RE­TIRED HURT HIB’S BAT IN AC­TION

FOOTBALL’S OUT SO IT’S BACK TO CRICKET

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Ryan Wal­ters

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.

Nets

“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.

Knee

“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.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

BAT AND BALL: Dave Hib­bert in ac­tion dur­ing his Shrews­bury days. Inset: He’s now star­ring as a bats­man with Ec­cle­shall CC

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