30 km) south-west of Glasgow and approximately 10 miles (16 km) from Paisley and Irvine respectively. Historically, the town's main industries were flax production and weaving before iron and steelmaking took over in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The suburb of Kilbirnie in the New Zealand capital of Wellington is named after the town.

Playing career

Neely's first class career lasted from 1964 to 1971 and consisted of 34 matches, played in four seasons with Wellington (three as captain) and three seasons with Auckland. [5] He was a right-handed middle-order batsman, and he scored one century [6] and seven fifties in his 1301 runs. His career average was 28.91. [7] In his first year as Wellington's captain, he led the province to Plunket Shield victory.

Century (cricket) a score of 100 or more runs in a single innings by a person at bat

In the sport of cricket, a century is a score of 100 or more runs in a single innings by a batsman or batswoman. The term is also included in "century partnership" which occurs when two batters add 100 runs to the team total when they are batting together. A century is regarded as a landmark score for batters and a player's number of centuries is generally recorded in his career statistics. Scoring a century is loosely equivalent in merit to a bowler taking five wickets in an innings, and is commonly referred to as a ton or hundred. Scores of more than 200 runs are still statistically counted as a century, although these scores are referred as double, triple, and quadruple centuries, and so on.

Plunket Shield

New Zealand has had a domestic first-class cricket championship since the 1906–07 season. Since the 2009–10 season it has been known by its original name of the Plunket Shield.

Neely's first class career began ten days after his 29th birthday, on 31 December 1964, when he played for Wellington against Canterbury in Christchurch. Neely played 21 first class matches for the team (including 18 Plunket Shield matches), 16 as captain.

For the match against Canterbury, opening batsman Bruce Murray was left out of the team that had played Wellington's first game of the season. Peter Truscott moved from number six to opener to make room in the middle order for Neely. On debut, Neely scored 76 and 27. [8] He played two other Plunket Shield matches that season and finished with 139 runs at an average of 27.8. [9]

Peter Bennetts Truscott, is a former New Zealand cricketer who played one Test against Pakistan in 1965.

In his second season (1965/1966), Neely was named as Wellington's captain and led the team through an unbeaten Plunket Shield season. Wellington defeated Otago, Northern Districts and Auckland, and took first innings points from draws with Central Districts and Canterbury. These results easily made Wellington the competition winners. [10] Neely's batting was modest, with his six innings yielding 128 runs at an average of 25.6. [11] More than half of his season's runs came in his first innings of 74 [12] against Central Districts.

Neely remained captain for the next season, 1966/1967, which was less successful for Wellington. The round robin saw drawn matches against Central Districts and Otago, followed by losses to Canterbury and Auckland. Wellington's sole victory was over Northern Districts in the final round of the competition and the team finished fourth on the points table. [13] Neely batted eight times, scoring three fifties in a total of 216 runs at an average of 27.0. [14] These figures were slightly better than his return in the previous season.

Wellington were fourth again in 1967/1968, [15] despite it being Neely's best season with the bat. His season began with his first and only first-class century, 132* in the first innings against Otago. [16] With 43* in the second innings, this was easily Neely's best batting performance in terms of runs scored. As in the 1965/1966 season, though, he failed to follow a strong start to the season. The 175 runs he scored against Otago were more than half his return for the season: in ten innings he scored 317 runs at an average of 39.62. [17] After the win over Otago, Neely didn't score above 44 as Wellington lost to Central Districts, and drew with Canterbury, Auckland and Northern Districts.

His final match for Wellington began on 29 January 1968, and was against Northern Districts. For the next three seasons, Neely played for Auckland.

Auckland were Plunket Shield champions in 1968/1969. [18] In four innings over four matches, Neely averaged only 14 with a high score of 22. [19]

Neely played all five of Auckland's Plunket Shield games in 1969/1970. With a loss and four draws, Auckland finished fifth. [20] Neely's personal season was successful, however. He batted eight times, scoring 276 runs at an average of 55.2. [21] His three not outs included his best innings (and only 50) of the season, 66* against Central Districts. [22]

Neely's final season as a player was 1970/1971. Auckland's two wins, two draws, and single loss left them third in the Plunket Shield. [23] Neely played in four of those matches, missing the fixture against Central Districts, and scored only 48 runs at an average of 12.0. [24] His last first class match took place over 15–17 January 1971, and was against Canterbury, the province he'd debuted against over six years previously. Neely, now 35 years old, scored 8 and 21. [25]

Administration career

The main scoreboard at the Basin Reserve Wellington is named after Don Neely Don Neely.JPG
The main scoreboard at the Basin Reserve Wellington is named after Don Neely

Following his retirement from playing, Neely continued to serve cricket in many capacities.

In September 2006, he was appointed as the president of New Zealand Cricket at NZC's Annual General Meeting in Wellington. [26] He replaced John R. Reid, who had captained Wellington when Neely first played for that province, and who handed that captaincy to Neely when international duty pulled him away from domestic cricket. Neely served three one-year terms, [27] the maximum allowed by the rules of NZC, and was replaced by Denis Currie in 2009. [28]

Neely is a life member of NZC, has been both a trustee and chairman of the New Zealand Cricket Museum (serving until 2009), [29] former president of Cricket Wellington, and member of the Basin Reserve Trust. [30]

He spent 14 years as a New Zealand selector, including seven years as convenor of selectors.

On 11 January 2008, the Basin Reserve's new electronic scoreboard was officially opened. [31] It was named the Don Neely Scoreboard, at the insistence of its main benefactor, Sir Ron Brierley. [32]

Neely was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in the 1995 New Year Honours, [33] and a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2011 New Year Honours, for services to cricket. [34]

Historian and author

Neely is New Zealand's leading cricket historian and has written or co-written a number of books and cricket annuals. He was a main interviewee in Jeremy Coney's television series The Mantis and the Cricket , which relied heavily on old players (and Neely) to tell stories of early New Zealand cricket teams' tours overseas.


Cricket annuals

Written and/or edited by Neely:

  • DB Cricket Annual (1973), 1972/73 season
  • DB Cricket Annual (1974), 1973/74 season
  • DB Cricket Annual (1975), 1974/75 season
  • DB Cricket Annual (1976), 1975/76 season
  • DB Cricket Annual (1977), 1976/77 season ISBN   0-908570-10-4
  • DB Cricket Annual 7th Edition (1978), 1977/78 season ISBN   0-908570-23-6
  • DB Cricket Annual 8th Edition (1979), 1978/79 season ISBN   0-908570-28-7
  • DB Cricket Annual 9th Edition (1980), 1979/80 season
  • DB Cricket Annual 10th Edition (1981), 1980/81 season ISBN   0-908570-41-4
  • DB Cricket Annual 11th Edition (1982), 1981/82 season ISBN   0-908570-48-1
  • DB Cricket Annual 12th Edition (1983), 1982/83 season
  • DB Cricket Annual 13th Edition (1984), 1983/84 season
  • DB Cricket Annual 14th Edition (1985), 1984/85 season ISBN   0-908570-91-0
  • New Zealand Cricket Annual 15th Edition (1986), 1985/86 season ISBN   0-908570-08-2
  • Radio New Zealand Cricket Annual 16th Edition (1987), 1986/87 season ISBN   978-0-908570-20-1
  • Radio New Zealand Cricket Annual 17th Edition (1988), 1987/88 season
  • Radio New Zealand Cricket Annual 18th Edition (1989), 1988/89 season ISBN   1-86947-050-8
  • Radio New Zealand Cricket Annual 19th Edition (1990), 1989/90 season ISBN   1-86947-063-X
  • Radio New Zealand Cricket Annual 20th Edition (1991), 1990/91 season


Neely's wife Paddianne is an archivist and has worked on many of his books. [35] She is from a cricketing family, with her cousin Dave Crowe being the father of prominent New Zealand batsmen and captains Martin Crowe and Jeff Crowe.

See also

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  1. accessed 7 April 2009
  2. The Chariot, The Official Newsletter of the Rongotai Old Boys' Association, March 2008 [ permanent dead link ]
  3. New Zealand Cricket Museum Newsletter, Winter/Spring 2007 Archived 13 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  4. Club History section, Eastern Suburbs Cricket Club website, accessed 9 April 2009
  5. List of first class matches played by Don Neely
  6. Cricinfo profile: Don Neely [ permanent dead link ]
  7. Don Neely's career summary on
  8. Scorecard, Wellington v Canterbury, 31 December 1964 – 2 January 1965
  9. Wellington batting statistics, 1964/65 Plunket Shield
  10. Plunket Shield points table, 1965/66
  11. Wellington batting statistics, 1965/66 Plunket Shield
  12. Scorecard, Wellington v Central Districts, 30 December 1965 – 1 January 1966
  13. Plunket Shield points table, 1966/67
  14. Wellington batting statistics, 1966/67 Plunket Shield
  15. Plunket Shield points table, 1967/68
  16. Scorecard, Wellington v Otago, 23, 25, 26 December 1967
  17. Wellington batting statistics, 1967/68 Plunket Shield
  18. Plunket Shield points table, 1968/69
  19. Auckland batting statistics, 1968/69 Plunket Shield
  20. Plunket Shield points table, 1969/70
  21. Auckland batting statistics, 1969/70 Plunket Shield
  22. Scorecard, Auckland v Central Districts, 2–4 January 1970
  23. Plunket Shield points table, 1970/71
  24. Auckland batting statistics, 1970/71 Plunket Shield
  25. Scorecard, Auckland v Canterbury, 15–17 January 1971
  26. NZ Cricket press release announcing Neely's election as President Archived 22 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  27. New Zealand Cricket AGM Agenda, 4 September 2008 Archived 14 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  28. NZC News: New Zealand Cricket appoints new President, Directors – 22 October Archived 21 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine .
  29. NZC Annual Report 2008/09 Archived 22 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  30. Basin Reserve Trust Statement of Intent 2008/2009 Archived 16 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine .
  31. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Cricket Wellington's history of the Basin Reserve
  32. "Neely scores at the Basin". The Dominion Post . Retrieved 29 September 2011.
  33. London Gazette (supplement), No. 53894, 30 December 1994. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
  34. "New Year honours list 2011". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 31 December 2010. Retrieved 5 January 2018.