A cricketer will bring the curtain down on his career tomorrow after 30 years with the same club and admits he “can’t imagine being anywhere else.”
Northwood Town’s Phil Carter first joined the Hertfordshire League outfit in 1975 and has spent just one season away since, captaining various sides for 11 years through the 1990s, and says club mates have been “like a second family to him”.
Carter, 51, will hang up his boots after tomorrow’s Division Eight clash with Berkhamsted Seconds and will do so as the club’s leading run-scorer and having claimed 993 wickets prior to his enforced retirement from bowling.
“I’ve enjoyed belonging to the club, the cricket was great and they played at a good level, particularly back in the day,” Carter reflected. “I’ve got a lot of friends – past and present – at the club. They’re like a second family to me and I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.”
He continued: “I’ve got so many great memories: promotion from Division Two in 1985 with one of the best teams I’ve ever played in; being captain of the promotion-winning team from Division Three to Division Two in the 2000s and my time as captain overall. We’ve also had some great tours and we used to host benefit games for former Middlesex players too.”
Born in Northwood, Carter lives in Watford and admitted the decision to retire after 30 years with the club had been looming on the horizon.
“I think the main reason – and I could play on – is that I’m not one for the nets in the off-season and we start in the nets in January. But, come April/May time when the sun is coming out and I’ve got the sun on my back, I’m excited again but that changed this year,” admitted Carter.
“I like my football too, so normally I don’t miss cricket for Watford matches. However, the last couple of years that’s started to change and I’ve missed a few more games to watch Watford games.
“Obviously during the summer I’ll be down there as often as possible but when the football season starts up again, I’ll be going to as many Watford games as I can manage.”
Batting at number four or five following his retirement from bowling, Carter has taken 100 wickets in a season four times and has also claimed a remarkable four hat-tricks in his career to – officially – leave him seven wickets short of 1000.
“I’ve not bowled for about 16 or 18 years but when I gave up I was captain and I was trying to concentrate on that so it was probably good timing,” admitted Carter.
“To come so close to 1000 and not reach it was a bit annoying but we went on a lot of tours back in the day and they didn’t count those in the averages – they seem to now – so I reckon I’m probably well over the 1000 with tours included but I’m not one to grumble.”
Ahead of his final game, Carter admits he will “miss” playing on a Saturday but has every intention of remaining an active member of the club.
“I’m going to miss it but I’m going to stay as involved as time allows and give something back,” he said.
“The newer members have been great and really bought into the ethos of the club but it would be nice to keep the standards we set high. I will probably umpire or score if they ask me to.”