Chesterfield Cricket Lovers' Society

The photo shows Neil Swanwick and Paul Smith

Photo courtesy of John Windle


The Society welcomed the ex-Warwickshire player, Paul Smith to its meeting at the SMH Stadium. Much has been written about the colourful life of the former player, probably the best being written by himself in 2007 in a revealing autobiography entitled ‘Wasted?’, which was nominated for the shortlist of the Sunday Times Newspaper Book of the Year Award.

Paul took us through his early cricket life which included spells in South Africa, (part of Dr Ali Bachers anti-apartheid initiative) Australia, Argentina (a UK cricketer during the Falklands conflict!), the Lords ground staff, and eventually a full-time contract at Warwickshire CCC.

He talked candidly about his time with Warwickshire, where he enjoyed life to the full, both on and off the field. As expected, there were many stories of his on-field activities and the many players he came across, but it was perhaps the accounts of the time off the field that were most amusing (I’m sure the Warwickshire CCC hierarchy at the time did not see it that way!)

He first served under captain, Bob Willis, was later coached by Bob Woolmer and throughout his time at WCCC his best friend was Gladstone Small. During this time, he played with Brian Lara, who he had first seen in the West Indies as he was just starting his career.

Throughout the talk he seemed to underplay the real contribution he made to the success of Warwickshire whilst he was there, particularly during the 1994 season in which they won an unprecedented Treble.

He did not linger on his considerable fall from grace through drug taking but did talk of the way he rebuilt his life which included getting involved with Compton Cricket Club in Los Angeles which uses cricket and its disciplines to encourage youngsters away from crime.

Paul is a candid speaker with plenty of stories to share. Members were impressed with his honesty and openness which came across during the evening.

Another very enjoyable evening.

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