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David Smith passes away

Friday 17th December 2021
& News

Derbyshire County Cricket Club is deeply saddened by the news of the death of former opener David ‘DHK’ Smith.

Heritage Officer, David Griffin, looks back at his career.

David Henry Kilner Smith was born in Shipley, West Yorkshire on 29 June 1940 and played his early cricket at Undercliffe in the Bradford League before joining Derbyshire for whom he made his first-class debut against Somerset at the unlikely venue of Glastonbury in August 1965.

A gritty left-hander, he had been specially registered for Derbyshire and broke through in 1967 when he scored 1,337 first class runs. Capped a year later when he made 1,429 runs in all formats, he also exceeded a thousand runs in 1970.

He formed a strong opening partnership with Peter Gibbs although Smith’s first century partnership for Derbyshire was with his namesake Edwin with whom he added 105 runs for the 8th wicket against Glamorgan at Chesterfield in 1967.

Later that summer, however, first wicket partnerships with Gibbs of 174 against Essex at Chesterfield, 135 against Surrey at The Oval, and 168 against Northamptonshire at Derby highlighted their combined qualities.

The highest of Smith’s four first class hundreds came against Lancashire in 1970 when he made 136 in the first innings at Derby, and he also made three scores in the nineties.

At Colchester in 1968, Smith and Gibbs added 143 for the first wicket before Gibbs was stumped for 90, and Smith was run out on 99. It remains the only instance of both openers being dismissed in the nineties in the club’s history.

In all formats, Smith played 149 matches for Derbyshire scoring 5,745 runs with 26 fifties in addition to his 4 three figure scores, and he also took 97 catches, many as a reliable slip fielder.

He retired from the first-class game after the 1970 season although he returned for a one-day game in 1971, by which time business interests had become his priority.

In 1976 he played two matches for Orange Free State in South Africa playing alongside Derbyshire opener Alan Hill. For the opposition South African Universities, a young Peter Kirsten scored 107.

David’s son, Lawrence, played 4 first class matches for Worcestershire between 1985 and 1987, while son Jason played for Gloucestershire 2nd XI during the same period.

David was a regular visitor to Derbyshire whenever the former players gathered to meet, and he was welcomed to the Media Centre at Derby last season when he and his erstwhile batting partner, Peter Gibbs, enjoyed a tour of the new facilities.

Everyone at Derbyshire County Cricket Club would like to extend their deepest sympathy to David’s family and friends.

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