ZB

Tributes flow after death of New Zealand cricket great Don Neely

Author
NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Fri, 17 Jun 2022, 10:22am
Don Neely at the Basin Reserve in 2009. Photo / Photosport
Don Neely at the Basin Reserve in 2009. Photo / Photosport

Tributes flow after death of New Zealand cricket great Don Neely

Author
NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Fri, 17 Jun 2022, 10:22am

Former Black Caps selector and New Zealand Cricket (NZC) president Don Neely has passed away, aged 86, prompting an outpouring of tributes from the cricket world.

Neely was a notable cricket historian and author, a life member of NZC, a trustee of the New Zealand Cricket Museum and former president of NZC and Cricket Wellington.

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

Martin Crowe (L) with Don Neely (R) in 1989. Photo / Photosport

Martin Crowe (L) with Don Neely (R) in 1989. Photo / Photosport

A right-handed batsman, he played for Wellington between 1964 and 1968 and captained the side from 1965 to 1968, before playing for Auckland from 1968 to 1971.

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

In 2008, the Basin Reserve unveiled a new electronic scoreboard which was officially named the Don Neely Scoreboard.

The Don Neely Scoreboard at the Basin Reserve. Photo / Photosport

The Don Neely Scoreboard at the Basin Reserve. Photo / Photosport

Cricket Wellington was quick to pay tribute to Neely who spent a considerable period of his life promoting and working for cricket in the region.

"Don dedicated his life to cricket as a player, administrator and historian, and the Basin Reserve scoreboard is named after Don in his honour. Our thoughts are with his wife Padianne, his family and friends," the organisation wrote on social media.

Don Neely with his wife Patti in 2009. Photo / Photosport

Don Neely with his wife Patti in 2009. Photo / Photosport

Former director of the New Zealand Cricket Museum, Jamie Bell, said Neely was a constant presence during his time there and his contributions to the museum were unrivalled.

"Don was one of the few people with the influence to help the Museum who actually did so. I've often joked the Museum's collection is about 80% marked with small round stickers bearing the name 'Neely'," Bell wrote on Twitter.

"I'm grateful he wrote so many books, shared so much of his knowledge, and did things others weren't, like photographing women's cricket in the 1970s."

Veteran sports journalists also lauded Neely's contributions to cricket during his life, with Newstalk ZB's Jason Pine saying he played a crucial role in fuelling his passion for the sport as a youngster.

"Growing up, I poured over every page of the DB Cricket annuals and later Men in White," Pine wrote on Twitter.

"I was lucky enough to meet Don and work alongside him on the Wellington Sports Legends panel. A wonderful man."