Paul Smith was born on 15 April 1964 at Gosforth, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He went to Heaton Grammar School. Both his father and elder brother also played first-class cricket. His brother, David, played for Warwickshire and visited us in 2016. Paul is tall, at 6ft 2ins (1.87 metres), and played for Warwickshire for 15 seasons between 1982 and 1996 as a right-hand bat and right-arm fast-medium bowler. He was a hard-hitting batsman and brisk, if erratic, bowler.

Paul played during a very successful era for Warwickshire where Bob Woolmer, as coach, and Dermot Reeve, as captain, were a very effective, and innovative, unit. During his time at Warwickshire they won the C ounty Championship twice (1994 and 1995), the NatWest Trophy three times (1989, 1993 and 1995), the Benson & Hedges Cup once (1994) and the Sunday League once (1994). Thus Warwickshire completed a treble in 1994 and were runners-up in that year's NatWest final. The club was that close to an unprecedented quadruple. He was fortunate to play in a team which boasted talents such as Dennis Amiss, Allan Donald, Brian Lara, Tim Munton, Dermot Reeve and Gladstone Small.

Paul played 221 first-class matches during which he scored 8,173 runs at 26.44 with a top score of 140, 4 hundreds and 48 fifties. He took 283 wickets at 35.72 with a best of 6/91 amongst his 7 hauls of 5 wickets in an innings. He took 2 hat-tricks - one in 1989 and one in 1990. He made his maiden first-class hundred aged 19. In 1984, aged just 20, he scored 1,000 runs in a season for the first time.

Paul was probably at his most effective in List A cricket with his aggressive style. He played 270 List A matches during which he scored 4,430 runs at 22.83 with a top score of 93* amongst his 15 fifties. He took 234 wickets at 28.57 with best figures of 5/36. He was Player of the Match in the Benson & Hedges Cup final of 1994 at Lord's. Worcestershire batted first, scoring 170/9 off their 55 overs. Paul bowled his full 11 overs' allocation, taking 3/34, his victims being Graeme Hick, David Leatherdale and Stuart Lampitt. He then scored 42*, batting at number 4, as Warwickshire eased home with 172/4 off 44.2 overs.

Paul wrote his fascinating, and forthright, autobiography, 'Wasted?' in 2007. This documented a very eventful life during, and after, his cricket career.

Ken Burney

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