Bourne Cricket Club product keeps ticking off milestones as runs and wickets stack up
Easter Day will mark a new season of work for Thurlby cricketing prospect Joey Evison.
The 18-year-old all-rounder, a product of Bourne Cricket Club (CC), could well find himself in the starting XI for Nottinghamshire as their new county championship fixtures start with an East Midlands derby at home to Leicestershire.
Evison has seen his batting and bowling stock soar in just a matter of months, helping England to Plate Final success at the ICC (International Cricket Council) Under-19 World Cup in South Africa last month.
Less than five months earlier, Evison signed a three-year professional contract with Nottinghamshire after he became the first player born in the 2000s to make his first class debut for the county against Warwickshire last September.
Evison said: "The last couple of years I've worked really hard to get myself to where I am today, especially with signing my first professional contract with Nottinghamshire.
"To then go with England to the Under-19 World Cup and perform like I did stands me in good stead for the season."
Evison and England had to bounce back from losing their first two group matches against West Indies and Australia before beating Nigeria to progress through to the consolation Plate quarter-finals.
There England beat Japan, Zimbabwe and then Sri Lanka in the Plate Final by a decisive 152 runs to finish the ninth best nation in the 16-team tournament.
"We had the West Indies, Australia and Nigeria in our group, with our first game against the West Indies who we had played in a tri-nations tournament in Antigua during December 2019," Evison said.
"Having beaten them twice out of the three times we'd played them, we were confident of beating the West Indies again.
"But the pitches in South Africa suited their batting style and we lost by 71 runs.
"Then we had a crucial group game against Australia, probably one of the best games of cricket I've been part of.
"It kept on swinging back and forth until it came down to the last ball, with Australia winning by two wickets.
"As a team, we didn't play well in the first two group games, but the more you lose is the more you learn.
"Our final group game was against Nigeria who we beat by eight wickets to go through to the Plate competition which we won.
"It's always nice to win silverware and having won the rest of our games once we knew we couldn't qualify for the Trophy competitionshowed that we were mentally strong as a team and improving as a side."
Evison's cricketing journey started when he was taken by his dad to the junior sessions held at Bourne CC's junior sessions held at their Abbey Lawn ground on Friday nights.
"My grandad and dad both played for Bourne so I grew up watching them at the side of the cricket pitch," Evison said.
"I played cricket, football, hockey and rugby from the age of six or seven, including football for Peterborough United's junior team until the age of 13.
"But I wanted to focus on cricket, hockey and rugby because I'd reached county hockey standard for Cambridgeshire and played rugby for Leicester Tigers.
"Then Leicester Tigers offered me a place in their academy while I was playing second team cricket for Nottinghamshire.
"I was probably further on in my cricketing career so I chose Nottinghamshire over Leicester Tigers."
Evison's decision appears to have been the right one when you consider his growing list of achievements:-
- The youngest player to be selected for Nottinghamshire's first team since 2001;
- Scored the fastest under-19 one-day innings 50 for England against Sri Lanka in December 2019, reaching his half-century in jut 18 balls;
- The youngest cricketer, aged just 13, to play in the first team at Stamford School and the youngest-ever first team centurion, aged 14;
- Holds the record for overall runs scored for Stamford's first team with a total of 2,466;
- Broke Nottinghamshire's under-15s batting record, scoring 1,270 runs at an average of 61;
- One of the youngest centurions in Nottinghamshire Premier League history, scoring 113 as a 15-year-old for the Academy side.
"I found out the first day after I'd batted for Nottinghamshire against Warwickshire that I was the first player born in the 2000s to represent the county in first-class cricket," Evison said.
"I remember when I found out that I'd been selected for the game because I was in the common room at Stamford School during break time.
"Nottinghamshire head coach Peter Moores rang me and I thought: 'Why on earth is he ringing me?'
"Peter said: 'I want to put you in the County Championship squad for the next game against Warwickshire.
"At the start of last season, I had set a target of making my debut for the first team and so to have gotten the reward of playing both first-class and England under-19 cricket has been a huge surprise to me, but a very nice one."
Evison's development has been guided primarily by Moore, Nottingham's Elite Pathway manager Matt Wood and Stamford School's director of cricket, ex-England international bowler Dean Headley.
"Peter has been brilliant for me and Matt, who has been my coach from a very young age when he worked for Lincolnshire Cricket, has helped me get to where I am today.
"Things are going really well with Peter who is one of the best coaches in the country.
"I think of him as a library to pick things from that I want from him, while also working things out for myself.
"Dean has also supported me in terms of facilities and having some input into my game so that if I need him, he's always there.
"But even though I play for Nottinghamshire, Bourne will always be where I started growing up as a cricketer and where I found the sport."