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Smith return extra special as he plays his 100th game

Lancashire v Worcestershire at Blackpool Cricket Club.  Pictured is Tom Smith.
Lancashire v Worcestershire at Blackpool Cricket Club. Pictured is Tom Smith.
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Chorley cricketer Tom Smith marked his return from injury by finally playing his 100th County Championship game.

Former Lancashire captain Smith, played his first four-day match in 13 months as the Red Rose beat Surrey last week.

Smith hit 69 and took a smart catch in the slips as Lancashire won the match inside three days at Emirates Old Trafford.

It was the all-rounder’s 100th Championship match and one he had been waiting a long time for after a frustrating and worrying last year, which included back surgery.

“I was lucky to be back out there, but I enjoyed it,” said Smith, who admitted in the lead-up to the match that he might shed a tear or two.

“I’ve tried not to think about it because, if I did, I might get a bit emotional. I needed to do my job to help us win the game.

“I was a little bit nervous on day one, I must admit. That first ball I bowled, I didn’t quite know where it was going to go. It did feel like my debut, but with a few more years.

“There have been a lot of ups and downs, but the club have been fantastic with me.

“The medical staff – Sam (Byrne), Rooster (Dave Roberts), Tom(Webster) the strength and conditioning coach, Charlie the second-team physio – every step of the way have been there for me.

“I’ve always had someone monitoring me and making sure I do what I need to be doing. I’ve not been pushed in any way, and without that support I wouldn’t be where I am now.

“I’m ahead of where they thought I’d be. A lot of credit has to go them and the rest of the club, my family and friends.

“For me, I’ll always remember the Surrey game.

“It was my 100th Championship game, and I’ll always remember it for a few different reasons.

“I’ve been on 99 games, and I’ve been desperate to get out there. Thanks to everyone, I managed it.”

Smith was in action on the third day of County Championship Division One league leaders Lancashire’s game at rivals Yorkshire as the Guardian went to press.

And Smith says Lancashire aim to challenge for the title.

He said: “We are a very disciplined outfit. We know what we need to do, and we have trained hard all winter.

“Our captain Steven Croft mentioned it in an early interview that we’re not here to make up the numbers. We want to challenge for the title.

“Certainly, the way we’re going about our cricket, we’re showing that.”