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Sam Thain making good on time with the bat and ball at Cambridge St Giles

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Sam Thain in action for Cambridge St Giles. Picture: Keith Heppell
Sam Thain in action for Cambridge St Giles. Picture: Keith Heppell

Sam Thain is becoming the epitome of consistency at Cambridge St Giles
this season.

The 19-year-old has not thrashed a double hundred or snared five or more batsmen in one match, and so the progress up the rankings of the best batters and bowlers in Cambs and Hunts Premier League, Division One
is impressive.

It means that there are no anomalies to the form, it is steady and stable, and invaluable to the success of St Giles.

Thain is in his first full season at the club. His junior cricket was at Thriplow, and after playing a number of matches for them in the Whitings League, he eventually followed younger brother Noah in making the switch to St Giles, but was busy representing the Leys School for the first part of last summer.

“I was looking to play a higher level of cricket,” says Thain. “My brother played there the year before, and the feedback from him was that it is welcoming and a great environment when you’re playing cricket.

“He felt it was a great club to be a part of. He made the move from Thriplow the year before, and I decided to stay on for one more year.

“Then he moved off to Sawston & Babraham to play Premier League cricket, and then I made the move across from Thriplow.”

That adjustment to adult cricket has gone from strength to strength.

After what Thain describes as a slow start to the season, things have been picking up pace and that has coincided with a move up the order.

“I started off not batting as much as I wanted to at the start of the season,” he explains.

“Then, through a couple of absences, I got a chance to play higher up the order and just have some time in the middle batting. It made me more confident in my game and, as a result of it, I’ve been batting more balls, scoring more runs and been in a rich vein of form. I’m really enjoying my cricket at the moment.

“I’ve got two 50s in two weeks. I think it’s just from batting time and facing as many balls as you can because when you’re batting, the only way you’re going to get better is facing balls in the middle.

“You can go training as much as you want but facing balls in the middle is how you’re going to get better as a batsman so I’ve been lucky enough to have that over the last couple of weeks and it’s gone well.

“I was No 8 or 9. They saw me as someone who would come in at the end and give a whack but then with people not being there, I’ve moved up to five or six which is what I prefer.

“I like to come in and see maybe 10 or 15 balls not looking to score maybe straight away but just seeing the balls and then with my power I can catch up at the end.

“Batting higher up the order and facing more balls is the key thing
for me.”

His top score is 65, but he has an average of 37.43, from 11 games – with just two last Saturday against Wisbech Town blotting the copybook – and that places him 19th in the division’s batting standings.

But Thain is also doing well with the ball. The medium/fast pace bowler is the first change, and has taken 15 wickets to sit 12th in the standings.

“I opened the bowling at the start of the year then our overseas Keano (Aatish Kean Maharaj) came over, and I bowled first change,” he says.

“I just try to bowl a heavy ball length, trying to put it on the spot to get people out really.”

It begs the question as to his role in the team?

“I definitely see myself as an all-rounder,” says Thain, who is on a gap year ahead of going to study wildlife conservation at Reading University.

“I probably would have said bowling all-rounder at the start of the year, but having time out in the middle batting, I don’t know what I am at the moment.

“I bat five or six then bowl first change so at the moment I’m probably bang on an all-rounder really.”

Those multi-skills will certainly come in handy as St Giles chase down a top four spot.

But their hopes suffered a a 214-run defeat to Wisbech, which saw St Giles slip to sixth in the table.

“Anyone can beat anyone in our league at the moment,” he says.

“I think the standard has shot up from last year, with Foxton joining with Granta so that is a big team that has come into the running, and then Old Leysians have looked really good so far this year, Newmarket posed a threat. You can play any team any week, and you don’t know what’s going to happen.

“We went to Newmarket and March, two teams at the bottom, hoping to beat them and we lost two in a row to them.

“It’s a really competitive league which is why it’s so enjoyable to
play in.”

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