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Full name Duncan John Spencer
Born April 5, 1972, Nelson, Lancashire
Current age 42 years 149 days
Major teams Kent, Western Australia
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm fast
Education Kent Street Senior High School, Perth
|Last First-class||Sussex v Sri Lankans at Hove, May 18-21, 2006 scorecard|
|List A span||1993-2001|
|Bat & Bowl||Team||Opposition||Ground||Match Date||Scorecard|
|4/71, 7, 0/49, 18*||Bucks||v Devon||Exmouth||10 Sep 2006||Other|
|3/41, 23, 3/33, 1||Bucks||v Northumb||Jesmond||20 Aug 2006||Other|
|7, 3/76||Bucks||v Lincolnshire||Slough||23 Jul 2006||Other|
|1/82, 17, 0/3||Sussex||v Sri Lankans||Hove||18 May 2006||FC|
|16, 1/70||Sussex||v Warwickshire||Hove||19 Apr 2006||FC|
|3/35, 31*, 1/21||Sussex||v Cardiff MCCU||Hove||15 Apr 2006||Other|
He might only have been short in stature but, by the time that Duncan Spencer first hit the domestic cricket scene in the early 1990s, few players in contemporary memory had been able to produce deliveries of such blistering pace. In his debut first-class season with Kent in 1993, the English-born right armer made a huge impression, prompting no less an authority than Sir Vivian Richards (then playing with Glamorgan) to rank him as possibly the quickest bowler he had ever faced in his illustrious career.
Sadly, Spencer's own career did not hit the heights that such a start might have promised. Persistent injury problems, headlined by chronic stress fractures in his back, have not only blunted his effectiveness but also ensured that he did not add to the tally of 14 first-class matches that he played with Kent in 1993 and 1994 and with Western Australia in 1993-94.
He continued to play grade cricket around his battles with injury but his ills were so severe that, at times, he was forced to participate solely as a batsman. The pattern of frustration was only broken in 2000-01 when a spectacular recovery led to his inclusion in six limited-overs matches for Western Australia - the state to which his family moved when he was five years old. While he did not bowl with quite as much pace as he had generated from his uncomplicated, slinging action in his first appearances in the Warriors' colours seven years earlier, he played an important role in helping the state reach a second Mercantile Mutual Cup Final in successive years.
Tragically, though, the effort which lay behind his comeback was also his undoing. Following the loss to New South Wales in the competition's deciding match, Spencer tested positive to the banned substance nandrolone - a substance he had used in an attempt to relieve his chronic pain. At the end of a much-publicised case in April 2001, he was banned from elite level cricket for a period of 18 months and thus inherited the unfortunate legacy of being the first player in Australian cricket to be found guilty of a drug-taking offence.
He reappeared again in 2006, playing twice for Sussex, and later in the summer helped Buckinghamshire to the Minor Counties final at Lord's.
Plays of the Day from the second ODI between England and India, in Cardiff
Plays of the day from the third ODI between England and India at Trent Bridge
Plays of the day from the tri-series match between Zimbabwe and South Africa
Would he have fared better than the incumbent middle-order batsmen, Root and Ballance?