Pete Smith - the definitive interview

Shortly before departing these shores, popular Aussie Pete Smith spent an evening telling about his summer in England. He recalled the high and low points of his time with Lymington and about a highly successful season which saw him score 570 league runs and take 25 wickets. And he ended the interview on a heartening note by revealing that he hopes to return to the club for the 2006 season.

So, how have you enjoyed your summer in England?
PS: It's been outstanding. I'm really glad I came over.

When you arrived in April what were your first impressions of England?
PS: The day after I arrived I played my first game over at Bashley on their plastic mat in the pouring rain - I thought to myself: "Welcome to England!"

We understand you had quite an embarrassing first night in England?
PS: When I arrived in Lymington I had a few beers and I couldn't remember where I was meant to be staying. So I met up with some blokes in the pub and crashed at their house. The next morning I went round to the Hunt's house as that was the only place I knew and I told them that I'd spent the night with two strange men! Apparently they assumed I was gay for about two months!

Did you ever feel homesick and contemplate going home like Karl Whatham?
PS: No, Whatham was a ponce!

Did you perform better or worse than you expected (on the cricket pitch!)?
PS: Probably a bit better. My batting was a lot more consistent than I expected it to be. Well, actually it was consistently BAD at the Sports Ground where I only scored about 30 runs, but consistently GOOD away from home where I averaged about 80!

Was Southern League cricket of a higher or lower standard than you were anticipating?
PS: I think the batting was a bit better than I had expected, but the bowling was a bit, let's say, 'subdued'!

You held the team together on your own most weeks - do you think the extra responsibility made you a better player?
PS: Half way through the season the rest of the team started coming up to me and telling me that I had to produce at least three more match-winning performances or we were doomed to relegation!! I thought: "Cheers lads!" For the first time in my life I actually had to bat responsibly. I didn't do too bad, did I!

Could English club cricket learn anything from the Aussie Grade system?
PS: Playing longer two day games could help, although the way Lymo batted some weeks we could bat six times in two days!

Pete after hitting 6 sixes in an over

What was your best performance in England?
PS: Probably drinking seven litres of Pimms in one go at Kish's engagement party! On the field I thought I bowled really well against St Cross when we nearly bowled them out after scoring just 60-odd runs. I guess scoring 100 in 30 balls including 6 sixes in an over must be the highlight of my batting.

And your most treasured moment?
PS: Getting mobbed by a jubilant Trev at Sparsholt after I'd scored 132 out of 230 to win the match - he told me he wanted to have my babies! Beating Bashley in the cup semi-final was also pretty memorable.

Who's the best left arm spinner at Lymington - Marty Hunt or Geoff Renshaw?
PS: It has to be Geoff - cos I got four stumpings off him when I was keeping wicket!

What was the best ground you played on during your stay?
PS: Undoubtedly Canford School. Rowledge had the best teas.

Who was the best player you played against?
PS: No-one really stands out. I struggled to get Nick Wood away at Romsey - he was a decent bowler.

Is there anyone at Lymo you think has the potential to go on to be a great player?
PS: Moonman! Let's hope he doesn't throw all that potential away! And Sam Westcott's girlfriend shows a great deal of potential too. In fact, she shows a great deal of everything.

Karl Whatham had an amazing season back in Australia after playing at Lymington - do you think the same will happen to you?
PS: No, cos I'll try to hit every ball for six like I did here!

Your Balmain Tigers club has just signed a certain Graham Thorpe as their overseas player - will he get into your First Grade team?
PS: Dunno - I'm worried he might take my place!

Pain under cover

What were the highlights of your time in England?
PS: Well, there's quite a few really. My first scoring shot at Lymington deserves a mention - a straight six out of the ground which
knocked some tiles off the roof of a nearby house! Seeing Kish spend the night under the covers on the square was funny.

What was the oddest thing you saw in England?
PS: Seeing an injured Marty Hunt being driven off the field in Bourray's old Vauxall Astra was pretty bizarre! That must have been the most incongruous way a cricketer has ever left the field of play!

What were your impressions of Peter Tapper?
PS: He thought he was a legend round here until he saw ME bat! I enjoyed watching Taps on Presidents Day when he went for 40 runs in three overs - especially as one of the overs was a maiden!

How did you end up with Mark Burrett's handprint on your bum?
PS: It wasn't very pleasant, I can tell you! We were at Kish's engagement party and we were all mooning at Kish's in-laws. Unbeknown to me, Bourray took a huge run-up and smacked me unbelievably hard on my right buttock. The hand print was there for about four days! Apart from that incident, Bourray was great value - I liked the time we were all having a muckabout game with an incrediball outside the clubhouse and he pinned his dad right between the eyes - I'll never forget the sound that plastic ball made on Bob's forehead! And it was so funny when Bourray turned up at the Go-Kart track looking like Michael Schumacher in his racing boots and gloves!

Why the nickname Crazy Eyes?
PS: Apparently my eyes get very bloodshot after a heavy drinking session. I can't see it myself.

Pete and Tickle

Who was the maddest Lymington player or spectator you met?
PS: Wobbly Wharton said some very strange things about the First XI in the press - so he's obviously a bit mad. Tickle Jenkin is quite a character - I never understood a word he said to me from the day I arrived to the day I left!

How did you enjoy your day out at the C&G Cup Final at Lords?
PS: Awesome, it was an outstanding day. It was a childhood dream to go to Lords, and it was great to go there with a full house to see Hampshire win. The Richie Benaud song was brilliant.

And what about the England versus Australia Twenty-20 match at the Rose Bowl?
PS: That was pretty good too, although John McGuirk wasn't happy cos they closed the bar early due to Australia being skittled out!

Before you came to England, did you realise just how much it meant for us Poms to regain the Ashes?
PS: I think we all underestimated the significance of the Ashes to the Brits - the crowds in England are just mad.

So how long will it be before you lot win the Ashes back?
PS: When do we play you next?

Were you a bit daunted on your first day of coaching at Lymington Junior School when you had 90 screaming kids dumped on you?
PS: A bit, but there was a lovely young teacher there so I stuck at it!

Describe Jim Lowe's dress sense in one word?
PS: Attractive!

Where were the best places you visited during you time over here?
PS: The Thomas Tripp; Bar-So; The Hunt household, obviously; Kish's in-laws' house out in the country (hopefully they'll have cleaned up my vomit by now!); Cortina in Italy; the Go-Kart track on the Isle of Wight; and Lymington Sports Ground of course!

What are your plans when you get home to Australia?
PS: Pay off all my debts! I'll probably go back to my old job installing telephones.

Will you be taking the Nissan Micro home with you?
PS: I could probably fit the Jelley Bean my hand luggage! How did we ever manage to fit 13 people and a dog in there? I actually got up to 90mph in it the other day - I was rammed from behind by a Porsche!

Will you be sad to be leaving England?
PS: Of course. I'll miss the Hunt family barbies and the Carling beer, and Kish's exaggerated stories. And Trish, obviously!

Talking of Trish, how did you end up wearing her thong after the end of season party?
PS: Pass!!!

Finally, will you be returning to Lymo save us again next year?
PS: It's highly likely, especially if I can get fixed up with a teaching job over here.

Cheers Pete - it's been a pleasure writing about you over the summer!



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