Former Eagle, Greg Smith has announced his retirement from First Class cricket to take up a new role as Director of Cricket Development and Head Coach of Cornish club Penzance.
Smith, 32, had hoped to extend his county career after he was released by Essex at the end of last season, but he has instead opted to retire to help Penzance develop an academy and strengthen their community links.
“I was still looking at finding another county but when this job came up I had a long chat with my family and it was something I couldn’t turn down,” Smith said.
“Penzance are a very ambitious club and this is an exciting opportunity for me. I hope that I can help them to unearth and develop young players and to work closely with the local community.”
Smith, a former South Africa Under-19 international, came to England in 2004 and initially played for Coventry & NW in the Birmingham & District Premier League.
After joining the Club from Derbyshire in 2012, Smith had four seasons at The Essex County Ground which included an appearance in the 2013 Friends Life T20 Finals Day at Edgbaston.
Having made his first-class debut for Griqualand West in his native South Africa, Smith also played domestic cricket in Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. He joined Derbyshire and made his debut for them in 2006 at the start of a six year association with the county during which time he made the first of his seven first-class centuries against Middlesex in 2008.
“I played for 14 years and unfortunately had a few injuries that plagued me at the latter part of my career and I retire with no regrets,” Smith said. “I enjoyed my time with Derbyshire and made some really good friends there who I am still very close to.
“I enjoyed my four seasons with Essex during which I played in some big games, especially going to Twenty20 Finals Day. That day is one of my special memories along with making my maiden first class century at Derby, my 20/20 hundred against Yorkshire and having the honour of captaining Derbyshire.
“I also had the chance to play around the world and in different conditions in Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.
“Looking back on my career I loved every minute of it. I played for quite a long time and made quite a nice career out of it but now it’s time to move on to the next stage of my life and pass on all the knowledge I have gained onto the next generation of players.”
Smith also paid tribute to the help he received from David Townsend, one of the PCA’s six-strong team of Personal Development and Welfare Managers, in securing the Penzance job despite competition from 34 other credible candidates.
“Dave has been brilliant. He was looking at other things for me away from cricket including some business options in London which might have been interesting,” Smith said.
“When the Penzance job came up he told me it was a good package and encouraged me to apply. If it hadn’t have been for Dave I probably wouldn’t have been aware of the opportunity.”
Smith made 36 First Class appearances for the county, scoring 1336 runs and a high score of 177 against Gloucestershire at Bristol in 2013.
Smith’s career stats include scoring 5,635 runs and taking 184 wickets in 124 First Class matches. In List A cricket he scored 2,342 runs and took 72 wickets with a further 1,452 runs – including a century against Yorkshire in 2008 – and 42 wickets in Twenty20 matches.