Last week I selected the five favourite umpires from my career.

And for my next offering I’m looking at another ‘top five’.

These are the players who had the ability to have a good first-class career, but for one reason or another it never really happened…

DENTON BROCK
Denton was my new-ball partner for Staffordshire and he was the Rolls Royce out of the pair of us.

He bowled absolute rockets and he could easily have become a professional cricketer on the county circuit.

We both went to Worcestershire on trial when we were young, but stumbled across a local hostelry, which probably didn’t help our chances.

In some cases it’s about being in the right place at the right time and there are some top players who have slipped through the net.

The stars were not aligned for Denton, pictured above, and there is no doubt about it, he could have had a very decent career on the first-class scene.

He had all the skills a fast bowler needs and when you went to play Newcastle & Hartshill you knew it was going to be horrible having to face him on their track.

TONY DUTTON
I played with Dutt a lot and he had great character, attitude, mindset – whatever you want to call it.

He possessed the attributes you required to be a success on the first-class circuit. He ticked all of the boxes.

Dutt had a bit of a dabble at Leicestershire in their seconds, but didn’t make the jump to become a first-class cricketer.

He would balance any side out with his batting and handy medium-pace bowling.

As a coach you look at players who are resilient and Dutt certainly falls into that category.

You want players to be competitive and I could see Dutt slotting in at six or seven in the batting order and then bowling a fair few overs as well.



Steve Dean is Staffordshire's record run scorer - in both Championship and one-day cricket.
Steve Dean is Staffordshire’s record run scorer – in both Championship and one-day cricket.

STEVE DEAN
Steve played a game or two for Warwickshire, but it could – and should – have been a whole lot more.

He was the most destructive batsman I played with for Staffordshire and he could change the game so quickly.

The reputation he earned meant that teams were on the back foot before he’d even faced a delivery.

Deany had a lot of confidence in his ability – as was proved by the fact he’d happily take on international bowlers in NatWest matches.

With the way cricket has evolved – and the introduction of Twenty20 cricket – it would be really interesting to see how Deany would have got on.

He was an extremely dangerous cricketer and with a longer spell on the first-class scene he could have had a very good career.

ROSS SALMON
It seems strange, looking back, that Ross didn’t play more than a handful of games for Staffordshire.

He could have stacked up a whole load of appearances for the county if it wasn’t for a duo named Dean and Cartledge at the top of the order.

Ross had undoubted quality, though. He once scored two centuries in one match for Staffordshire to prove the point.

If Staffs hadn’t been so strong, he could have had 70 or 80 games.

I played against Ross when he was at Ashcombe Park and he was always a tough cookie to get out.

And he had a whole range of shots which would have served him well on the first-class circuit.

JON ADDISON
Addo was a fantastic cricketer for Moddershall and played for a little bit at Leicestershire.

He played for England Under-19, which showed you what type of talent he was.

A top-quality batsman and excellent left-arm spinner, when he came to having all the tools for the pro game, Addo possessed them.

Addo featured in the golden age of Staffordshire cricket but to me he could have been featuring on the first-class circuit for a lengthy period of time.

So there you go. Those five are players who could have gone on to bigger and better things.

I’m sure, though, there are plenty of others which readers will feel could have made a career out of the great game.

By admin