DateLine: 1st December 2007
James Harris is a highly promising young all-rounder, who in 2007 became the youngest ever bowler in the entire County Championship to take ten wickets in a match, as he returned match figures of 12/118 against Gloucestershire at Bristol. Aged just 17 years and 3 days, he took 7/66 in the home team's first innings, before a return of 5/52 when the West Country side batted again.
His outstanding bowling broke the Championship record previously held by Brian Langford of Somerset, who in 1953 – aged 17 years and 175 days – took 14/156 against Kent at Bath. In terms of all first-class cricket in the U.K., the only younger bowler to take ten wickets in a match was the legendary W.G.Grace who, in June 1865, returned the match figures of 13/84 for the Gentlemen of the South against the Players of the South at the Oval.
James’ return of 12/118 was also the best by a Glamorgan bowler on Gloucestershire soil, beating the 12/120 taken by Frank Ryan at Cheltenham in 1926.Earlier in the season, he had become the Welsh county's youngest-ever player to take a wicket in County Championship cricket, and then later in June, fell just 13 runs short of being the youngest ever centurion in the history of the County Championship.
The youngster impressed from an early age with Pontardulais C.C., and in 2005 - at the age of fifteen - he made his debut for both the Glamorgan 2nd XI and also the Wales Minor Counties side. 2005 also saw Harris make his debut for the England age-group teams, and during the winter he led the England Under-16 team on their winter tour to South Africa.
After completing his G.C.S.E`s in 2006, Harris played for the Glamorgan 1st XI in their Twenty20 Floodlit Cup matches against Sussex, and then whilst undertakling his sixth form studies at Gorseinon College, Harris was called up by the county for their pre-season matches in 2007, following injuries to David Harrison and with Simon Jones still completing his rehabilitation from injury.
After some impressive spells in the one-day contests against Sussex and Worcestershire, Harris was called up again in early May to make his first-class debut in the county`s match against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge. With his fourteenth delivery, he dismissed Bilal Shafayat, and - at 16 years and 351 days old - duly became Glamorgan's youngest ever wicket-taker in County Championship cricket.
His record-breaking performance then followed at Bristol, just days after his 17th birthday, and then in June at Swansea, James displayed his prowess with the bat, scoring 87* against Nottinghamshire at Swansea and sharing in a record-breaking stand for the 9th wicket with Robert Croft that saw the talented teenager come within 13 runs of being the youngest ever centurion in the history of the County Championship.
Later in the summer, James made his debut for the England U19 side, as well as winning a series of awards, both with Glamorgan, as well as nationally, with the hugely talented youngster being shortlisted for the BBC TV Young Sports Personality of the Year Ward.
(Andrew Hignell - December 2007)
(Article: Copyright © 2007 Dr.A.K.Hignell)
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