Friday, 19 February 2016

A quiet old week ends in a former star's retirement

There has been little to report this week on the county front.

The only real news is the laying of the foundations of the new Media Centre at the 3aaa County Ground, which is rightly a landmark but one that won't excite too many diehards.

The players will be stepping up their pre-season preparations and the intensity will increase ahead of the pre-season trip to Dubai, which will doubtless be considerably warmer than Derby in April. While the weather and wickets will be useful for getting the players back in the groove, my guess is that they won't need hand warmers out there...

Just as the week is ending (though sadly not mine, as I am working tomorrow) comes news of the retirement from the first-class game of Greg Smith. He will be taking up a position with Penzance Cricket Club and will doubtless do a good job, after seeing off strong opposition to secure the community-facing role.

I always liked Greg as a cricketer. On his day he was a wonderfully entertaining batsman and struck a lovely, clean ball. He bowled some useful swing and I recall a fine spell against Scotland in Glasgow several summers back, when he seemed to have the ball on a piece of elastic. He was nigh unplayable that day and it was a pity that he couldn't hit such heights more often.

He turned to spin and bowled decent off spin, though without really spinning it enough to threaten the best batsmen. His departure from Derbyshire came as a surprise and was more than a little messy, when viewed from the outside.

I'm not sure he did himself any favours in leaving, to be honest. He never really established a place in an Essex side that always looked better on paper than on a cricket pitch. While there were a smattering of decent scores, he had a tendency to get out when he really should have been going on to something special. 'Nice' twenties and thirties are OK in T20, but they frustrate over the longer forms of the game and supporters were left with the feeling that Greg had more to give.

At 32, it would appear his first-class career is over and that we won't see him on a first-class ground again. It's a pity, because there were days when Greg looked a million dollars and a stalwart of the Derbyshire side for years.

It was not to be, but I wish him the very best as he starts a new career and life in the south-west of the country.

More from me soon...

1 comment:

Roy of the Falcons said...

Got agree with you I thought Greg had the skills to be a good county cricketer and his move to Essex did him no favours On the field. On the other hand had he not left would he have fitted in the championship winning team or the outcome for the club been different. These are the mysteries and fascination of sport the what ifs.
I am sure there will be a lot of "what ifs" or "if only" at the beginning of this season but the players, coaches and supporters should see the early games as an opportunity. Someone stepped into Greg's place when he left and look where it took us.