Hannah Jones: Latest left-arm spinner to make waves in the North West
Lancashire Cricket’s recent history is littered with success stories when it comes to left-arm spinners
You could name a bucketful across both the women’s and men’s game. And Hannah Jones is certainly working her way to a prominent place on the list.
Sophie Ecclestone, Alex Hartley, Simon Kerrigan and Stephen Parry have all progressed through to senior England honours during the last 10 years.
Then there is County Championship winner Gary Keedy and current Red Rose men’s duo Tom Hartley and Jack Morley, who are making a name for themselves just like 22-year-old Jones is.
A product of Didsbury Cricket Club, Jones is one of the Thunder’s five contracted players for 2021, with her game progressing at a rate of knots.
She has starred in regional cricket, played for the Manchester Originals in the Hundred and has, in the last fortnight, played for England’s A team against the touring New Zealanders.
In that 50-over match, a victory for the fledgling England side at Derby, she claimed 2-40 from nine overs.
“I was really surprised when I heard about the call-up - I wasn’t expecting it at all,” said Jones. “It was a great experience playing in that game.
“It was a bit different (playing against an international team) to what I’m used to, but I didn’t think of anything else other than just sticking to what I do best.”
Thunder coach Paul Shaw recently revealed that they call Jones ‘the quiet performer’ because of the way she just gets on with the job with no fuss.
But the progression of her game, indicated by that England A call, suggests there is likely to be a bit more noise surrounding the talented twirler over the next couple of years.
“We had a good winter’s training, which pushed me on,” continued Jones, who has taken 20 wickets in as many appearances this summer for Lancashire’s women, the Thunder and the Originals.
“I’ve never played as much cricket as I have done this year. I certainly feel like I have improved my game a lot.”
The name of Stephen Parry was aforementioned. Here is a Lancashire favourite who retired from playing last summer and moved straight into coaching with the Thunder.
He has played a key role in helping Jones progress.
“I’ve never had a specialised bowling coach to work with before, and he’s been great with me,” she said.
“He and the other spinners, Alex and Sophie, have helped me so much with tactics and fielding positions.”
Jones played four times in the Hundred, returning a best of 3-17 from 20 balls in a group stage win over beaten finalists Southern Brave at Emirates Old Trafford.
“It was brilliant, I loved it,” she said of the inaugural competition before turning her attention to Thunder matters ahead of the final few weeks of the season.
There was recent disappointment in the Charlotte Edwards Cup T20 competition as two defeats and a tie in three games meant they missed out on Finals Day qualification having returned from the break for the Hundred sitting top of the Group Two table.
They now turn their attention to Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy action.
On Friday, they face defending champions and current league leaders Southern Vipers at Sale (10.30am) in the first of three remaining games.
There are a maximum of five points for a win, including a bonus point, with the top team advancing straight to the late September final at Northampton and the second and third placed teams playing off in an effective semi-final.
“We’ve had some brilliant wins so far this season,” added Jones. “If we do our basics well, we have a good chance of getting a few more.
“Vipers are a good side, but we are confident.”