Smith signs for Essex, Masters extends contract

ESSEX have signed former Derbyshire all-rounder Greg Smith on a two-year deal until the 2013 season.

Smith, 28, is a right-handed batsman and a right-arm medium-fast bowler who moved to England from South African team Griqualand West in 2004 and has played 88 first-class matches taking 146 wickets and hitting 4,299 runs for the county.

Smith’s final game for Derbyshire was against Essex in the LV= County Championship at Chelmsford in August, where he struck 22 runs.

Smith said: “I would like to thank Essex, David East and Paul Grayson for giving me the opportunity to take my career to the next level. I am looking forward to joining up with the squad and working towards successful times with my new club and help to win silverware in the future.

“I would also like to thank Derbyshire for giving me the chance to move from South Africa to play in England and for the support I received from the supporters during my eight years with the club. I enjoyed my time with Derbyshire but the opportunity to come and play for Essex was too good to turn down.”

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Essex head coach Paul Grayson said: “Greg is a cricketer that I admire. He is a very talented all-rounder and has a great character for the dressing room which I feel will benefit us. He is a very good cricketer who will fit in well with the team and I look forward to working with him at Essex.”

Meanwhile, David Masters has extended his stay at The Ford County Ground for a further three years after an exceptional season in an Essex shirt. Masters, 33, finished as the highest wicket-taker in first-class county cricket with 93 wickets, which included a career best eight for 10 from 7.4 overs in the LV= County Championship against Leicestershire in 2011.

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Masters said: “I am very happy to have signed a new contract with Essex to take me up until the 2014 season.

“I have had a good year and the new deal takes it up to the later stages of my career which is ideal as I would like to finish my career at Essex.

“There are a crop of good, young cricketers coming through the club and I am looking to be part of this in the coming years where I believe we can win silverware. I am very happy to be part of this and to have extended my contract.”

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