The Ball that Took 10 for 49

Ian Thomson and the ball with which he took 10 for 49 against Warwickshire in 1964 alongside his Gillette Cup medal (no longer on display)

On Monday June 8, 1964, Ian Thomson, playing for Sussex against Warwickshire took all ten Warwickshire wickets for just 49 runs with Warwickshire getting just 196. He was the first Sussex bowler to take all ten wickets since G.H.Bland took 10 for 48 against Kent in 1889.  Yet Sussex ended up losing the match.

The game was played in Worthing as part of the Worthing Festival. First Sussex played Warwickshire and after the three day game took on Nottinghamshire. These two matches were to be the last ever games that Sussex played at the Manor Ground, Worthing. The Sussex team for h te Warwickshire game was: Ken Suttle, Richard Langridge, Les Lenham, Alan Oakman, Graham Cooper, Bob Pountain, Ian Thomson, Tony Buss, John Snow, Ron Bell and Terry Gunn.

The game began on Saturday June 6 in blustery conditions with rain threatening and eventually in mid-afternoon rain had stopped play and an early tea was taken. Following an inspection play was abandoned for the day with Warwickshire two wickets down for 102 runs. Thomson has taken both wickers: Horner caught and bowled for two and Ibadulla caught by Tony Buss for 17.

With no play in those days on Sundays, the game resumed on the Monday – a sunny but chilly day. Barber was soon out to Thomson, and then there were three more wickets in the next seventy minutes the four wickets had cost Thomson just seven runs. Cartwright managed to keep up one end whilst he watched as three more wickets went down to Thomson. Then Cartwright himself finally fell, stumped by Gunn. Thomson had taken all ten wickets and Warwickshire were out for 196.

Sussex went in to bat without  two of their stars who were on test duty, Ted Dexter and Jim Parks. They were all out for 120 in 57.5 overs with Brown taking four wickets. With a lead of 76 Warwickshire made 129 in their second innings leaving Sussex to get 206. Thomson had got 5 for 26.

With the rain from Saturday affecting the pitch, and the wicket breaking up, Sussex made just 23. Alan Oakman said it was the worst he had played in his seventeen year career but Thomson would never forget his extraordinary feat.

Thomson was a member of the Sussex side for fourteen seasons between 1952 and 1965. He took more than 100 wickets for every one of those season except the first and last season. If there was disappointment at losing the match against Warwickshire, the team more than made up for it by winning the Gillette Cup against Warwickshire with Thomson getting the Man of the Match award. His medal from that match is displayed along side the ball for the earlier County Championship game.

Thomson’s Man of the Match medal for the Gillette Cup Final 1964

Later that year Thomson was selected to represent the MCC on the tour to South Africa. He played in all five of the test matches.  Most wickets went to the spinners David Allen and Fred Titmus, with Thomson getting nine wickets at an average of 63. Thomson retired the following season, although he made a comeback to help out when Sussex had an injury crisis in 1972.