Sport

Lord's almighty

by
August 08, 2017

Many people dream it, but very few get to achieve it, unless you are Tallygaroopna export Ryan Sidebottom.

Sidebottom has delivered in spades during his first-class cricket debut for Warwickshire in England at Lord’s.

Playing at the home of cricket, the former Karramomus fast bowler rose to the occasion, tearing through Middlesex’s batting line-up and claiming figures of 4-29.

Middlesex’s initial collapse fell at the hands of Sidebottom who was plucked from the Birmingham League, where he took 8-33 for Warwickshire Second XI, against Northants seconds, two weeks ago.

Sidebottom, who holds a United Kingdom passport, looked like he belonged, despite it being only his second first-class match, sending down a maiden debut over.

Sidebottom first trapped Josh Simpson leg-before for two and bowled Nathan Sowter for a duck, before making light work of tail-enders Tom Helm (2) and Tim Murtagh (4).

The 27-year-old could not believe the opportunity that had fallen his way.

‘‘Today (Sunday) has been an unbelievable experience. I’ve never been to Lord’s before, let alone played here. In fact, it’s my first time in England this summer,’’ Sidebottom said.

‘‘I was thinking about trying to get to Lord’s to watch the England v South Africa Test a few weeks back, but it didn’t happen — and now I’m playing here.’’

It has been a long time between drinks for Sidebottom, whose only previous first-class game came more than four years ago for Victoria in Tasmania.

Since then, Sidebottom has not only played across the country, but also in England and according to the seamer nothing compared to donning the whites at Lord’s.

‘‘It’s an incredible place, with such an aura. I’ve played a bit at the MCG back home, and that’s a wonderful stadium, but it’s more of a colosseum whereas Lord’s has a completely different aura with so much history all around you,’’ Sidebottom said.

In what has been a whirlwind four months for Sidebottom, the former Victorian Premier cricketer amassed 45 wickets in 16 games for Carlton before heading to England in April, and now he is lining up alongside some of the country’s best.

Across from him in the Warwickshire change rooms is his captain and one of England’s most prolific batsmen, Ian Bell, and fellow Test players Chris Woakes and Jeetan Patel.

‘‘It’s all happened really quickly. I came over to England to play club cricket and try to break into the county game. It’s great to be given this chance,’’ Sidebottom said.

Former Bloods teammate Chris Keady was full of praise for the export, but was not surprised he had delivered on his first outing for Warwickshire.

‘‘I am stoked, I knew he was playing, but didn’t realise when. That is great news,’’ Keady said.

‘‘I’m actually not surprised, he always had the pace and now he has become a little quicker, a little bigger and stronger.

‘‘It is a fantastic effort, his form for Victoria’s second 11 has been good and it’s great to see that he has continued that on.’’

Keady still has memories of facing the then 21-year-old in the nets and there was fire on his deliveries back then.

‘‘I used to wait until he went into bat and then I would go and bat with him,’’ Keady said with a laugh.

‘‘He was quick and you always have to be on your guard. Hopefully when he comes back to Australia he can land himself a first-class contract with Victoria again.’’

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