|Full name||Gerald Arthur Smithson|
1 November 1926|
Spofforth, North Yorkshire, England
|Died||6 September 1970
Abingdon, Oxfordshire, England
|Batting style||Left-hand bat|
|Bowling style||Right-arm medium|
Gerald Arthur Smithson (1 November 1926 – 6 September 1970) was an English cricketer who played in two Tests for England in 1947–48. He was born at Spofforth, North Yorkshire and died at Abingdon, now in Oxfordshire but then in Berkshire.
Life and career
Smithson was a left-handed middle-order batsman, a medium pace bowler and a highly agile and effective fielder of the ball. He graduated from the Bradford Cricket League to play first-class cricket for Yorkshire between 1946 and 1950, making his first-class debut on 10–11 July 1946 aged 19 in a match against Essex at St George's Road, Harrogate, taking a catch and scoring 16 runs in Yorkshire's six-wicket victory. His highest innings for Yorkshire was his 169 runs playing at No. 3 against Leicestershire at Grace Road, Leicester in August 1947. Smithson played for Leicestershire between 1951 and 1956, and then for Hertfordshire in Minor Counties cricket between 1957 and 1962.
Smithson's 98 for Yorkshire in the Roses Match of 1947 against Lancashire when he was aged 20 has been described in the writings of broadcaster and journalist Michael Parkinson (Parkinson's Lore, London: Pavilion, 1981). According to the then Yorkshire captain, Norman Yardley, his batting invited comparison with the young Australians of the time. Historian Alan Hill wrote that this particular innings "aroused hopes of an exciting future", later likening Smithson's style to the England left-hander David Gower.
Conscripted into National Service as a Bevin Boy in the coal mines during World War II, he worked for three years at Askern Main Colliery in South Yorkshire, before receiving special permission (after his case had been debated in the House of Commons) for temporary release so that he could join the tour to the West Indies with the MCC team of 1947–48. Smithson took part in two Test matches in the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados and the Queen's Park Oval in Port of Spain, Trinidad – where the West Indies trio of Frank Worrell, Clyde Walcott and Everton Weekes first appeared together. He was not successful in the first game, but made 35 in each innings of the 2nd Test, and his durability at the wicket helped to save the match for England. He was then injured on the tour, and did not play for Yorkshire in 1948.
In 1949, Smithson was part of Norman Yardley's side that won the County Championship, sharing the title with Middlesex. His last recorded appearance for Yorkshire was a match against Scotland at Edinburgh in July 1950.
In 1951 he joined Leicestershire County Cricket Club, with whom he remained until the close of the 1956 season. His best season there was in 1952, when he hit 1,264 runs, (including two centuries) averaging 28.08. His last first-class match was for Leicestershire against Northamptonshire at the County Ground, Northampton, in August 1956.
After his full-time professional playing career ended, Smithson served as a professional cricket coach and groundsman, first at Caterham School, Surrey, and then at Abingdon School, Oxfordshire, and played Minor Counties cricket for Hertfordshire County Cricket Club.
The Gerald Smithson Memorial Twenty20 Cricket Tournament was inaugurated at Abingdon School on 21 June 2009, with former England cricketer Devon Malcolm as the guest of honour.
- "Gerald Smithson". www.cricketarchive.com. Retrieved 5 March 2012.
- "Gerald Smithson". Espncricinfo.com. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
- Bateman, Colin (1993). If The Cap Fits. Tony Williams Publications. p. 154. ISBN 1-869833-21-X.
- Willis, Donald (1983). Song on a Bugle Blown. Cumnor, UK: Kenton. p. 232. ISBN 978-0-9508503-0-6.