Totteridge Millhillians are delighted to confirm the re-signing of Kiwi star William O’Donnell for their 2024 Hertfordshire League campaign.

O’Donnell has been one of the best UK club professionals since his maiden season in 2016. With over 5,500 runs averaging mid-50s, and 150-plus wickets at 25s, it’s unsurprisingly that he’s one of the most sought-after overseas players on the market.

The batting all-rounder, who currently plays domestic cricket for the Auckland Aces, has been a star performer in ECB Premier League cricket – initially for Norwich in the East Anglia Premier League (2016-18 – 3,121 runs at 51.16 and 98 wickets at 22.06), before stints with Sussex Premier League side Three Bridges (2021-22 – 1,694 runs at 60.50 and 53 wickets at 23.06), and Totteridge Millhillians in the Hertfordshire League (2023 – 595 runs at 49.58 and 18 wickets at 23.11).

In New Zealand, O’Donnell has been a stand-out for the Aces. After making his first-class, and List A debuts in March 2019, and November 2018, respectively, it would be the 2020/21 season that’d prove to be his breakthrough summer.

The powerful opening batter finished top of the Ford Trophy (List A) run charts, hitting a century (106), and 6 fifties amongst 537 runs at 53.70. The trend continued in the Super Smash (T20), finishing as the Aces second leading run-scorer with 212 runs at 35.33. And, if his white-ball form wasn’t enough, he replicated this, and then some, in the Plunket Shield, hitting centuries in each innings against Wellington, on his way to 375 runs at 75.

However, it was the way he went about his work, across all formats, that really impressed. He showed an innate ability to adapt to any situation. His 4 hour plus, and 200-ball, vigil against a Knights attack featuring Wagner, Sodhi, and Kuggeleijn to help the Aces save the game (finishing 51 not out), and his centuries in each innings (117, and 137*) against the Firebirds, highlighted his ability to bat time.

To counter that, he produced some explosive innings in white-ball cricket to evidence his power. Scores of 50 (44), 40 (30), and 38 (24) in 3 of his last 4 Super Smash matches, sandwiched between 6 fifties (including a 59-ball 79), and his maiden hundred (106 from 120 balls) in the Ford Trophy.

Roll on the 2021/22 season and his run-scoring trend continued hitting a further century (119*) amongst 335 runs at 41.87 in the Plunket Shield. Surprisingly, though, despite his success the previous summer he didn’t feature in the Ford Trophy and only played 2 Super Smash games throughout the campaign. In 2022/23, he perhaps under-performed by his own high standards, averaging 29.14, and 26 in first-class, and List A, respectively.

Nevertheless, with first-class and List A averages nudging 37, and 33, respectively, it’s no wonder O’Donnell has been earmarked for higher honours. However, it’s also clear Blackcaps’ selectors have an eye for young talent, given O’Donnell had already earned New Zealand XI selection back in December 2018 against the touring Sri Lankans.

It’s no surprise to hear cricket is O’Donnell’s blood. His father is former Aces coach, Mark O’Donnell, whilst his brother Rob is the current Auckland skipper.

He was rewarded with his Aces debut courtesy of his run and wicket-taking exploits for Takapuna in the Auckland Premier Men’s Competition. Since the 2015/16 season, O’Donnell has racked up over 4,000 runs with 10 plus centuries, including a double, alongside a wicket tally well over 100.

The all-rounder really is quite the talent and following a strong 2023 summer for Totteridge Millhillians, he will return for a second stint with the Hertfordshire club this summer.