One such positive, however, was that of Tom Smith, who secured the hearts and admiration of the Lancashire faithful in a season which will have done no harm to his recent appointment as club captain.
Born in Liverpool in 1985, Smith was one of many talented players to come through the Lancashire academy and since then he has become one of the most dedicated servants the club has ever seen. His performances across all three formats of the game, all-round status and consistency meant that last year, there was sparsely a game where his name was not mentioned.
From the very first game of the 2014 season, Smith made his mark with bat and ball and it became apparent rather quickly that he was going to be a key figure in Lancashire’s battle for survival. The season began with a narrow defeat at Nottinghamshire, a game in which Smith scored 45 not out and 76. He then claimed 5-53 to give his side a small chance of achieving victory in the season curtain-raiser.
Despite his efforts, and that of Ashwell Prince who scored 100 in Lancashire’s chase of 349, the visitors were beaten and this established an unfortunate precedent for Lancashire who became accustomed to the aforementioned Smith and Prince for the provision of contributions with bat and ball.
|Smith is celebrated by his Lancashire teammates for his efforts with the ball.|
In Lancashire’s first victory of the County Championship campaign, Smith made his second fifty of the season in a low-scoring game at Northamptonshire, a match which was also significant due to the input of a certain James Anderson, who claimed match figures of 10-89.
|Smith receives a standing ovation for his 22-ball fifty against Yorkshire.|
Smith continued to make all-round contributions in Lancashire’s County Championship campaign, scoring his fourth half-century and claiming 3-50 in a draw against Warwickshire at Edgbaston. This was another game where Lancashire were rewarded with a draw despite finishing in the ascendancy, as their hosts collapsed to 86-5 on the final day before the players shook hands.
|Smith celebrates as Lancashire achieve a nail-biting victory against Glamorgan.|
Smith’s most telling contribution of the season came in a four-day game against Durham where Lancashire achieved their third and final win in the format. The Lancashire all-rounder had initially made a positive impact for the hosts with figures of 5-45 in Durham’s first innings before a contribution of 35 not out became one of Lancashire’s most memorable performances with the bat all season.
|Kerrigan and Smith leave the field after securing a vital victory for Lancashire.|
Lancashire’s hopes for securing a maiden t20 trophy were shattered in late August at Edgbaston, but Smith continued to make his mark claiming 2-30 in the final, which the Lightning went on to lose by four runs despite some late antics by none other than Andrew Flintoff.