Sir Jack Newman

I’m uploading all the obits from the Almanack, and came across this…my great-great cousin (or uncle, can’t remember, never met him).

THE SENIOR Test cricketer since Bob Wyatt’s passing last year, Sir Jack Newman died on Sept 23, aged 94. He was the first New Zealander to reach the top rank direct from country cricket, in his case Nelson on South Island. Until the formation of Central Districts in 1950-51, players from minor associations outside NZ’s four main cities had to pray for fair treatment from city selectors, but were often ignored.

Canterbury gave Newman, a left-arm medium-pacer, one match in Feb 1923, but he did not play any more first-class cricket for eight seasons, until chosen by Wellington. According to a contemporary, Newman was past his best by the time he made the Test team. He was picked, in 1931-32, a week after taking 10 for 96 in the match against Otago. On debut, he had 2 for 76 (amid a bad fielding display) against South Africa. Next season he went wicketless and was hit for three successive sixes at Auckland by Wally Hammond, en route to his Test-record 336 not out. His three Tests brought him 2 for 254 and 33 runs at 8.25.

A Test selector from 1958 to 1963, Newman was president of the NZ Cricket Council from 1964 to 1967. His striking trophy – kauri stumps and greenstone ball – goes to the junior administrator of the year.

Newman joined a small family firm and was managing director by 1930. Its airline division became Air New Zealand’s main domestic rival, and eventually turned into Ansett NZ.

Knighted in 1970, Sir Jack Newman leaves four daughters from his marriage to Myrtle. The senior Test cricketer is now Lionel Birkett (born April 14, 1904), who was vice-captain of the first West Indian team to tour Australia.