A debut to remember - the opposition bowled out before lunch | PHOTOSPORT

First-class debut was a tough act to follow

The past season marked the end of a journey for Wellington’s loyal paceman, Ollie Newton.

The 35-year-old put away his bowling boots in February after his team’s Ford Trophy campaign, playing his last match in Queenstown against the Otago Volts.

It was a fitting finale, bringing him full circle to the Association from which he had sprung as a wiry Otago U17 and Otago U19 stripling, before eventually making his top level Domestic breakthrough with Wellington.

On first-class debut in 2017 | PHOTOSPORT

Across the three men’s formats, Newton retired with 163 wickets: 60 first-class wickets, 64 Ford Trophy wickets and 39 in the Dream11 Super Smash, as well as a one-day wicket for New Zealand A against India A in 2020, from more than 100 appearances.

But his first-class debut would prove pretty hard to top.

Opening the bowling with Hamish Bennett at the Basin against the Auckland Aces at the beginning of the 2017/18 season, Newton got a memorable start with a haul of 4/26 off eight overs in his first innings.

He was helping his side to roll the Aucklanders for just 62 — all out by lunchtime on the first day.


Then Newton got to put his feet up and watch Michael Papps score an unbeaten 316*, assisted by fellow opener Luke Woodcock’s 151 in a record opening stand, just to prove there were no terrors in the pitch.

The Firebirds were well on their way to a famous innings victory, with Newton adding another wicket to his column in the second innings.

That 4/26 would remain Newton’s first-class career best, however, even after six seasons of Plunket Shield cricket.

He played his last match in the format in the 2022/23 summer, his latter career becoming dappled with frustrating injuries.

He never got the five-for he likely deserved in the format, but reached fifty twice with the bat as a respected lower order fighter, with a best of 70.


His best figures came in the white-ball formats.

Three five-wicket hauls for the Firebirds in The Ford Trophy, including a best of 6/33 against the Central Stags at Fitzherbert Park in 2022/23.

He took a T20 bag, too, with 5/45 in the 2019/20 Super Smash, also against the Stags, this time at Pukekura Park.

Newton had debuted in the shortest format for Wellington long before his first-class and List A debuts, back in December 2015.


Newton said it had been an honour to be able to play for Wellington for so long.

“The team has accomplished a lot in my time here, but more importantly, it’s been done with a great bunch of people, which I’m immensely proud of,” he said as he got ready for one last match.

“We are so lucky in Wellington to have such a great support network and a culture that will stand the test of time. I don’t know what comes next for the Firebirds, but I can only see successes in the future.”

They went on to win the Plunket Shield a month later.

Cricket Wellington’s Director of Cricket, Bruce Edgar, said Newton had been an invaluable presence to the team, as a player and as a person.

“The Firebirds have been lucky to have a person of Ollie’s calibre for such a long time. A true professional on the field, and a great mate off the field.

“Cricket Wellington and the Firebirds will miss Ollie’s outstanding commitment towards both training and playing.”

A commercial law and accounting graduate, Newton’s successful business career now takes him into life after cricket.






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