It's the end of an era. Earlier this week Otago Volts veteran Neil Broom announced that the 2021/22 season will be his final season in the game.
Broom made his first-class debut up the road for Canterbury in 2003 and continued to play for Canterbury until 2005 when he was approached by Otago management to make the move south.
Broom remembers his early years in Canterbury fondly, and credits former Otago coach Mike Hesson, Craig Cumming and Gareth Hopkins for turning him into an Otago Volt.
“I was just a young fella playing alongside some of my idols which was pretty special - I have very fond memories of my time in Canterbury,” said Broom.
“I was approached by Otago in 2005 and, after speaking with Hess, Sid (Craig Cumming) and Hoppy (Gareth Hopkins), I felt it was best for my future to make the move to the blue and gold of Otago."
Broom quickly made his mark as one of Otago’s premier batsmen, notching up three centuries and fourteen half-centuries in his first three seasons in Otago.
Since that time, Broom has represented the Volts over 340 times across all formats. The Volts legend is currently the team's all-time leading run-scorer in List A and T20 cricket, and second only to Cumming's own monumental stockpile of runs in first-class cricket.
Broom also represented the BLACKCAPS in all three formats, playing more than 50 international matches as well as having been a New Zealand U19 representative.
In his own words, Broom’s time with Otago was epitomised by Otago rugby teams led by the likes of Marc Ellis, Jeff Wilson, John Timu, John Leslie and Tony Brown.
“I always think about the great Otago rugby team of the late 90s. They were out there giving it a red-hot crack, playing a pure brand of rugby, and they looked like they had a bloody good time doing it,” said Broom.
“We aren’t the biggest region in terms of player pool, so we have to fight above our weight, and I always loved that about Otago,” Broom continued.
Now a father of five, he credits his parents, his partner Mel and his teammates and coaches for his success.
“My parents obviously played a massive role and that has been reinforced now that I’m a father of five and can understand what they did for me when I was growing up,”
“I want to make special mention to my wife, Mel. She has been my biggest supporter during my career, and I owe her so much for everything she has done, for not only me, but our five beautiful kids.
“During my professional career I was lucky to have guys like Gary Stead as my captain in my early years, I went through the NZC Academy with Peter Fulton and he helped guide me on the right path, then Craig Cumming was a guy I learnt a lot off in terms of batsmanship,” Broom continued.
“There are a lot of guys, to be fair. Gareth Hopkins, Warren McSkimming, Aaron Redmond, Nathan McCullum, Mike Hesson... the list goes on, but these guys all helped influence me as an Otago player and a man.”
Otago Cricket Performance Manager, Simon Forde, alluded to the quality of Broom’s character earlier this week.
“Neil has been one of the great characters of NZC Domestic cricket, the majority of which has been in Otago,” said Forde.
“It’s been a pleasure to watch him play the game to such a high level and in such a positive manner.
"Every player that has played alongside Broomy will have a story or two about him as a character on and off the field. He will be missed in the environment by all involved.”
Otago Cricket CEO Mike Coggan also spoke glowingly of Broom.
“Broomy is a wonderful human being who was blessed with and maximised his sporting talent to play for his country,” said Coggan.
“It’s great that Neil has bowed out on his terms as Otago’s greatest ever (white-ball) run-scorer. Being a family man, we now look forward to the day that any of Neil and Mel’s five kids come through the Otago system. Thanks for the memories Broomy. The Volts will dearly miss you.”
Broom will hang up his bat after the remaining Ford Trophy fixtures of the current season.
Neil Broom – Otago records
- 2nd most runs for Otago: 6,085
- 15 centuries, 3rd most for Otago
- 38 fifties, 5th most for Otag
- 2nd most catches for Otago: 69
- 2nd most appearances: 101
- Most runs for Otago: 4,157
- Most centuries for Otago: 8
- Most fifties for Otago: 34
- 2nd highest list A score for Otago: 164 v Canterbury in Timaru (2009/10)
- Most hundreds in a season: 3 x hundreds (2015/16)
- Most runs in a season for Otago: 508 runs (2015/16)
- Most appearances:120
- Most runs for Otago: 2,926
- Most fifties for Otago: 18
- 4th most runs in a season for Otago: 385
- Highest T20 score for Otago: 117 v Perth at Jaipur (2013/14 Champions League)
- One of only 5 players to score a century for Otago (with Brendon McCullum, Aaron Redmond, Hamish Rutherford, Chris Gaffaney)
- Most catches for Otago: 52
- Most catches in a season: 10 (2012/13 and again in 2019/20)
- Most appearances for Otago: 124
Neil Broom overall career
First-class (Canterbury, Otago, Derbyshire, New Zealand, New Zealand A, New Zealand XI)
149 matches, 8457 runs, high score 203 not out, average 37.42, 18 centuries, 33 half centuries, 107 catches; plus eight wickets with a best of 1-8
List A One-Day (in progress) (Canterbury, Otago, Derbyshire, New Zealand, New Zealand A)
187 matches, 6006 runs, high score 164, average 38.50, 10 centuries, 39 half centuries, 62 catches; plus 6 wickets with a best of 2-59
T20 (Canterbury, Otago, Derbyshire, New Zealand, New Zealand XI, South Island)
160 matches, 3601 runs, high score 117 not out, one century, 21 half centuries, 64 catches; plus 8 wickets with a best of 2-19
39 matches, 943 runs, high score 109 not out, one century, five half centuries, 9 catches
Two matches, 32 runs
11 matches, 73 runs, high score 36, SR 107.35, 4 catches