By CONRAD SUTCLIFFE
SOMERSET batsman Tom Lammonby is back home in Exeter for a few weeks reflecting on a dramatic opening chapter to his First Class career.
Lammonby, who was 20 in June, has been part of the Somerset set-up for more than four years and worked his apprenticeship in second-team cricket and Minor Counties games with Devon.
His Somerset handlers judged the time was right to pitch Lammonby into the First Class arena in the Bob Willis Trophy tournament, which filled the gap left by the cancellation of the County Championship. He did not disappoint.
Lammonby was an ever-present member of the Somerset side that went all the way to the competition final at Lord’s, where he scored his third First Class century in successive games.
Lammonby, who moved up the order to open the batting, topped the Somerset aggregates and averages with 459 runs at exactly 51.
The 116 Lammonby scored against Essex at Lord’s followed tons against Worcestershire and Gloucestershire in the previous two matches.
Although Essex were declared trophy champions having won on first-innings, Lammonby said nothing could top the feeling of making a hundred at the home of cricket.
“Making a hundred at Lord’s in only my sixth First Class game was very special indeed,” said Lammonby, who was a student at Exeter School before becoming a professional cricketer.
“At the end of the first day, having been out third ball for a duck, I was wondering whether Lord’s was the ground for me?
“Cricket can be a fickle game at times, but I had the confidence of scoring hundreds in the previous two games when I went out there the second time.
“We didn’t win the final, but we could hold our heads up high for the way we played over all five days.
“I hope my performance made my parents proud –and all at the Exeter club and everyone who has helped me over the years.”
Three centuries in succession have got the cricket pundits speculating where Lammonby’s career might go? He played under-19 cricket for England – and skippered the side in two four-day Tests against Bangladesh in 2019.
Inevitably there are predictions of big things to come from Lammonby, not that he is taking that much notice.
“You always have hopes but I don’t want to get ahead of myself,” said Lammonby.
“At the start of this season my hope was to work hard enough at training and in the nets to get a chance in the first team at Somerset.
“It has been great to play for Somerset and score some runs that have helped them win games.
“There is no way I could have foreseen how things were going to work out.”
Lammonby comes from cricketing bloodstock as dad Glenn, uncle Derek, granddads Robert and Derek and cousin Will have all played, either in the UK or Australia, where the Lammonby tribe comes from.
It was inevitable Tom would follow in his father’s footsteps into the Exeter club and from the age of eight or nine onwards his cricket apprenticeship started.
Lammonby junior was quickly picked up by the Devon age-group selectors and was in the under-10 squad by the age of eight. A hundred against Essex under-11s at the 2012 ESCA Festival in Taunton was a foretaste of things to come …
Age-group cricket with Devon exposed the young Lammonby to the best the rest of the county had to offer – and trips to India, Bangladesh, South Africa and Australia broadened his horizons.
“Playing age-group cricket against the best of your contemporaries helps develop your competitive edge,” said Lammonby.
“Playing Minor Counties cricket with Devon was another step-up. The chance to play three-day cricket against experienced men players made me more game aware.
“It was a place to learn how to build an innings in a three-day game.
“Overseas ours with England and Somerset, and a winter in Australia playing club cricket, gave me experience of different conditions, something you just can’t replicate indoors.”
Lammonby said cricket challenges can and do come from the most unexpected places, such as midweek games with and against the Devon Dumplings.
“The trickiest bowler I faced was Bernie Wilson, a wily old spinner who knew exactly what he was doing and did it consistently,” said Lammonby of the 73-year-old retired Dumpling.
Lammonby had hoped to spend a chunk of the winter in Australia, playing Grade cricket in and around Perth. Covid restrictions have put paid to that idea.
Instead, it’s a few weeks at home with mum Jill and dad Glenn before reporting back for training at Taunton on November 2.