Freelance cricket writer

I have excellent contacts across the county and international game. Over the past 27 years, I have contributed to a range of titles and websites including The Cricketer, The Cricket Paper, Cricbuzz,, Wisden Cricket Monthly, ESPNCricinfo and As well as match reports, news stories, player reviews and retrospectives, I also write in-depth features covering the key issues facing the sport.

I'm always open to commissions for cricket writing. If I can help, please get in touch.

Building a Spitfire

Kent's new Director of Cricket Simon Cook has developed a fresh, bold approach to bring success to Canterbury, setting out exactly what it takes to ‘build a Spitfire’.
Former county bowler Cook is drawing inspiration from the years he played under Rob Key’s captaincy in the late 2000s when the club’s successes were forged from a strong sense of identity.
Fast forward 15 years and Key is steering the identity of England’s men cricket, while Cook is building on his former captain’s approach by identifying what it takes to win games at Canterbury and forging a strong identity and purpose for the club around that – from the junior age groups right the way through to the first team.

Gloucestershire end winless run as de Lange, Singh Dale break Northants resistance

Gloucestershire pace bowler Marchant de Lange led the charge with three wickets to set up Gloucestershire's first Vitality County Championship victory since September 2022 on the final day of this clash against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road.

Northamptonshire resumed on 144 for 2, needing 414 more runs to win, or more realistically to bat out the whole day to secure a draw. For a while that looked a possibility as India international Karun Nair and George Bartlett shared a fluent stand of 83 in 24 overs. But the second new ball proved decisive as Josh Shaw and de Lange, bowling a feisty spell, removed both set batters as Northamptonshire lost three wickets for nine runs in 5.4 overs.

With Ajeet Singh Dale mopping up the tail, the end came quickly as Northamptonshire's final five wickets fell for just 35 runs, and while they passed 300, they ultimately lost heavily by 256 runs.

Bravo to Emilio Gay, inspiring the next generation

Jeremy Blackmore on a cricketer with a unique background who is hoping to use his profile to help others
NORTHAMPTONSHIRE BATTER Emilio Gay knows all about the power of inspiring young players after a meeting with his hero, West Indies superstar Dwayne Bravo, fuelled his cricketing passions as a teenager.
Bravo took time out from preparations for the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean to sign a shirt for an awestruck Gay and it is a memory that has stayed with the 24-year-old ever since. Now Gay, whose father’s family are Grenadian, is hoping he can in turn help inspire a new generation.

Hammond propels Gloucestershire with century

Miles Hammond struck a sparkling 112 off 133 balls, his first century in two years to help propel Gloucestershire to 338 for 8 against Northamptonshire on day one of this Vitality County Championship match at Wantage Road.

Despite hitting eight fifties last season, and three so far this year, this was the first time Hammond had gone on to reach three figures since making 169 against Hampshire in Cheltenham, the town of his birth, in 2022.

While batting was never straightforward with swing on offer throughout the day, Hammond took the attacking route, hitting 17 boundaries and reaching his milestone by swotting Northamptonshire quick George Scrimshaw high over fine leg for a big six. Gloucestershire's Australian overseas signing Cameron Bancroft also contributed a solid 53 at the top of the order.

Indian international Siddarth Kaul meanwhile made an immediate impact on his Northamptonshire debut, taking 4 wickets for 58 in 23 testing overs, including three in the afternoon session. Ultimately though, his new county were unable to press home their advantage of having the visitors 119 for 3 as Gloucestershire made hay in the afternoon sunshine against some loose bowling.

Northamptonshire did stage a good fightback, taking three late wickets with the new ball including one for evergreen seamer Ben Sanderson, playing his 100th first-class match for his adopted county.

Kleinveldt backs Steelbacks attack

Northamptonshire's new bowling coach, Rory Kleinveldt is well placed to guide the club’s young attack as they look to bounce back after a disappointing 2023.
Kleinveldt is keen to give back to the club and help build confidence as the Steelbacks target promotion in the Championship and progress to the play-off stages of the white ball competitions.
“There is lots of talent here,” he says, having spent the past few months getting to know the youngsters and reconnecting with old teammates like evergreen seamer Ben Sanderson, who took his 500th wicket in Northamptonshire colours on Monday.

Sophia Dunkley finds form to power South East Stars to victory

Sophia Dunkley responded to being left out of the England squad for the upcoming series against Pakistan by hitting a sparkling 67 (89 balls) to help lead South East Stars to a commanding five-wicket victory over Sunrisers in this top-of-the-table clash in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy at Northampton.

Brilliantly supported by a destructive Alice Davidson-Richards (50), the pair shared a second-wicket stand of 105 as Stars chased down 223 to win in 47.5 overs, after skipper Bryony Smith (34) laid the foundation in a 53-run opening partnership with Tash Farrant.

Dunkley, who was told by England coach Jon Lewis to get back to playing her best cricket, hit a few aggressive boundary shots early on, but paced her innings perfectly, relying on exquisite timing and placement to keep the scoreboard ticking. After she and Davidson-Richards both departed, Phoebe Franklin was there to see her team home.

Sadler hails 'world-class' Nair after rain denies Northants

Northamptonshire's hopes of pressing home their sizeable advantage to complete victory against Glamorgan were dashed by the weather on the final day of this Vitality County Championship match at Wantage Road.

Northamptonshire needed to take seven wickets on Monday after reducing Glamorgan to 104 for 3 on Sunday night, the visitors still trailing by 230 runs. Northants had posted a mammoth 605 for 6 in their first innings before declaring.

But heavy overnight rain and constant drizzle throughout the morning prevented play from resuming and umpires Sue Redfern and Graham Lloyd finally called the game off shortly after 4pm.

"If we'd have got maybe two sessions in today, I think we'd have won the game," John Sadler, Northants' head coach, said. "But the weather's beaten us. We can't get too down about it. It probably saved us in Sussex and we've lost one here, so we're probably level par.

"I thought the lads were great. I think we've played some brilliant cricket. We've just said there in the dressing room, if we apply ourselves like that, and play cricket like that consistently throughout the year, we'll be in positions to win games as we were today. So, it was frustrating, but of the three days we've controlled the game, we've played a brilliant game of cricket, so we're pretty pleased."

Sadler hailed the impact of Karun Nair, the Indian batter who hit 202 not out. "He's absolutely world-class. He's one of the best I've seen. Obviously his skillset, but his calmness, his composure. We saw it last year particularly at Surrey, when we were under a bit of pressure, and Warwickshire where it was nipping everywhere. And his hunger for runs."

Sam Northeast, Glamorgan's captain, said: "Any time a team puts 600 on you, you can do things a lot better. We'll be looking at that for sure. We need to improve in that area and in the field as well... it was the first run-out again with a Dukes ball, so we've taken a lot from that."

Glamorgan travel to Yorkshire for their next game. "We know it's going to be a good contest at Headingley," Northeast said. "They've got their England players around, so it will be a good test and we'll probably have to go up a few levels if we want to go up there and win."

Ricardo Vasconcelos punishes Glamorgan again as Northants take charge

Ricardo Vasconcelos hit a magnificent unbeaten 166, his ninth first-class century and his first in two years, as he indulged his liking for Glamorgan's bowlers on day two of this Vitality County Championship match at Wantage Road.

He shared a partnership of 191 in 52 overs with his captain Luke Procter and a stand of 103 with Karun Nair, who passed 7000 career first-class runs in the process as Northamptonshire closed on 314 for 2 in reply to Glamorgan's 271, a lead of 43 runs.

Playing his first game for the Steelbacks this season since recovering from injury, Vasconcelos put a lacklustre 2023 behind him to register his first century since scoring 156 at Warwickshire in May 2022. It was also his highest score since the 79 he made against Surrey in September that year, although he did make 106 against Glamorgan in the One Day Cup last season.

He has previously posted two Championship scores in the 180s against Glamorgan in 2019 and 2021.

If Vasconcelos looked rusty early on as a couple of false shots dropped short of fielders, he grew in fluency and confidence, timing the ball beautifully and taking the attack to Glamorgan with some crisp hitting which brought him 23 boundaries off 246 deliveries.

Sanderson leads the charge as Northants make most of new Dukes

Evergreen Northamptonshire seamer Ben Sanderson led the charge with three wickets as Northamptonshire's attack made the most of having a new Dukes ball back in their hands on the opening day of this Vitality County Championship clash at Wantage Road.

But despite slumping to 27 for 4 after 10.4 overs, Colin Ingram led Glamorgan's fightback with an unbeaten 69 off 110 balls. He steered the visitors to 203 for 7 at the close, with honours just about even on the first evening.

Looking solid in defence, Ingram played some crisp attacking shots, as he rebuilt, first in a partnership of 69 in 18.3 overs with Chris Cooke (28). Despite losing Cooke after tea, the in-form Ingram pushed on, passing a second consecutive half-century of the season to go with a century in his opening game. He found another willing partner in Dan Douthwaite, whose bustling 50 came off just 63 balls in a sixth wicket stand worth 74 off 102 balls.

Emilio Gay century condemns Middlesex to another day of leather-chasing

Opener Emilio Gay struck a stylish, commanding 165 not out, the fifth first-class century of his career, as Northamptonshire took full advantage of being put into bat against Middlesex. The hosts finished in a dominant position on 311 for three on day one of this Vitality County Championship match at Wantage Road.

Middlesex's bowlers, who were punished after inserting Glamorgan at Lord's last week, must have had a sense of déjà vu but stuck diligently to their task on a largely docile wicket, deploying the short ball as the day wore on in a bid to make inroads with the Kookaburra ball.

Gay hits career-best as Northants punish Middlesex

Northamptonshire opener Emilio Gay struck a stylish, commanding career-best 165 not out as the hosts took full advantage of being put into bat to reach 311-3 against Middlesex.

Gay, 24 on Sunday, celebrated his birthday early with the fifth first-class century of his career, finding a supportive partner in home skipper Luke Procter who hit 73 in a 189-run second-wicket stand.

Middlesex's bowlers, who were punished after inserting Glamorgan at Lord's last week, stuck diligently to their task on a largely docile wicket with the Kookaburra ball.

They had cause to celebrate when Ryan Higgins removed opener Jason Broad lbw in the second over of the day. But the next breakthrough would not come until after tea as Procter and Gay took control.

What cricket competitions to look forward to in 2024

The sound of leather on willow echoing around the country means it’s time for a new cricket season with another packed summer at international, domestic and club levels.
We look at some of the top global and domestic competitions happening in 2024 in both the men’s and women’s game to help you follow the action—including the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup hosted jointly by the West Indies and, for the first time, the USA.

It's about playing positive, smart cricket

Change is in the spring air at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, as a new management team get ready to lead Kent Cricket’s drive for silverware and produce more homegrown cricketers like England stars Zak Crawley and Tammy Beaumont.

With former England wicket-keeper Paul Downton retiring as director of cricket, the county have appointed another stalwart of Kent Cricket as his successor in Simon Cook with prolific batter Daniel Bell-Drummond succeeding Sam Billings as men’s club captain.

Northamptonshire Seeing Real Progress After Two Years Of equality, diversity and inclusion plan

Northamptonshire County Cricket Club is marking the second full year of its Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Plan (EDI) which aims to promote inclusion and diversity at all levels of the game.

During that time the club has engaged widely with many communities across the county, exploring how it can best make cricket available to all. It has run numerous participation and coaching programmes and created the Luton Steelbacks Academy, an innovative sixth form partnership. It is also committed to continually learning and exploring areas where more work needs to be done.

The club recruited Shivani Kaushike as board member with specific responsibility for EDI, Risk and Governance in November 2021, who began by conducting a review of Northamptonshire’s existing policies and work already underway. Kaushike then drafted the EDI Plan and established a confidential reporting procedure. Further work was done in January 2022 to ensure the plan tied into the ECB’s new 12-point action plan to tackle racism and all forms of discrimination.

Steelbacks Academy celebrates first anniversary

For young Luton cricketers like Muhammad Arham Durrani, Northamptonshire’s Steelbacks Academy is providing an opportunity to showcase their skills and gain exposure to top-level coaches and facilities.

For young Luton cricketers like Muhammad Arham Durrani, Northamptonshire’s Steelbacks Academy is providing an opportunity to showcase their skills and gain exposure to top-level coaches and facilities.

The revolutionary new sixth form programme, headed up by Northamptonshire trophy-winning coach David Ripley, is celebrating its first anniversary as it taps into the huge interest in cricket among Asian communities in the Luton area.

Delivered in partnership with The Shared Learning Trust over two campuses at The Stockwood Park and The Chalk Hills Academies, it enables students to combine their studies with a taste of life as a professional athlete.

Essex keep slim title chances alive at Northants

Veteran Northamptonshire bowler Ben Sanderson dented Essex's lingering hopes of clinching the County Championship title with a masterclass of seam bowling at Wantage Road.

But Sanderson (3-15) made short work of their top order, removing Alastair Cook, Nick Browne and Dan Lawrence in a nine-over spell while conceding just 14 runs.

They rallied to 125-4 by close of play, still trailing by 244 runs to just about keep their challenge alive following Surrey's collapse at the Ageas Bowl, but the London club require only a draw to clinch another County Championship crown.

Essex are pinning their hopes on Hampshire beating Surrey and then finding a way to somehow earn four batting points on Thursday before going on to win the contest.
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