RETIRED HURT HIB’S BAT IN ACTION
FOOTBALL’S OUT SO IT’S BACK TO CRICKET
RETIRING at 27 would leave most footballers with a huge void to fill – not former Peterborough striker Dave Hibbert, he has turned to cricket to get his fix.
Hibbert’s last appearance for Posh came in November 2010, a 4-1 win over Stockport County in the first round of the FA Cup, during which he dislocated his left kneecap and suffered a tear in his Achilles.
The initial prognosis ruled him out for the remainder of that season, but complications meant he went on to miss the entire 2011/12 campaign and he eventually hung up his boots last month.
It was a devastating end to a career that promised so much, but the former Port Vale striker has since returned home to Staffordshire and reignited his second love with Eccleshall CC.
“I have always been a massive cricket fan and had played from a young age. I’ve tried to play a few games each year aside from my football commitments,” said Hibbert, who made just 12 appearances for Posh.
“But now I’ve had to retire, playing for Eccleshall has taken my mind of it.
“I knew in November last year that I wasn’t going to be able to play football to the level I was lucky enough to play at before. I then found out where the nets were, moved back to the area and picking up a bat was a no-brainer.
“For the last two years I have been trying to come back. It’s been the most frustrating time of my life but I am so grateful for the chance to be involved in competitive sport.”
Hibbert was more than competitive on debut for Eccleshall, he smashed 91 in an opening stand of 156 with younger brother Tom as they beat Wedgwood and Stanfields on the first weekend of the season.
Amazingly it was the first time the brothers had spent any time in the middle together, but Hibbert hopes they will be seeing a lot more of each other.
“Tom and I had played in a few games before over the years but we’ve never had any consistent time in the middle together,” added Hibbert, who played more than 100 games in a three-year spell with Shrewsbury, in which he scored 30 goals.
“It was actually my first game for a few years because I was in America last summer getting treatment on my knee but our captain was impressed in the nets and gave me a chance opening up.
“I look to try and be aggressive from the off whereas my brother is a lot more protective of his wicket so I will take them on and it paid off in the opening game.
“It was fantastic to go out there with him and there was plenty of banter at the crease. The family were down watching and we managed to knock the runs off together.
“I can bowl as well but with my knee how it is my front leg that plants coming through still gives me discomfort and is quite sore so for the time being I will have to focus on batting.
“I’m also doing my Level II coaching badge to pass on my experiences from over the years. That sporting mentality and being able to dedicate yourself is something I can pass on.”
BAT AND BALL: Dave Hibbert in action during his Shrewsbury days. Inset: He’s now starring as a batsman with Eccleshall CC