Jack Newman and his career

I’m not sure if he was my Great uncle or my Great-great Uncle. Either way, Jack Newman was married to my Grandpa’s sister. We’d known he had played for New Zealand, where my Dad’s family come from, and my Grandpa knew him pretty well. However, not much was known about his career as a cricketer. Enter Lynn McConnell who my boss put me in contact with. Lynn’s a New Zealand cricket expert, writer and author and has helped piece together the bits I didn’t know. Here’s what he says:

I have enclosed a copy of Jack Newman’s entry from my
Encyclopedia of NZ Cricket, Published 1993.

Newman, Jack,
b 3 July 1902, Brightwater.

New Zealand 1931/32-1932-33; Canterbury 1922/23; Wellington

Left-arm medium pace bowler, right-hand batsman.

The longer Jack Newman played the better he became. His
finest results were achieved in the latter stages of his
career, and it was this phase that brought him Test
selection. Because of his Nelson base, he had a harder task
than his teammates to force his way into first-class
cricket. When Nelson came under the aegis of Wellington,
Newman travelled to the capital each weekend to play club
cricket. In Nelson, his reputation developed during the
course of a Hawke Cup career [New Zealand's second-class
competition] that covered 24 years and saw him take 97
wickets at 13.89.

It was unfortunate that his first Test appearance, against
South Africa at Lancaster Park in 1932, coincided with an
innings defeat. He secured his two Test wickets in the game.
When recalled to the Test side in the following season it
was against an England team revelling in the bodyline,
Ashes-winning tour of Australia. In both Tests England
scored in excess of 500 runs and Newman was but one of
several bowlers put through the mill. He had won his place
back in the Test side by exploiting a wet wicket at
Carisbrook to take 10 wickets for Wellington.

From 1958 to 1963 he served as a New Zealand selector,
mainly in liaison with Gordon Leggat and John Reid, in what
was the first productive era of the New Zealand game. And
from 1964 to ’67 he was president of the New Zealand Cricket

What wasn’t in the Encyclopedia was his Hawke Cup record
over the years from 1922-46 in which he played 20 games and
took 97 wickets at 13.89 which placed him sixth on the
all-time list in Hawke Cup play.

(Just remembered that I came across his obit in December too)

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.