Its been emotional: Graham Napier reflects on a memorable last season with Essex

Graham Napier

Graham Napier - Credit: Archant

Essex legend Graham Napier reflected on the most emotional season of his career, as he gets set to retire with a Division Two County Championship title-winning medal under his belt.

The 36-year-old took the decision to hang his bat up at the start of the campaign, and will begin a new career as director of The Graham Napier Cricket Academy, at Royal Hospital School, in a fortnight’s time.

However, before then, he has the small matter of lifting the Second Division title with Essex, at Kent, later this week, the club returning to Division One after a six-year-absence, having sealed the title against Glamorgan, despite a home defeat, a week ago.

“I have no regrets about retiring and I have had the mindset since the start of the season that this would be my final year and I wanted to go out there and made sure I did not leave anything in the tank,” said Colchester-born Napier.

“I have managed to stay fit all year round, I have been performing well and I have been taking wickets, so it’s a great way to end my career. It’s definitely been the most emotional season of my career as there have been so many ups and downs, knowing I would be playing at some great cricket grounds for the very last time, getting some great results in the County Championship and losing two quarter-finals.”

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Napier will miss Essex’s final game starting today at Kent, despite being a regular fixture for the club this season, having picked up a slight injury, but will ensure he does not miss out on celebrating what has been a marvellous season for Chris Silverwood’s side.

“I have picked up an injury but I will be there at Kent when the ECB present the team with the trophy and I am sure I will have one or two glasses of champagne with my team-mates,” revealed Napier, who is retiring along with another great Essex servant, prolific bowler, David Masters.

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“We always say in pre-season what our plan is for the forthcoming year and inevitably it does not always work out.

“With the side we have had for six or seven years, we have always had belief, but we have not always got over the line.”

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