Michael (Mick) Smart

As a successful strike bowler for Methley Cricket Club he was to gather a formidable number of scalps of opposition batsmen during his playing career. 

  His record with the ball aided by successful partnerships with likes of Steve Bell and David Barker was just one aspect of the introduction of a number of younger players from this village offering the later prospect of advancement to higher league status.

Attracted to the game at a very young age (his father, Harry turned out for Whitwood cricket club) he was to play his first game as a 12 year old in the second team.  Regular selection into that team as a young teenager produced many reflections. Not least was an unforgettable exploit in those early days along with the equally young Trevor Free when the pair defended their wickets over a period of 20 overs in order to save the match.

He was to make his first appearance in the first XI at the age of 14 feeding the ambition to a later regular transition into the side, playing from the 1950’s to the 1980’s until retiring as a 55year old from the now seconds.

Mick’s working life was to commence locally at the Newmarket pit (There were more miners playing cricket than rugby in those days) where he signed on as an apprentice electrician. Some time after completing his apprenticeship he was to try a stint with a new opportunity in Scotland.  However after two years he returned to Newmarket and prior to its closure he took a transfer to the Wistow Mine in the new Selby Coalfield.  

An outstanding memory of Wistow occurred when the pit experienced a major geological inrush from the water bearing strata of the Permian level above the working seam.  On the day he had to re-direct a party of TV cameramen to safety and then return to locate a missing member of that party during the confusion.  The encroaching flow threatening to submerge the workings created many demands on all workforce including himself when rapid switchgear installations and cabling were required to power the immense pumps brought in to prevent the pit from flooding.

Mick’s passion for the game of cricket has been handed down to his son Richard now playing as skipper of the second team and grandson Jake following a joint pursuit of both rugby league and cricket.

Mick himself was not averse to trying other sports. A two year tilt at rugby union and a stab at badminton (based at Mickletown School) both only serving to underline that his deep engagement was with the cricket.

To this end, Richard presented his father with four comprehensive albums covering the seasons 1960 to 1990. Which is at the same time a record of Methley CC over those years referring to many of the outstanding players.  Mick adds that there were too many to mention however he said he could not forget Sammy Langstaffe encouraging him to bowl to a single penny balanced on top of one wicket in order to pursue accuracy.

These days he commutes from his place on the east coast to his holiday escape near to the Methley Cricket Club to watch their games and see old mates.

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