Peter Trego might be remembered as one of the best players of his era not to represent England. In Somerset, they will just prefer to extol him as a cult hero. Trego was an original, a cricketer of character, and such was his niche appeal that he even had a cricket bat designed in his honour, with the tattoos that covered his arms – birds, dice and a candy skull – used as motifs on the blade.
For the Somerset supporters who have treasured him, it is disturbing to consider that he was almost lost to the sport. An allrounder capable of destroying bowling on his day and a canny seamer who more than compensates in skill what he lacks pace, he abandoned cricket for a couple of years to play semi-professional football instead.
Trego followed in a long-tradition of big-hitting all-rounders at Taunton that includes the likes of Arthur Wellard, Ian Blackwell and Ian Botham. With one murderous innings, he disproved the suggestion by the comedian John Cleese, among others, that nothing worthwhile had ever come out of the seaside town of Weston-super-Mare. If his stand-out performance was a 54-ball century he thrashed against Yorkshire in 2009 to help Somerset chase 476 to win at Taunton – Trego called it “the innings of his life” – there have been many other days when success was more due to discipline, commitment and skill.
Somerset born and bred, Trego first appeared for the club’s second XI in 1997 and, having represented England U19 with some success, made his county first team debut in 2000. But while there were good days – in 2002 he made 140 in a tied match against West Indies A – it took some time for him to understand how best to exploit his abundant natural talents and he drifted out of the professional game at the end of 2002 aged only 22. A career that promised much looked as if it might be over before it had begun.
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