Blanch takes 50 wickets

JOHN Blanch - Clarence Valley cricket’s man of mystery – or so the story goes.

Premier League batsmen have tried to defuse the Westlawn’s bowlers ‘tweakers’ all season and each time have come unstuck.

Blanch has taken an astounding 50 wickets this season - a feat almost unheard of in any form of cricket.

Mystery continues to surround Blanch’s stock delivery.

It has been described as an orthodox off-spinner, leg spinner and even a chinaman but according to the man himself he simply bowls cutters.

“A lot has been said about what I bowl but I generally bowl left-arm off-cutters,” he says.

Blanch set the Premier League alight from day one when he took 6-24 against Brothers and with further hauls of 8-17 and 6-58 he is a certainty to feature in the Clarence River Cricket Association (CRCA)Awards Night.

When asked about his unheralded success this season the quietly spoken Blanch says respect, or a lack of it, has been a major factor for his wicket-taking heroics.

“Put simply, it comes down to the fact that batsmen don’t rate me,” says Blanch.

“I try and bowl a good line and length and wait for the batsmen to make a mistake.”

According to Blanch his now famous off-cutter was developed at the age of 16 when playing Fourth Grade in 1995/96 campaign. In that year Blanch took out the CRCA highest wicket-taker award with 30.

He experienced more success in 2007/08 when he again took out the bowling award with 26 wickets.

“I started my career as an inswing bowler and developed my off-cutter when I was 16 years old,” he says.

“Now I mostly bowl cutters and the odd delivery which swings back.”

Some big names have been on Blanch’s list of scalps this season, including Brothers’ Brad Robertson, Tucabia’s Matt Kroehnert, Easts’ Doug Harris and Tucabia White star Matt Pigg.

If you are talking batting bunnies, Brothers middle-order batsman Seb Dalton has been dismissed by Blanch on two occasions.

So who in Blanch’s mind is the prize wicket and the most difficult customer to send back to the pavilion?

“I rate Tucabia’s Matt Pigg as someone who is difficult to get out...he handles me better than most,” he says.

Like most typical bowlers Blanch is not overly concerned who is up the other end as long as he sends them packing.

“I enjoy the challenge of bowling and I don’t care who I am bowling too as long as I get them out,” Blanch says.

At Ellem Oval tomorrow Harwood will be keen to negate Blanch’s impact on the game - something other Premier League sides have failed to do.

If it’s any consolation for Harwood their record against Blanch is the best in the competition.

Blanch has taken only two wickets at the cost of 41 runs.

This could spell trouble when the two sides meet in the opening clash tomorrow.



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