Thomson promises tall tales for night in Maclean
CRICKET: For more than a decade he was considered the fastest bowler in the world, but now Australian seamer Jeff Thomson is using his time to get children on the fast track.
One half of one of the greatest bowling duos in Australian cricketing history with Dennis Lillee, Thomson was a man feared the world around.
But according to the seamer, who took 200 wickets in Test cricket, times have changed.
Through his work with leading speaker's groups, Thomson has travelled the world as an inspirational speaker and his next stop is Maclean Bowling Club, where he will be a special guest along with former Baggy Green teammate Doug Walters tonight.
"I remember as a kid, when the former players would come to town it would a massive occasion, and you used to hang off every word,” Thomson told The Daily Examiner.
"Whether they think that, or they think I'm just another old fart swapping stories from before the war, who knows.
"At least it will be more exciting than seeing Steve Smith or David Warner.”
Thomson and Walters will share stories of the old days at the dinner, which has been organised by the Maclean Bowling Club in an effort to raise funds for a group of dedicated junior cricketers to tour England later this year.
The group, which includes Osca Pilon, Joel Imeson, Sean McFarlane, Troy McFarlane, Tom Mullins and Luke Lambert, will tour the UK as part of the 2018 Vikings Junior Cricket Development Tour led by the brother of Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon, Brendan.
Fellow Lower Clarence junior representative Tilly Dawson will also embark on a development tour to the UK which mirrors what the boys will be involved in.
The tours last for 15 days and will include at least seven matches against junior sides across the UK. It is expected to help the juniors enhance their skills in a foreign environment and against a foreign style of play.
Thomson said it was a fantastic opportunity for the emerging cricketers that would not have happened in his day.
"No way that would have happened, you were lucky to get a trip up the road when I was a youngster,” he said. "It is a great opportunity for the young players, but it is only what they make of it themselves. They need to take the initiative.”
But according to tour organiser Tracey McFarlane there was no worry of the message getting missed.
"This group of boys have been excited for this trip from the minute they knew about it,” McFarlane said.
"They have done so much work for it, most of them have picked up part-time jobs, helped with the Lions club, and held their own fundraisers.
"These boys believe that they can earn their funds by giving back to the community who has supported them.”
While on the tour, the players will visit the spiritual home of cricket, Lord's, where they will tour the ground and face the music in the ground's training nets.
Thomson hinted that there could be a story or two from the dressing rooms at Lord's that he shares at the dinner tonight, along with a few about the antics of himself and Walters.
"It is great that Doug is going to be there as well, we have been great friends for years,” he said.
"There is definitely a story or two, but you will have to come along to hear them.”
- The dinner begins at 6.30pm at Maclean Bowling Club. Tickets for the night are $75pp and can be bought from the club.