To all Wrens past and present and the broader cricket community, it is with great sadness that I advise you that NEITA MATTHEWS OAM passed away over the weekend.
This news it tragic. Neita Matthews had many passions in her life – particularly cricket and netball – where she brought enthusiasm, professionalism and energy to everything she did. Neita genuinely loved these two passions and was an inspiration to all that knew her.
In netball, Neita had many outstanding achievements:
In cricket, her contributions were equally prestigious. The Rydalmere Cricket Club awarded Neita Life Membership due to the significant work she undertook as a volunteer for the Club.
Neita held important positions at the Rydalmere Cricket Club mostly during the late 1960s and 1970s. Her volunteer work supported her talented son – Greg Matthews – and many other junior players to realise their cricket potential by providing a nurturing coaching environment.
The Rydalmere Cricket Club was extremely fortunate to have Neita return to our Club in the early 2000s to, once again, selflessly volunteer her skills and time to make the Club a better organisation.
Neita was our Special Guest at all our Presentation Nights and provided the most arousing speeches. Neita would call the Rydalmere President 3 months beforehand to ensure she had the correct date for the Club’s Presentation Night.
In paying tribute to Neita Matthew’s legacy, Matthew Kennedy, Rydalmere Cricket Club Life Member and 1st grade cricketer remarked: “it is with great sadness we learned of the passing of Neita Matthews OAM, a Rydalmere Cricket Life member. Neita was a proud advocate of the Rydalmere Cricket Club and shared a long history with the club, dating back to her son, Australian Test and one-day cricketer, Greg playing junior cricket for Rydalmere and sharing a close friendship with Rydalmere Cricket Club stalwart Gordon Nolan”.
Rydalmere Cricket Club’s President Matt Roberts further reflected: “Neita was one of the most amazing people I’ve met – her boundless positivity, her generosity to share her time and wisdom, and her unbridled passion to give back to the community, was second to none”.
“ I remember in early 2000s when Neita first called me out-of-the-blue, introduced herself, then said she would be attending Presentation Night! I was very pleased that Neita was attending but I knew very little about her”.
“By then end of the evening, every single player was in awe of Neita, including me. I was always amused to see new players ask me at Presentation Nights ‘who was the lady on the stage’. I simply said ‘just wait for her speech’. Neita had this unmistakeable presence that drew people towards her. Neita’s ability and desire to volunteer her time to our Club was truly outstanding. We all have a deep debt of gratitude for Neita”.
On behalf of all Rydalmere Cricket Club players, their families, supporters and friends, I extend our deepest condolences to Neita’s family and friends. We all loved and cherished Neita more than she could ever know. Our Club stands as testimony of her enormous contribution to make it a better place.