Lee Savident was a larger than life character in the Guernsey ranks who played for the island with distinction despite suffering more than most with injuries.
He played for the first time as a 16 year-old in the inter-insular match against fierce rivals Jersey, making 13 batting at three in a losing cause. In total although his career spanned 21 seasons he made just 51 appearances, often troubled by a back injury which required surgery.
The statistics of his international career don’t tell the full story of his influence on and off the field as his sheer weight of personality rubbed off on his team mates.
The Guernsey Cricket stats show that he holds the second highest runs aggregate for the Channel Islands – his haul of 1560 runs at 36.28 placing him second to Jeremy Frith who also holds the wickets aggregate record.
He made his highest score of 136 against France during the 2006 European Division Two tournament in France, whilst his other hundred came in 2009, when his unbeaten 102 helped them to a win against Jersey.
He was often seen at his best during these European tournaments, where he averaged 43.60, and towards the latter stages of his career, he also excelled in the World Cricket League where he made 748 runs at just under 40.
His runs were a major factor in Guernsey’s promotion push up the leagues, and he bowed out in 2014 on a high note, hitting an unbeaten 98 against the Cayman Islands, with his other fifties in the competition coming versus Malaysia, Gibraltar, Botswana and Fiji.
A medium-pace bowler, Savident’s aforementioned back problems limited his showings with the ball, his haul of 45 wickets at 24.36 hinting at what might have been.
Indeed, one can’t help but reflect what might have been for Savdident, who retired from professional cricket at the age of 23 with Hampshire, following just four first-class appearances in an injury blighted campaign.
Under the tutelage of Malcolm Marshall and Desmond Haynes there were hopes that he could forge a successful professional career, but alas it wasn’t to be.
Savident settled for a semi-professional career in the Hampshire League and acquitted himself well before returning to Guernsey colours.
A clearly talented sporting all-rounder, he played basketball and soccer at a decent level, and was also an accomplished darts player.
His psyche can best be summed up in an interview in 2013 with the Guernsey Evening Press, where he reflected on his career and the decision to quite Hampshire despite a two-year contract on the table.
“Looking back now and with the benefit of hindsight, I should have left Hampshire for another county when I had decent offers in front of me, but it never crossed my mind at the time.
“After all, Hampshire were the team I had supported as a boy and wanted to play for, so it would have been an incredibly hard moment if I had chosen to leave.
“Hampshire had just offered me a two-year contract, but with the injuries I had, I couldn’t be sure as to my fitness and didn’t want them to be wasting their money on me if I couldn’t play.”
A remarkable attitude in the often selfish world of professional sport, and another reason why Lee Savident is rightly regarded as a sporting giant in Guernsey.