Back in the 1940s, Norwood Colts players were warned: "Don't eat a dozen bananas before a match, like Neil Dansie did." A healthy appetite was no bar to success for Hampton Neil Dansie, who was born at Nuriootpa on 2 July 1928 and raised at the mid-north hamlet of Stone Hut.
He blossomed as a sportsman at Norwood High School, showing an aptitude for cricket, football and baseball. A "heady" half-forward or utility player, he notched 39 games in four seasons under Jack Oatey and coached the Norwood seconds from 1957 to 1960, achieving premiership success in the final year. He also coached Payneham, the SA Amateur Football League and the all-Australian amateur team.
But cricket was his first love. He played for East Torrens, Todmorden in the Lancashire League and Kensington, where he debuted in 1943 at the age of 15 and was a premiership captain and the last player to bat with Don Bradman in an official match. He was captain in two of his four premierships at Kensington, retiring in 1968. He played 124 first-class matches for South Australia between 1950 and 1967, making 7,543 runs at 34.4 (top score 185) and taking 90 wickets at 33.31 (best bag 5/61).
A broken jaw, wired after a cricket accident, restricted his speaking for a while and contributed to his nickname, 'Nodder'. As a long-time player, coach, selector and board member, he was made an honorary member of the SA Cricket Association. Known as “The Patriarch of South Australian Cricket”, he was 94 when he died on 23 May 2023. Predeceased by his wife Gwenda and daughter Belinda, he was survived by children Kate, Tim and Paul.
P Robins Oct 2014, May 2023