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Smith excited by Hornchurch switch

Roy Smith Roy Smith

Friday, December 13, 2013
2:30 PM

Ardleigh Green stalwart is new captain

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Roy Smith on his way to a century for Ardleigh Green against Fives in July (Pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)Roy Smith on his way to a century for Ardleigh Green against Fives in July (Pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Roy Smith has been something of an institution at Ardleigh Green for over a quarter of a century.

But he will be captaining Hornchurch next season, and is convinced a change was best for both parties.

“I’ve done so much with Ardleigh I don’t think I could do any more. I’d gone a bit stale and lost a bit of my enthusiasm,” said Smith.

“I needed another challenge, something to get my teeth into.

“I’m going to Hornchurch fresh and I want to get them promoted to Division One straight away, then hopefully the Premier League as soon as possible after that.

“A lot of hard work will be needed from everyone at the club to achieve this.”

The 39-year-old batsman has set all manner of records for Green. Last season he scored his 100th century for the club since joining as a 13-year-old.

Smith has scored more than 36,000 runs, once scored 12 centuries in one season, has had 3,000-run seasons and also features in the top four highest partnerships of all time. He’s also taken more than 500 catches fielding at slip, second on the all time list.

Having been captain of the club for 10 years, how did they take the news he was moving on?

Smith added: “Obviously they weren’t too pleased when I told them, but I don’t think it came as a massive surprise. They knew I’d gone a bit stale.

“I’m going to miss Ardleigh, I’ve got some good friends there and it’s a good club with good people.”

The batsman says the 2007 season has been his career highlight, when Ardleigh won the Shepherd Neame Essex League Premier Division and Cup to complete the double.

Smith, born and raised in Harold Hill and a former Royal Liberty School student, has set his sights on achieving similar success at Hornchurch.

He cites the fact Ardleigh turned things around after his arrival as evidence of his captaincy skills. “Hornchurch just need a bit of tinkering and organisation,” said Smith.

“With that, I’m sure we’ll be successful. It’s an exciting challenge and one I’m looking forward to. I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t think it was realistic. I’m full of confidence and I can captain a side with my eyes closed. Maybe I’m a little too confident, but I eat and sleep cricket.”

Club chairman Jeremy West added: “We’re truly delighted to welcome Roy. He has got so much experience and is a great captain and man-manager who, we hope, can restore the club to former glories.”

Smith is hoping to sign up Sri Lankan spinner Chamikara Mudalige for the 2014 season, with young all-rounder Chris Haylett set to follow him from Ardleigh Green.

Any other players interested in joining Smith can email him royalsmudger@btinternet.com.

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