Duncan John Spencer
April 05, 1972, Nelson, Lancashire
Right hand bat
Right arm fast
Kent Street Senior High School, Perth
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.
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