Friday, November 25th, 2022


Worcestershire pace bowler Ben Gibbon is determined to build on an encouraging breakthrough year as a professional cricketer.

The left-arm bowler was delighted to play seven LV=Insurance County Championship matches, including the last four of the campaign in September and five in the Royal London Cup.

It came after Gibbon made his mark in Seconds cricket during the first part of the season, including 12 wickets against Somerset Seconds at Stourport in a 10-wicket win.

The 22-year-old produced some excellent spells to confirm his promise after signing following a trial period with the Seconds at the end of the 2021 season.

Gibbon showed his resilience and willingness to bowl for lengthy spells, a trait he had learnt when playing National Counties cricket for Cheshire.

His best figures were 4-87 against Glamorgan at Cardiff, and he picked up three wickets during a deadly spell with the new ball in Nottinghamshire’s second innings at New Road.

Gibbon feels he is a better cricketer than the one who began the season, but he knows there is still much to learn.

He is aware of the need to produce the rhythm he often demonstrated in his later spells from the first time he enters the attack.

Here Ben Gibbon looks back at his first season and his targets for the winter – he is playing grade cricket in Australia – and next summer.

Q: In your first season, you played seven LV=Insurance County Championship and five Royal London Cup games, are you happy with that amount of cricket in your first season?

Ben Gibbon: “I would have taken that at the start of the season. Playing Championship cricket is something I wanted to do at the start of the year, and hopefully, there are many more games to come.”

Q: How big a challenge has that first 12 months been for you, stepping up into the professional game on a day-to-day basis?

Ben Gibbon: “It was a bit challenging at times, but I’ve enjoyed it on the whole. I’d not played much 50 over cricket before this year, and playing five List A games was enjoyable and a learning curve for me as well.

“By the end of the season, I was ready for a week or two off, but now I’ve had that, I’m ready to go again.”

Q: Clearly, bowling the number of overs you did in the National Counties cricket stood you in good stead?

Ben Gibbon: “It did probably help the overs under my belt before this year, and my body was sort of used to it a bit. 

“When we finished that last game of the season, I was ready for a bit of a break, but now I’m ready to get to Australia and get back to training and playing.”

Q: Were you encouraged by the way it went, a couple of four-wicket hauls, a couple of three-fors and a great spell new ball against Nottinghamshire at New Road?

Ben Gibbon: “I was happy overall with how it went. I would have taken it at the start of the year. But I want to come back next year, hopefully, start in the first team and put some more good performances in and get some more wickets next year.

“That spell against Nottinghamshire, there was a bit of luck involved, with one caught down the leg side, but it was one of those where luckily, I put the ball in the right areas for long enough.

“I walked away from that Nottinghamshire game thinking ‘I’ve bowled better this year and got a none-for’ but in that game, I picked up a three-for, so that’s how the game works sometimes.”

Q: What is the biggest difference from National Counties League cricket?

Ben Gibbon: “The main difference is there is no margin for error, but, with the pitches, they don’t do as much, and that means your consistency has got to be a lot better.

“By playing on club wickets, you can get away with it, but, now that I’m playing on first-class wickets, the margin for error is a lot smaller than it has been.”

Q: You ended on a real positive note by playing the last four Championship matches?

Ben Gibbon: “It was a good run in the first team to finish the season, and, if we had won a couple more games, we could have been right up there. The weather did us no favours, and we played a lot of good cricket.”

Q: You got a lot of wickets in Seconds which helped to get you noticed?

Ben Gibbon: “I knew I was going to start the season in the second team, but then it was just a case of can I get as many wickets as I can, and bowling well.

“Lucky enough I did that, I finished with seven first-class games, which, as I said, I would have taken at the start of the year.”

Q: The game sticks out, is the one at Derby when you bounced back with a marathon spell in very hot weather?

Ben Gibbon: “That has happened a lot this year. At the start of my spell, I didn’t bowl too well but then dragged things back, which is one of the things I need to work on this winter.

“I need to start my spells like I bowl in the second half of the spell. I need to bowl well first half and keep it going. That is what I’m trying to work on this winter.

“I’ve been brought up bowling long spells, but, in first-class cricket, if you ease into it, you are going to get taken off, and you will get dealt with.

“I want to be on the mark straight away rather than giving it three or four overs to get into it. 

“Once I’m into it, I know I can bowl well but the hardest thing for me is starting the spell well and then carrying on, which is one thing I will learn going overseas this winter and playing.”

Q: You enjoying bowling long spells like Joe Leach?

Ben Gibbon: “Well, Joe comes from Minor Counties as well. That’s what I did in Minor Counties, bowl 17 to 20 over spells which, on club decks, you can get away with bowling bad balls here and there.

“Now I’m playing on first-class wickets that are flat, against better batters, on quicker outfields; that is another difference between last year and this year for me.”

Q: Who are the most challenging people you’ve bowled at?

Ben Gibbon: “Shan Masood at Derby, he was difficult to bowl at, just the way that even your best ball would go for one or two.

“But that is the difference between first-class cricket and international cricket class players. They take the good balls for one or two.”

Q: Has anyone in particular been a big help this last 12 months?

Ben Gibbon: “Speaking to Alan (Richardson) has helped my game a lot and also people like Joe (Leach) and Charlie (Morris), chatting to all the bowlers really because they’ve got more experience than me.

“Just speaking to them about how to go about things. I feel I’m a better cricketer now than I was at the start of the year.”

Q: You had two four wicket hauls, is that first five-for your next target?

Ben Gibbon: “I was thinking at the start of the year that if I got one in my first season, I would have done really well.

“It didn’t happen, but hopefully, I will get one next season early doors in the season.”

Q: You are heading off to Australia to play, is that part of the learning curve as well?

Ben Gibbon: “Yes. I’ve been once before, in 2018-2019, when I played in Victoria, and that was an outstanding experience, and I came back a lot better cricketer than when I went out.

“The experience of bowling overs every Saturday, training twice a week, it can only be a good thing for your cricket.

“This is my first time in Perth.”

Q: There will be a lot of competition amongst the bowlers next year, with Charlie Morris, Joe Leach and Adam Finch amongst those to add to the bowlers who finished the season? 

Ben Gibbon: “It can be tough to get into the team at times with the quality bowling we’ve got, but it’s a healthy challenge, competition, to push your game forward and get into the first team as much as you can.”