Tony Smith Tribute

A memory of Tony Smith after he retired from playing in 2006.

“Smithy” plays his last game.

Tony Smith, one of Stroud cricket’s best known characters, has pulled the stumps on a 57 year career and played his last game.

Tony played for Minchinhampton in two spells totalling almost 40 years as well as 18 years with Woodchester and occasional Sunday matches for The Commoners.

In his time with Minchinhampton he played on no fewer than 5 different grounds located around the town, some of which were on the Common where wickets were ‘interesting’ in his recollection.

An opening bowler who was a more than useful bat, Tony’s career best figures were 9-8. “I bowled five overs at 0-6 runs and the skipper said he was going to take me off,” he remembers. “I wasn’t having that so took the next nine without conceding a run.  The last man was run out and I gave the fielder a right mouth full.”

In his career Tony took nine twice more and a hat trick on a number of occasions, the most memorable being against Cotswold – “Dave Smith, Frank Birt and Harold Sladder.”

Surprisingly he never made a hundred but his top score of 79 was made for The Commoners against Minchinhampton.

Born at Woefulden Farm on the outskirts of Minchinhampton, Tony was one of 11 children, some of whom survive.  He is the proud grandfather of 14 with 4 great grandchildren.

Tony achieved his lifelong ambition of playing cricket until he was 70 and had wanted to play golf until he was 90,” he claimed.

*On a July Sunday in 2006 playing against Lechlade, Tony bowed out from the game in great style sharing an opening stand of over 100 with Paul Auster.  Tony made 35 while skipper Auster went on to record a hundred, the three figures coming in great style with a towering six.  The game was eventually drawn and both sets of players and many of Tony’s family enjoyed a celebration afterwards during which Tony was presented with a commemorative pewter mug and the late Bill Frindle’s book, The Statistician.