November 25, 1989, Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire
Right hand bat
Personal tragedy struck for Tom Poynton only a few days before the start of the 2014 season when his father Keith died in a car accident while driving a Ferrari loaned out by the club chairman, Chris Grant, who had bought it that day. Tom, who was a passenger in the car, also suffered serious leg injuries. It was an emotional period for the entire Derbyshire club and Poynton, who missed the entire season and needed an ankle operation, found a role for Derbyshire promoting community projects.
He returned to indoor training in November with the intention of furthering his cricketing career and played five Championship matches to general delight, but he was desperately short of runs, averaging only 5. He retired on medical grounds midway through the 2016 season because of "significant deterioration" of his damaged ankle, leaving Derbyshire to express sympathy for someone their chief executive, Simon Storey, termed "a natural leader".
A young and highly-regarded wicketkeeper with a talent that has been nurtured by Derbyshire since he was 11, Poynton made his first-team debut during the 2007 Twenty20 group stages when James Pipe was injured. Although his first match lasted just 7.3 overs and in his next outing, against Yorkshire, he scored just three, the county still handed him a Championship debut in July against Middlesex. He made a pair batting at No. 8.
Nonetheless, it was a memorable season which saw him make eight first team appearances in all competitions, impressing with his tidy work behind the stumps enough to see him labelled as a star of the future. He was part of England's Elite Player programme in 2008, and travelled to South Africa with England Under-19 early the following year.
Poynton found more opportunities at first-team level hard to come by. He made four appearances in the Championship in 2010 but the return of Luke Sutton meant he did not figure at all in four-day cricket in 2011. However, Sutton's retirement at the end of that season pushed him to the fore as first choice for 2012 and he seized his chance impressively as one of a crop of young home-grown players in which Derbyshire had put their faith.
Once again, though, he faced competition for his place, this time from Richard Johnson who moved over from Warwickshire, initially on loan but then permanently at the end of 2012. He responded ably, his improvement as a batsman reflected in a maiden century against Northamptonshire, when he and Wayne Madsen shared an epic partnership of 261 that was only 23 runs short of breaking the 102-year-old world record for the ninth wicket. He kept the gloves for the 2013 season, although Johnson, in the side as a specialist batsmen, represented stiff competition.
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