The New Zealand Cricket Museum extend their condolences to the family and friends of WHITE FERN #90, Delwyn Costello, who passed away on 4 August 2018.

Delwyn Costello – Delly to her many friends – played cricket for the Canterbury team during their great era of domination in the 1980s. She was first selected for the Canterbury Hallyburton Johnstone Shield team in the 1980-81 season and became well-known for her accurate and economical right arm medium-slow bowling.

Born in the capital, Delwyn went to secondary school student at Wellington East Girls’ College where she played cricket and was instrumental in encouraging other students to take up the sport. She played club cricket for Wellington Collegians CC (formerly College Old Girls) and then for Riccarton CC once she moved to Christchurch.

In her first season for Canterbury, playing Otago, she claimed the remarkable figures of 4 for 4, with three wickets bowled and the fourth out LBW to provide evidence of her accuracy. Her performances in her debut Hallyburton Johnstone Shield competition saw her gain selection for the New Zealand Under  23 team that toured Australia that same season. The following summer, Delwyn was selected for a New Zealand Under 26 team that played matches against the New Zealand and England teams as part of preparation for those teams in the 1982 Women’s World Cup.

In provincial cricket, Delwyn’s miserly figures would become a staple of Canterbury scorecards as she rarely went for even two runs an over. Playing CD in 1984, she bowled 32 overs in the match with just 24 runs conceded as she picked up four wickets.

As a member of the Canterbury team, Delwyn was happy not to be a headline act. On the field, she was generally found to be bowling to miserly effect or in the slips, keeping the rest of the slip cordon entertained with her wicked sense of humour. At one tournament, she would place some Trivial Pursuit cards in her pocket to test the rest of the team on their general knowledge.

Often not called on to bat, due the strength of the Canterbury batting order, Delwyn became so frustrated that she stopped bring her bad and pads to tournaments. This proved very entertaining one memorable day as she finally looked like she would be needed at the crease and had to scramble to borrow the required equipment.

In 1985, her provincial performances were rewarded with a spot on the New Zealand tour of Australia and India. She made her debut in the inaugural Shell Rosebowl match at Melbourne. True to form, she bowled seven overs for just six runs in a New Zealand loss. The next day, she celebrated a famous trans-Tasman win with her teammates.

The diary of the tour details a rest day in Melbourne where the team took to the greens of the Ocean Grove Bowls Club. In spite of her reputation with cricket ball in hand, Delwyn was not so accurate when dealing with the bias of the lawn bowl. The entry in the diary notes,

Some of the team were proficient at getting the curve just right […] others were bloody hopeless like Delwyn whose bowls usually ended up about 23 feet from the kitty.

Following the Australian leg of the tour, the team left for India where Delwyn would make her Test debut in a draw at Ahmedabad. She would claim two wickets on debut and feature in the majority of ODIs on the tour. Sadly, this was the last time that Delwyn was selected for New Zealand and she retired from representative cricket the following season.

Delwyn worked in Customs at Christchurch Airport and later became a postie, particularly enjoying working outside and the fitness that the job gave her.

‘Delly’ left an impression on all those who interacted with her. Friends and teammates remember her as a role model and an inspiration and the thoughts of all at the New Zealand Cricket Museum are with them. 

Delwyn Anne Costello
Born Wellington, 14 January 1960
Died Christchurch, 4 August 2018

WHITE FERNS’ Representative #90

New Zealand: 1 Test, 7 ODIs

Photo: 1985 New Zealand women’s team to Australia and India, NZ Cricket Museum, Trish McKelvey Collection. More details here.

Our thanks to Penny Kinsella for her assistance in remembering Delwyn and her contribution to cricket.