Craig Murray Spearman
July 04, 1972, Auckland
Right hand bat
Kelstone Boys High School, Auckland. Massey University, New Zealand
Primarily a one-day batsman, where his strokeplay could be destructive at the top of the order, Craig Spearman was a better player than his statistics and international record give him credit for. Having ended his New Zealand career prematurely, he went on to become a legend at Gloucestershire.
Spearman made his debut for New Zealand as an opening batsman in December 1995 against Pakistan at Christchurch. Despite reasonable success over the years, he struggled to secure a top-order batting position, and was mainly preferred for one-day matches. He scored a solitary Test hundred, 112 against Zimbabwe, and an average of only 26 did his talent no justice. And despite being considered as something of a one-day specialist he only averaged 18.72 in that form of the game.
Spearman had a business-studies degree and decided to give up his New Zealand career in 2001 for a career in banking, which brought him to London. It was there that John Bracewell, Gloucestershire coach at the time, asked if he fancied a few games at Bristol. He didn't look back and after a fairly ordinary international career became one of the county's most consistent batsmen.
In his debut season in 2002 he made 1444 first-class runs at 48.13 with five centuries and would go on to top 1000 runs in a season twice more, with six centuries in 2006. But it was 2004 that he really left his mark after breaking WG Grace's record for the highest first-class score for the county. The 128-year-old record fell when Spearman made 341 against Middlesex at Archdeacon Meadow, Gloucester.
He also helped the Glosters to Twenty20 Finals day in 2003 and 2007 and back-to-back C&G Trophy titles in 2003 and 2004, scoring 70 in the latter. His career was effectively ended when Johannes van der Wath shattered his eye socket with a bouncer at Milton Keynes in 2008; he struggled on with little success, fewer appearances and left the county a year before his contract expired at the end of 2009.
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