It was sad to read that the youngest ever first-class player in the history of English county cricket retired at the age of just 19. Yorkshire wicketkeeper-batsman Barney Gibson hit the headlines in 2011 when he made his first-class debut against Durham University. His debut came just 27 days after his 15th birthday!
Sadly the fairytale does not have a happy ending, having spent the past four years playing second XI cricket, Gibson has announced his retirement to pursue other career opportunities.
In his only first-class match at Durham University Grounds, Gibson took six catches in the match and scored 1 not out batting at No.11.
People are bound to say that this is proof that he was not ready for the grind of first class cricket and was promoted too soon. Sadly sport is littered with young players who only get that one opportunity, and many many more who never get that chance.
At the time Martyn Moxon the Director at the Yorkshire academy was quoted as saying, “When you look at the first team at Yorkshire there are a lot of lads who have come through our academy, but Barney is obviously very advanced for his years, and it’s amazing that he is playing so young.”
All this does is confirm Arsenal Coach Arsene Wenger’s long held belief that no matter how talented a young player is you can never guarantee that he will go on and make a career from sport at the highest level.
Many will see this as a brave decision by Gibson, but having failed to break through into the first team again, he faced the tough question of staying, hoping that his break would come, or turning his back on cricket and pursuing another long term career. He is to be commended for the decision he has made.
Gibson will now be consigned to a Quiz night trivia question, but hopefully he will remember his time with Yorkshire fondly and can now focus on a new chapter in his life.