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Brief profile of Frank Griffith
by Matthew Reed


Player:FA Griffith

DateLine: 22nd November 2005

 

Frank Griffith was one of the ordinary county cricketers who was lucky enough to have an extraordinary thing happen to him. For a county pro, it doesn’t get any bigger than being asked to bowl the last over in a domestic cup final, yet this is what Griffith successfully did in the 1993 Benson & Hedges Cup Final. Although having to concede less than 11 in badly faded light may favour the bowler, the inexperienced Griffith still had to bowl to supreme limited-overs batsman Neil Fairbrother and the brutally swung blade of Philip Defreitas, men who had already both played in a World Cup Final and won several domestic limited-overs titles between them. However, after Griffith had only allowed Fairbrother one run of his first two balls, and then dismissed Defreitas off the third, the match was as good as over. It is doubtful that Griffith guessed he’d finish a hero on his walk back to the pavilion after being dismissed for a duck in Derbyshire’s innings.

 

Lancashire should have remembered Griffith, for he had made his debut against them in 1988 in strange circumstances. The first day of the championship match had been on the Saturday, and Derbyshire had named an XI which excluded Griffith. However, bad weather drove had driven players off seconds before the first ball was bowled, and in the intervening Sunday league match Kim Barnett broke his nose while fielding. This prompted reference to Lords, and Lancashire agreed to allow a replacement for Barnett. Griffith responded by taking 4-47 and then by batting time out of the game as Lancashire’s spinning battery sought to skittle Derbyshire out on a wearing pitch.

 

Like many all-rounders, Griffith never really found fulfilment in either suit, and a First-class averages of 20 with the bat and 35 with the ball would have looked a lot better the other way around. His best season came in 1992, when his first sustained run in the side (and a promotion to no.6) saw him record his highest First class score (81) and his best ever bowling analysis 94-33). That season was the only one of two in which his batting average was higher (35.42) than his bowling average (24.86). The arrival of the Dean Jones/Les Stillman regime seemed to spell bad news for Griffith, as he only played irregularly. After his release towards the end of 1996, it was rumoured that Glamorgan were interested in signing him, although nothing came of it, and the Griffith-less Welsh county then went on to win the Championship in 1997.

 

Griffith’s medium pace and his liking for a boundaries off the spinners meant he was frequently at his all-round best on slower pitches. Considering his pace, athletic fielding and ability to hit a quick 20-30, it is surprising his impact in limited-overs cricket wasn’t more sustained, although an economy rate of just over 5 wasn’t ideal. An injury crisis led to Derbyshire recalling Frank Griffith for a Sunday match in 1999. Griffith is now cricket master at Chigwell school and is vice captain of Winchmore Hill in the Middlesex league.

 

(November 2005)

 


(Article: Copyright © 2005 Matthew Reed)

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