Don took up umpiring in the mid-1970s during lunch time games played by the staff of the business where he then worked. Finding he enjoyed the challenge, he started standing with the then Clarence District Cricket Association in 1975, staying there for three seasons before being asked by the Tasmanian Cricket Association to join its umpiring ranks. During the last half of the 1990s Heapy was selected, as a member of the State Umpires Panel, to support both Sheffield Shield, tour and interstate one-day games, fourth umpire positions in two One Day Internationals being the pinnacle of his achievements. Since 2009 he has, on several occasions, travelled privately to Thailand to officiate in a number of tournaments involving players from many countries. His work and contribution to the TCUSA was acknowledged in 2002 when he was awarded Life Membership of the Association.
The following about Don appeared in the 20 January 2011 edition of the then TCUSA publication 'E-News':
'OUR DON' LINES UP FOR
Long-serving TCUSA umpire Don Heapy will stand in his 500th 'official' match as an Association member in a Second Grade game at Glenorchy this Saturday, although the total of number of games of cricket he has officiated in during his 35-year career to date is thought to actually be as many as 650-700. Despite the coming milestone TCUSA Life Member Heapy, 64, who commenced umpiring in his late twenties and retired from work just two weeks ago, hopes to continue his involvement out on the ground for many more years to come.
The eastern shore resident, who will become the second TCUSA member after Brian Pollard to chalk up 500 games (E-News 588-2963, 19 March 2010), first took up umpiring in the mid-1970s during what must have been rather serious lunch time games played by the staff of the business where he worked. Finding he enjoyed the challenge, he started standing with the then Clarence District Cricket Association in 1975, staying there for three seasons before being asked by the Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) to join its umpiring ranks. His first match with the TCA was in the 1979-80 season and was a Third Grade game at Glenorchy between the home side and Clarence, one player knowing he was new to the competition telling him, probably after getting a decision he didn't like, "you won't be here long son".
But here he was, and for a long time, because his second game was in Second Grade and third in the Firsts, a level he officiated at for many years. In fact over the next 25 years Heapy stood in over 240 First Grade matches, more than any other TCUSA member, a record that includes three Grand Finals at that level. They weren't the only season deciders Heapy was involved in though, records available suggesting he has stood in 25-30 in total, including multiple ones in the TCA's Seconds, Thirds, Under-17 and now former Fourths competitions, as well as in country Association finals in the Huon, Oatlands and Tasman areas, and the South Tasmania Cricket League.
During the last half of the 1990s Heapy was selected, as a member of the State Umpires Panel, to support both Sheffield Shield, tour and interstate one-day games, with fourth umpire positions in two One Day Internationals being the pinnacle. The latter games, both played at Bellerive, were between Australia and the West Indies and Australia and Zimbabwe. His duties at domestic interstate level included as the television umpire in two Sheffield Shield matches as well as a domestic List A game. There have also been a number of state Second XI games, a national Under-17 men's tournament, in which he stood in the final, and a variety of other lower-level intra and interstate events.
The last few years have seen Heapy really go 'international' for he has stood in four separate tournaments in Thailand, at Hau Hin and Chaing Mai, that involved teams from many countries around the world; competitions that saw him chosen for the main finals of those events due to his on-field abilities. He is scheduled to stand in a fifth such event in Thailand in April this year.
Off the field Heapy's record is equally impressive in supporting the TCUSA's activities. He was President of the Association for two years in the early 2000s, and all-up has served as Vice President for a total of eight. Awards have also come his way, including the inaugural TCUSA 'Umpire of the Year' trophy in 1995, for services to the Association in 1998 and the Advisor's Merit award in 2004. All his many achievements were recognised by his award of a Life Membership of the Association in 2002.
Heapy told E-News yesterday that he has "lots of great memories of my involvement with cricket, have made many good friends over the years, and could talk for hours about the extraordinary time I have had". "Hopefully, I can continue to play my part in helping others to become involved in, and enjoy, the great game in the years to come", he concluded.
Don's partner in Saturday's game will, somewhat appropriately, be the only other member of the the TCUSA's exclusive '500 club', Brian Pollard. Not many games of cricket are looked after by umpires who together have stood in over 1,000 games.