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Olly Stone aims to learn from Northants county debut

PUBLISHED: 15:28 22 July 2011

Olly Stone’s Northamptonshire debut did not go quite as he would have dreamed – but the Norfolk teenager is desperate for another taste of first team action.

Vauxhall Mallards all-rounder Stone, 17, was thrust into action for Northants Steelbacks’ Friends Life Twenty20 match at Durham last Thursday. The former Thorpe St Andrew High School pupil’s pace bowling was not used as Durham made 144 for seven and he then became the third victim in former England all-rounder Paul Collingwood’s hat-trick as Northants crumbled to 47 all out – a record low in English T20.

Stone said: “I found out on Thursday morning that I’d be playing. I knew I’d be travelling up as 12th man but then the coach David Capel told me I was in the team.

“I had been sort of expecting it because they had told me I would get a go this year, so it was more of a small surprise than a massive one. I was still really excited and just before we started it was a bit nerve-wracking, but it was more excitement than anything.”

He added: “It was a bit of a shame that I didn’t get a bowl, but I didn’t really think I would and I really enjoyed the fielding. There was quite a big difference in how hard they hit the ball and the intensity of it. There was quite a big crowd and fielding on the boundary you can hear the fans behind you. It was quite a step up from what I’m used to playing.”

Stone came into bat with the Steelbacks already in disarray at 39 for six – a score which one ball later became 39 for seven. Asked what he remembered about the delivery, he replied: “Not a lot! The fact it was a hat-trick ball made it even more nerve-wracking, but I think I just missed a straight one. Maybe the pressure of it got to me a little bit, not having been in that situation before.”

Despite that disappointment, Stone – who is currently studying for a BTEC National Diploma in Sport in Northampton – insisted it had been a valuable experience: “There’s a lot to take from it,” he said. “Just being around the first team players, talking to them and getting tips off them. Overall it was a good experience to have. Even getting out first ball is a good learning curve for me. If I do get the chance to play again I will concentrate more and be more focused next time.”

Northant’s T20 campaign is over for this year after they finished bottom of the North Group, and Stone added: “Northants are doing quite well in the other formats, but there may be another opportunity for me this year. If not, I’m not too worried because I’m still learning from playing second team cricket. But the experience last week has made me a bit more determined to try and make it happen.”

Stone was given the all-clear to continue playing last September after suffering a stress fracture of the back. He has played 11 games for the Northants Academy team this year and is the leading wicket-taker with 11 victims and has also made several appearances for the county’s second XI.

He hopes to be available for Mallards’ remaining cup matches this season, with the Brundall club having reached the semi-finals of the Carter Cup and the NACO Invitation Cup.

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