Don Neely

Don Neely
Don Neely
Personal information
Full name Donald Owen Neely MBE
Born 21 December 1935 (1935-12-21) (age 75)
Wellington, New Zealand
Batting style Right-handed
Role Batsman
Domestic team information
Years Team
1964/65 - 1967/68 Wellington
1968/69 - 1970/71 Auckland
Career statistics
Competition All 1st Class Plunket Shield
Matches 34 31
Runs scored 1301 1180
Batting average 28.91 30.25
100s/50s 1/7 1/7
Top score 132* 132*
Balls bowled 121 115
Wickets 1 1
Bowling average 29.00 29.00
5 wickets in innings 0 0
10 wickets in match 0 0
Best bowling 1/4 1/4
Catches/stumpings 7/– 4/–
Source:, 9 April 2009

Donald Owen "Don" Neely MBE, MNZM (born 21 December 1935 in Wellington) 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.


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 Hataitai Park are now home to the Kilbirnie honours boards that record Neely's successes with the club.[4]

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.

Neely's first class career began ten days after his 29th birthday, on December 31, 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]

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 January 29, 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

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 is a Member of the Order of the British Empire (M.B.E.). He was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2011 New Year Honours, for services to cricket.[33]

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.


  • 100 Summers: The History of Wellington Cricket (1975)
  • Men in White: The History of New Zealand International Cricket, 1894-1985 (co-written with Richard King and Francis Payne) (1986)
  • The Summer Game - The illustrated history of New Zealand Cricket (written with P.W. Neely) (1994)
  • The Basin: An Illustrated History of the Basin Reserve (co-written with Joseph Romanos) (2003) ISBN 1-877257-05-2
  • Men in White: The History of New Zealand International Test Cricket (co-written with Francis Payne) (2008) ISBN 1-86971-095-9

Cricket annuals

Written and/or edited by Don 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 0-980570-20-1
  • 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


Don Neely's wife Paddianne is an archivist and has worked on many of his books.[34] 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.


  1. ^ accessed 7 April 2009
  2. ^ The Chariot, The Official Newsletter of the Rongotai Old Boys' Association, March 2008
  3. ^ New Zealand Cricket Museum Newsletter, Winter/Spring 2007
  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
  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. ^ Socrecard, 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
  27. ^ New Zealand Cricket AGM Agenda, 4 September 2008
  28. ^ NZC News: New Zealand Cricket appoints new President, Directors - 22 October.
  29. ^ NZC Annual Report 2008/09
  30. ^ Basin Reserve Trust Statement of Intent 2008/2009.
  31. ^ Cricket Wellington's history of the Basin Reserve
  32. ^ "Neely scores at the Basin". The Dominion Post. Retrieved 29 September 2011. 
  33. ^ "New Year Honours 2011". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 31 December 2010. Retrieved 31 December 2010. 
  34. ^

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