Matthew Maynard burst onto the county scene at Swansea in 1985 scoring an amazing century on his first-class debut, reaching his maiden hundred with 3 successive sixes off Yorkshire's Phil Carrick.
Born in Lancashire, Maynard was brought up at Menai Bridge in North Wales, and after a short spell on Kent's staff, he joined Glamorgan in 1985, and ever since the gifted right handed batsman has thrilled the county's supporters with his dashing strokeplay, and he has set a host of batting records. In 1986 he became the youngest ever Glamorgan player to score a thousand runs, and in 1987 hit a breathtaking century before lunch against Somerset.
He repeated the feat against Worcestershire in 1988 and further displays of such uninhibited batting drew the attention of England's selectors and in August Maynard made his Test debut against the West Indies at The Oval. He only scored 3 and 10, but at the end of the summer he was voted as the Young Cricketer of the Year.
Maynard got a further taste of international cricket in 1989/90 as he toured South Africa with Mike Gatting's English XI. The presence of Viv Richards in the Glamorgan side of 1990 helped Maynard to curb his impetuous instintcs, and a series of large hundreds soon followed. In 1991 he scored hundreds in each innings against Gloucestershire, a double century against Nottinghamshire and at the end of the summer, a career best 243 against Hampshire at Southampton.
Maynard also gained invaluable experience in New Zealand playing for Northern Districts in 1990/91 and 1991/92, and in his first innings in New Zealand he also scored a century on his debut. Maynard's quick scoring talents have also been a key feature behind Glamorgan's success in one-day cricket in the 1990's, and in particular the Sunday League title in 1993. During that summer, Maynard also hit a century before lunch against the Australians at Neath, and was recalled to the England side for two Tests in the Ashes series. He also won a place on the winter tour to the West Indies, where he won another Test cap and appeared in 5 One Day Internationals.
By this time, Maynard had also tasted life as a county captain, leading Glamorgan for part of 1992 when Alan Butcher was injured. At the end of 1995, Maynard was appointed the county captain and in 1996 he led the team on a full time basis during his Benefit Year. It was a memorable summer for the new Glamorgan captain, whose batting has matured over the years like a good wine. Maynard began a vintage season by scoring the fastest ever century for Glamorgan in one-day cricket, with a hundred off just 58 balls against the British Universities. By the end of the season, he had scored 1610 runs in first-class games at an average of 61.62, and was a member of England's squad for their One Day Internationals against both India and Pakistan. He cannot have been too far away from a place in England's winter tour party, or even leading the England A team to Australia.
Maynard put these disappointments behind him in 1997 by leading Glamorgan to their third Championship success, and a semi-final place in the Nat West Trophy. Towards the end of the season, Maynard was in vintage form with the bat, scoring a scintillating 161* against Worcestershire, and a breathtaking 142 against Somerset at Taunton. The latter was one of Maynard's finest ever innings, and he reached his hundred without hitting a single.
By his own admission, Matthew had a modest season in 1998, when he went through the summer without scoring a hundred. He was hampered by injury soon after the start of the 1999 season, but he returned to form with 170 against Kent at Canterbury, and an imperious 186 against Yorkshire at Headingley.
2000 was a memorable summer for Matthew Maynard as he led Glamorgan to their first appearance in a Lord`s Cup final since 1977. Glamorgan`s captain had played a major role himself in getting to the Benson and Hedges Cup final, with a magnificent hundred in the semi-final against Surrey at Cardiff. He then went on to record a sublime hundred in the final against Gloucestershire, and deservedly won the man-of-the-match award. In scoring back-to-back hundreds, Maynard also became the first ever batsman in the history of cricket to score centuries in both the semi-finals and final of domestic competitions.
At the end of 2000, Maynard stood down from the Glamorgan captaincy, but his contribution to Glamorgan cricket has not ended, with the master batsman playing a series of vital innings as the county won the Norwich Union Division Two title in 2001, followed by the Division One title in 2002. In particular, Maynard shared a match winning partnership with Mike Powell in the day-night contest against rivals Worcestershire under the floodlights at Cardiff that took the Welsh county to the top of the table.
Matthew has continued to make important contributions in Championship cricket, especially in the match at Cheltenham in 2002 where he repeated his feats of 1991 by hitting centuries in each innings of the game with Gloucestershire, and steered Glamorgan to a thrilling victory on a wicket that was giving the spin bowler`s considerable assistance.
In 2004 Matthew was a member of the Glamorgan side that won promotion back into Division One of the County Championship, whilst on the one-day front, his explosive batting helped the county to a place at the Twenty20 finals day, whilst in the totesport League, he made many match-winning contributions. On his `home soil` in North Wales, Matthew shared a 121 run stand with Robert Croft against Lancashire at Colwyn Bay that saw Glamorgan clinch the one-day title, whilst at Northampton he nearly steered the side to a remarkable victory with a savage hundred, and a record-breaking stand of 113 for the 8th wicket with Alex Wharf. They both ended up on the losing side, but Matthew`s 117 was his 6th century in the competition for Glamorgan - a new club record.
Matthew was appointed the Assistant Coach to England`s one-day team for their tours to Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa in 2004/05. After one Championship and National League appearance in 2005 - his Testimonial Year with Glamorgan - Matthew retired from first-class cricket to become Assistant Coach to the England teams. Whereas other players, may have started their first-class career with a duck, and then gone out with a brilliant hundred, Matthew did it the other way around, starting with a debut century at Swansea and twenty years later, ending it with nought at Edgbaston.
Maynard remained as England's Assistant Coach until May 2007, during which time he was part of the England set-up that regained the Ashes in 2005, before in September 2007 being appointed as Glamorgan`s Cricket Manager.
(Article: Copyright © 2007 Dr.A.K.Hignell)
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