Name: Ian Thomas
Profile: RHB, RFM
Tweet dis: Smell-the-leather fast bowler and let’s-get-them-in-boundaries batter. Some kind of deity in India and not related to Ian Austin. Honest.
Pen portrait: Fast bowlers are supposed to be scary and larger than life. Barrelling in during his early Noughties pomp (any resemblance to Lancashire’s Ian Austin being purely coincidental), Ian Thomas was certainly both. He could put the frighteners on GCC new boys as well as the opposition. Since he always gave 110%, Ian was probably the player a Gardeners debutant most wanted to impress. A “well bowled” from Thommo, said as gruffly as his famous sledge (“It’s red, it’s round; I bowl it, you nick it!”), meant a lot.
His 5-15 off nine overs in 2001 against Harrowdene was the club’s best bowling at the time. Characteristically, Ian’s wickets came in a three-over burst when the opposition were on top. Thommo went on to win bowler of the year, with 15 wickets at 19 off 75 overs, taking our only scalp against the mighty Rajasthan Select – surprising, that, given the religious hold he was reputed to have had over the locals; surely they should have sacrificed their wickets to him? He was a raging bullock in 2002, too: 13 wickets at 13, and broken bail against The Gents.
Wearing his sun hat sombrero-fashion, Ian batted like a bandito: he shot from the hip and, swivelling on a pull, it looked as if his arms were caught in a poncho. He was batsman of the year in 2000 – his unbeaten 64 against Flitch including six through the pavilion window in 120-run partnership with Pete Chambers (82).
A contemporary adjunct for Ian’s bowling might be Australia’s Ryan Harris: always at you when he’s firing, but hardly ever on the field. Still, Thommo’s two in two balls against Pretenders in 2010 was a flashback to his glory days, giving us a glimmer of hope in a game that would ultimately slip away. Long ago in 2002, against LNER at Toddington Manor, Ian had taken 3-9 off six overs, prompting Rupert Watson to write “hall of fame stuff” in his match report. And so it was. RC
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