Thursday, 26 October 2017

Joe Thompson - fast bowler

He fast and bloody accurate and he's only 16 (2017)

Unfortunately I no longer play in the same team as Joe, he's destined for better things. Last year he played in the 3rd XI and missed out on being the highest wicket taker at our club Basildon and Pitsea cricket club by one wicket, the honour going to Anthony Ayres who is 2 years his senior and has a couple of years more playing and therefore experience. See the stats below with regards to their performances.

Joe's best performance to date...

Basildon & Pitsea 4th XI v Belhus 4th XI 4th July 2015

The weather looked as though it was going to be good after a week of really warm weather for the UK in the previous days, some days it was in the 36 - 37 degree centigrade region. But today it was going to be around 25 degrees with wall to wall sunshine.

Still no older son Ben as he was away for the weekend doing his Duke of Edinburgh silver award, walking in the Cotwolds for 3 days. Going into the game both Joe and I had been practicing, Joe was bowling well and I was still figuring out ways to bowl with my Achilles injury still not fully recovered.

Picked up Tim Brown on the way and arrived to hear that we had 11 players on the way. By the time we walked out on to the pitch to field it was evident that we'd probably be playing with just 9 players...

Lee Dutton, John Bedford, Jamie Britton, Tony Harms, Liam Harms, Tim Brown, Steve Bonnett, Joe and I (Thompson's).

Liam opened the bowling from the Birch Crescent end, I imagined that Joe would have then bowled from the Hall Lane end, but Lee threw the ball to me which I don't mind at all and think is a good tactic especially if I've not got an Achilles injury!

I'm now in a situation where I'm more familiar with the pitches that we play on having been the captain last year and this being the 3rd year I've played regularly in the 4th XI and I'm aware of which pitches offer turn off the wicket if you're spinning the ball and this is one of those that I've taken wickets on before and bowled quite well on. The pitch we played on had already been used by a youth team for 20 overs in the morning, so was scuffed up a bit and for me that only helps as a bowler.

Belhus put a couple of kids in first up which was good for us given that we only had nine players and Liam Bowled a good first over with a maiden and then generally bowled really well with his left arm seam up stuff. My bowling was average what with the Achilles injury and for most of the time I was approaching the crease a la' Terry Jenner at the end of his coaching career. I had numerous chances that either didn't go to hand, were dropped or just missed the top of the stumps by millimetres having beaten the bat (top-spinners). Liam had the chance of a second wicket that Joe went after at fine leg - loopy high ball, but would have had to have caught it over his shoulder, he got a hand to it, but wasn't able to keep hold of it. My only wicket was caught by Liam at mid-on - he and his Dad Tony are brilliant catchers in those positions, although Tony didn't quite get to one of mine which looked like it was a dolly in this match!

Some of my wides were ludicrous almost Tufnel-esque in their awfulness. But then interspersed with some half decent balls and some really good balls. Overall though considering the injury and the fact that I've had to adapt my bowling and bowl off a two step approach it went okay.

Then my younger son Joe (13 years old) was thrown the ball and the main event started. He's been practicing quite a bit over on the paddock, so has been grooving his action, he bowls a mixture of finger-spin (Off-breaks) and seam up. Bowling from the Hall Lane end he started this spell with the off-breaks which he bowls off of a fairly long run up and with some pace. In the first two overs he took a wicket for 2 runs including a wicket maiden. But then during the swap over from one bowler to the next the wicket keeper (Jamie Britton) suggested that he bowl seam up instead. 

Joe bowled superbly only giving away the odd run here and there and this is with only 9 players meaning that there were dirty great gaps in the field coupled with players (Including me at the moment what with the Achilles injury) that fall short of being Gibbe-sque or Collingwood-esque. In his first 6 overs he took 4 for 11 runs including a wicket maiden. He bowls an exceptionally good line and length on or just outside of the off-stump. He varies the length, but generally bowls a very good length at a reasonable pace making it very difficult to play the ball aggressively.

Joe in centre of image - Steve Bonnett nearest to camera.
Lee Dutton closest and John Bedford standing.
Below - Joe closest, Steve Bonnett in cap, Tim Brown in purple shirt and John Bedford scoring.
Joe waiting to bat
Lee Dutton

Joe leads the team off the pitching having taken 6 wickets for 15 runs, including 2 maidens off of 10.4 overs.

More recently I got to see him play in a game when I was moved up to the 3rd XI. This was against Leigh-on-Sea at their Ecko Sports and Social club just outside Southend here in Essex.

  See the link here for the game stat.

As far as I was concerned having played with him for the last 3 or 4 years in the 4th XI, this was just a generally good bowling performance by Joe, but as we walked away from the game one of our senior players was talking to me and he said... "In all the years that I've played 3rd XI cricket, I have never seen anyone bowl so fast and so accurately - that was exceptionally good bowling". 

The thing is, there's a lot more to come, only this summer towards the end of the season did he start to take it a bit more seriously, he's never been a watcher of cricket, but I noticed that he's now started to watch the master-classes by the fast bowlers on SKY TV and youtube. He also listens to senior players more and has started asking questions about different variations and tries them out when we practice over at the paddock. So for 2018 - bigger, stronger, faster and thinking about it more, who knows?


Loads of players were unavailable in the first league game of the season and I ended up in 2nd XI game with Joe see match report here.

Joe made a start with the best figures in the game and a wicket. Which currently puts him in joint 3rd place at the club along with a load of other people. It was touch and go whether he'd play this season because being almost 17 and at college, he needs to have some work experience under his belt and be earning a bit of money. The easiest option round our way is food outlets, but they generally insist on your working Saturdays, but somehow he's pulled it off and got them to agree to not give him Saturday shifts over the summer, so it looks like he'll play right through.

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