Ward heads into retirement

PUBLISHED: 17:22 28 August 2008 | UPDATED: 16:32 05 May 2010

David Ward

David Ward

Hertfordshire s cricket team will have a gaping hole in their batting line-up next season, as David Ward, the mainstay of the side for the past 12 years and a true phenomenon of the Minor Counties game, heads into retirement. Ward, 47, called time on his

Hertfordshire's cricket team will have a gaping hole in their batting line-up next season, as David Ward, the mainstay of the side for the past 12 years and a true phenomenon of the Minor Counties game, heads into retirement.

Ward, 47, called time on his playing days during last week's final championship game at Suffolk, and signed off in fine style, with a battling 75 to help save the game, despite suffering from a chipped bone and damaged ligaments in his leg.

His impact on the Minor Counties scene has been little short of sensational during his 12 years with Herts - his spectacular ball striking always a joy to watch, unless you were the opposition captain.

The figures tell something of the story. His championship aggregate of 6,317 runs at an average of 53.53 places him fourth in the county's all-time list - with the most recent of the three players above him finishing his career in 1929!

Since making his debut in 1997, in 129 championship innings, he hit one double hundred, 19 centuries (eight in the first innings and 11 in the second) and 33 half-centuries.

Small wonder that Alistair Buchanan, the chairman of the Herts County Cricket Association, paid him a glowing tribute.

He said: "The statistics show at a glance what a sensational batsman he has been during the past 12 seasons.

"He has scored well over 6,000 championship runs made in significantly less than half the number of innings of any of those above him in the all-time records, and way ahead of any modern day player.

"In all matches, including the one day competitions, he has scored in excess of 8,000 runs, 23 centuries, 40 half centuries and one double century at Lakenham that I shall never forget.

"He hit 100 before lunch and another afterwards - 16 sixes, all perfectly struck, goodness knows how many fours. The only way Norfolk could field the ball was to be about two streets away!"

Ward, who joined Herts after a spectacular first-class career with Surrey, was also a highly influential captain, and helped the development of many young players, and Buchanan also paid tribute to his work in this area.

He continued: "He has been a thoughtful and positive captain and a wise, helpful and influential mentor to the many young players that have occupied the crease and the dressing room with him.

"He has always been the perfect sportsman, courteous and professional, extremely modest, never anything other than an outstanding team player and cricketing ambassador.

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