Tributes paid following death of High Peak cricketer Nick Smith

Cricket in the High Peak has lost one of its best-known faces with the death of Nick Smith last week.

By Sports Reporter
Tuesday, 20th October 2020, 12:44 pm
Tributes have been paid to Nick Smith.
Tributes have been paid to Nick Smith.

Nick began playing cricket as a junior at Chapel in the early 1970’s before beginning an extraordinary period of more than 40 years during which he was a permanent fixture in the Buxton First XI.

He returned to Chapel in 2017 and leaves many friends at both clubs, and throughout the cricketing community.

A spokesman for Buxton Cricket Club this week released a tribute statement for the popular cricketer.

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It read: “Nick’s career had two distinct phases. He began as an opening batsman, good enough to attract the attention of Derbyshire, with a compact and balanced technique.

"He would treat accurate deliveries with respect, waiting patiently for a fractional error in line or length.

"Then he used his bat like a scalpel, threading the ball through the field with precision, off either foot and on both sides of the wicket.

"For almost twenty years, he provided an air of permanence at the top of the Buxton batting order, leading the side as captain for much of that time.

“Fiercely competitive, but always respectful of opponents and the laws and spirit of the game, Nick set himself very high standards and raised some eyebrows when, on a bitterly cold April day in the mid-nineties, he returned to the dressing room chuntering about how his “eyes had gone” after nicking off early on a green wicket.

"At the time, he was amongst the most respected batsmen in one of the strongest Leagues in the country, and he had scored almost a thousand runs the previous season!

“As one of the more determined characters in the game, however, it wasn’t always easy to dissuade Nick once he had made up his mind.

"So, whilst still scoring runs in large numbers, he began to focus on bowling his miserly darting off-spinners.

"These rarely turned prodigiously but his mastery of drift, control and subtle changes in pace were sufficient to bring him hundreds of wickets and multiple League awards over the second half of his career.

“Nick was a dedicated clubman who, although good enough to have played professionally for other clubs, stayed fiercely loyal to Buxton, always showing the same commitment regardless of the strength or weakness of the players around him.

"He was also a huge contributor off the field, working tirelessly on the ground, offering advice in the nets, acting as the club’s Treasurer for two decades, and organising a hugely popular annual tour to Oxford.

“Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to Nick’s family and friends for their loss. His team-mates, past and present, and his many other friends in cricket will all miss him enormously.”