It is with sadness that we note the passing of one of our club greats, a member of the True Blues Hall of Fame, and wicket keeper in the 1954/55 Premiership team.
Neil Smyth had a long career at Prahran spanning 10 seasons between 1951/52 and 1960/61. As a left-hand batsman and wicket keeper Neil played in an era where the True Blues were a force to be reckoned with. He accumulated 1162 runs as a lower order batsman but it will be for his keeping that Neil will be remembered for.
Team mates included former 'Invincible' Sam Loxton and fellow Hall of Famers Val Holten, Colin Hyland, Don Mathieson, Ivan Porter, Don Townsend, Bruce Murray, John Power, Bruce Bedwell and John Malligan.
Neil would have been disappointed with his duck in the 1954/55 Premiership Final against Hawthorn-East Melbourne, a match in which Sam Loxton dominated with 7/115 with the ball and 129 with the bat.
For some considerable time Neil held the club record for most keeping dismissals, finishing his career on 229, comprising 188 catches and 41 stumpings. He is still third on the all-time list behind Kyle Malligan (291) and Sam Coates (343).
Prior to joining Prahran Neil played four seasons with Melbourne from 1947/48 to 1950/51 where he accumulated another 44 dismissals.
Neil also represented Victoria, playing three matches between 1951/52 and 1953/54 where he picked up 95 runs and 6 dismissals. He played a number of Victoria 2XI matches in the years following his First Class appearances.
Neil loved his cricket and could still be seen at True Blues matches as recently as February this year when he watched a fascinating draw at the Albert Ground between his two forms clubs.
Vale Neil, a true True Blue, we wish you well.
1951/52 - 1960/61
1947/48 - 1950/51
Neil (on right) is pictured at Toorak Park with fellow keepers Kyle Malligan (left) and Sam Coates on the occasion of Sam passing the 300 dismissal mark for Prahran.