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Bob Willis Trophy

Eight young spinners who stood out in round one of the Bob Willis Trophy

by Henry Clark 3 minute read

With the English domestic season starting much later than usual this year, the opening round of the Bob Willis Trophy has seen spin bowling play a bigger role than it may have usually done in the early games of years gone by.

We take a look at eight young spinners who have shone for their counties so far in the competition.

Daniel Moriarty (Surrey)

5-64 versus Middlesex

Born in Reigate, 21-year-old Dan Moriarty has represented South Africa at Under 19 level and earned himself a contract with Surrey after taking 12 wickets for the county’s second team last summer.

Moriarty’s left-arm spin helped give Surrey a chance of staying in their opening Bob Willis Trophy game at The Oval by removing all five of Middlesex’s top-order on debut. His 5-64 included former England opener Sam Robson and Nick Gubbins, who made 192 in the first innings.

Callum Parkinson (Leicestershire)

2-32 & 3-30 versus Lancashire

Twin brother of Lancashire leggie Matt, Callum Parkinson has made a real impression at Leicestershire after developing in both the Lancashire and Derbyshire academy setups.

His accurate left-arm spin accounted for two wickets against his former side in the first innings before the 23-year-old spun his side into a strong position by taking 3-30 which included the wickets of the experienced pair of Alex Davies and Lancashire captain Dane Vilas.

Thilan Walallawita (Middlesex)

1-76 & 1-33 versus Surrey

It’s been quite a journey to this point for the 22-year-old left-armer who was keen to thank his club side, Potters Bar Cricket Club, after dismissing the former England opener Mark Stoneman for his maiden first-class wicket.

Thilan Walallawita, who survived the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 aged just six before moving to England from Sri Lanka aged 12, also removed Scott Borthwick with his off-spin.

After impressing in the club’s academy and being the leading wicket-taker in the club’s second team last season, Walallawita, nicknamed ‘The Wizard’ by his teammates, was rewarded with a first professional contract in January by the club.

Marcus O’Riordan (Kent)

42*& 3-71 versus Essex

England under 19 spinner Hamidullah Qadri made his Kent debut in their opening Bob Willis Trophy game against Essex but it was Marcus O’Riordan who stole the show by taking 3-71 in the first innings at Chelmsford. He followed that up with an unbeaten 42 at number eight in the first innings against an Essex attack including Jamie Porter and Simon Harmer.

The 22-year-old off-spinning all-rounder graduated through the Kent academy at the same time as England batsman Zak Crawley before earning a professional contract last season after some impressive performances for the Kent second team.

Jack Carson (Sussex)

2-15 & 3-37 versus Hampshire

Born in County Armagh, Ireland, Jack Carson was drafted into the Sussex academy by former Sussex and Ireland batsman Ed Joyce who heard about 11-year-old Carson’s 121 not-out in the All-Ireland Cup final.

Since then the 19-year-old has developed into a fine right-arm off-spinner at Sussex for whom he made his debut for in their Bob Willis Trophy victory over Hampshire.

Carson followed up 2-15 in the first innings with a further three wickets in the second innings to steer his side to victory in Hove.

Mason Crane (Hampshire)

3-23 & 3-46 versus Sussex

Mason Crane remains one of England’s brightest prospects in the spin bowling department despite the baptism of fire which was his Test debut in the 2017-18 Ashes tour to Australia aged just 21.

After a difficult spell with injuries including a stress fracture to his back, the leggie will be keen to prove his critics wrong in the Bob Willis Trophy and got off to a fine start against Sussex claiming six wickets in Hampshire’s defeat.

Kieran Bull (Glamorgan)

3-112 versus Somerset

Back injuries have stalled Kieran Bull’s progress at Glamorgan but the right-arm offie will be hoping that the Bob Willis Trophy will be the perfect time to get his career back on track after bursting onto the scene by taking four wickets on debut against Kent in 2014.

The oldest member of this list at 25-years-old, Bull claimed 3-112 against Somserset including captain Tom Abell which he hopes will spell the end to his injury nightmare in recent times.

Tom Hartley (Lancashire)

3-117 versus Leicestershire

The 22-year-old left-arm spinner signed professional terms with Lancashire ahead of the 2019 season but has had to wait until their opening game of the Bob Willis Trophy against Leicestershire to make his first-class debut.

As the hosts amassed a huge first innings score, Tom Hartley led the Red Rose’s attack with 3-117 including the prize scalp of Hassan Azad, leading run-scorer in the County Championship Division Two last season.

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