Tom, loving training with senior Suffolk squadJuly 19, 2020
TOM Harper may not yet be 16, but he already has his sights set on playing for Suffolk and possibly professionally. The middle order batsman and off spinner has been attending net sessions with the senior side since impressing in Under-17 indoor nets in the winter.
Harper, who was born in California and lived in the USA for six years followed by a further five in Switzerland due to his father’s job, has lived just outside Framlingham since. The Woodbridge School student played at Easton for four years, before switching to Copdock & Old Ipswichian, where he spent the majority of last season playing for the 2nd XI.
He made three appearances at the end of last season in the Read Brothers East Anglian Premier League, taking two wickets in the last match versus Vauxhall Mallards.
Harper, who played for Suffolk Young Cricketers at Under-14 level and then for the Under-15s last season, had a series of one-to-one sessions with Suffolk head coach Andy Northcote during the winter. He was invited to attend indoor nets with the full Suffolk squad at Bury St Edmunds after impressing during Under-17 sessions.
He said: “I was buzzing – it was just great to be around everyone and
to bat alongside (former Suffolk captain) Adam Mansfield against the
Now attending outdoor net sessions at Copdock & OI CC with the senior squad, he observed: “The main difference I have noticed is the higher intensity.
“For example, everything is recorded on video and everyone is looking forward to hopefully being able to play in some matches and so prove their form and fitness.
“The most noticeable difference is when you are batting that you need to have a game plan. Most batsmen will have their preferred shots and know where they are going to score their runs, whereas at under-17 level you take each ball one at a time.
“Batsmen here know their strengths and weaknesses and they try to
put the bowler under pressure.
“The most important thing I have learnt is that you have to try to out-think the bowler. The mental side of the game is completely different.”
He has taken inspiration from the progress of Copdock & OI batsman Alex Oxley, who is a member of the Warwickshire Academy and who he is now training alongside for Suffolk. Oxley was aged 16 years and 60 days when he made his Minor Counties Championship debut for Suffolk against Northumberland in June 2017.
Harper, who does not turn 16 until August, is planning on going to Loughborough University to further his cricket education, added: “I would love to be a professional cricketer one day.”
WORDS AND IMAGES – NICK GARNHAM
Categorised in: Suffolk CCC