Obituary

Sydney Smith

SMITH, SYDNEY GORDON, who died in Auckland on October 25, aged 82, was a capital left-handed all-rounder. He played for Trinidad, where he was born, and in 1901-2 distinguished himself by taking 16 wickets at a cost of 85 runs for a Combined West Indies XI against R. A. Bennett's team of English amateurs at Trinidad. Touring England with H. B. G. Austin's West Indian team in 1906, he headed both batting and bowling averages for all matches. He scored 1,107 runs, average 33.54, and with slow bowling of excellent length dismissed 116 batsmen for 19.31 runs each. Against Northamptonshire he gained a match-record of 12 wickets for 99 runs and the following season began qualifying by residence for that county. From 1909 to 1914, playing as an amateur, he rendered them splendid service, becoming captain in 1913, when G. A. T. Vials fell ill, and the following summer.

From his first full season he brought about a tremendous rise in the fortunes of Northamptonshire for whom he became the first batsman to reach 1,000 runs. He achieved the "cricketers' double" in 1909, 1913 and 1914. Generally a hard-hitting batsman, specially strong in cutting, driving and leg-side strokes, he could offer the soundest of defences when the situation demanded such tactics. His highest innings was 204 against Gloucestershire at Northampton in 1910.

Twice he performed the hat-trick, at the expense of Leicestershire at Leicester in 1912 and when taking four Warwickshire wickets with following deliveries at Edgbaston in 1914. He frequently appeared for Gentlemen against Players and met with marked success with A. F. Somerset's M.C.C. team in the West Indies in 1910-11. After the First World War, he played for Auckland and represented New Zealand against the Australians in 1920-21, M.C.C. in 1922-23 and New South Wales in 1923-24. He continued playing till he was in his fifties. Smith was one of the "Five Cricketers Of The Year" in the 1915 edition of Wisden.

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