Thomas Donald Topley was born on February 25, 1964 in Canterbury, Kent and played professional cricket for Essex from 1984 to 1994. Don was a right handed batsman and scored 1693 runs during his first class career. He also took more than 350 first class wickets.
Don Topley spent fifteen years on the professional cricket circuit as a fast-medium bowler, representing Norfolk CCC, Surrey CCC, Griqualand West C U (S. Africa), and of course, Essex CCC for over 10 years during their time as one of the most successful counties ever in the history of the game.
He made his first impression on the game in 1984, while serving his apprenticeship at Lord’s as an MCC Young Cricketer. During the Lord’s Test vs West Indies, he was one minute, selling scorecards and the next England’s 12th Man, taking the most remembered and wonderful one-handed test match catch in living memory, only to be ‘told off’ by the angry fast bowler, Bob Willis.
Sharing dressing rooms with the likes of 3 England Captains (Graham Gooch, Keith Fletcher and Nasser Hussian) and other well known cricketers (Alan Border, Salim Malik, Mark Waugh, Ken McEwan, Derek Pringle, Neil Foster, John Lever, Ray East and former room-mate and current England selector, Geoff Miller), Don Topley can recount many true and funny cricketing anecdotes collected during a loyal and distinguished playing career, which saw him acquire over 600 first class and one day wickets, at an impressive first class average of 27-05.
At only 26 years old, this personable and charismatic man also became a ‘World Cup’ international coach with Zimbabwe (1990-92) and enjoyed that famous Zimbabwean victory over ‘Gooch’s England team’ in Australasia in 1992. He continued to be a thorn in English cricket’s side for the next decade, by being the first person to suggest ‘matchfixing’ was present in our beloved game. Vilified in 1994, but now vindicated after the more recent revelations and allegations, together with the publication of the 2001 ICC Lord Condon Report, Don Topley is often seen or heard commentating about the game he loves.