On Sunday 30 August 2015, Phil “The Swing” Ling took his 100th wicket for the Exiles in a spell of 3 for 13 that helped his side to a victory over WICC. The Exiles website caught up with Phil for his thoughts:
Hi Phil, very well bowled, you must be pleased to have reached the 100 wickets landmark?
I must admit, it’s nice to have achieved 100 wickets for the club after a lot of focus from the rest of the squad this year. Although I’m not really a milestone person.
Can you remember your first wicket?
Funnily enough I don’t. I remembered my first match was against Priory Arms on a damp wet pitch in Richmond. However, digging through the archives it was the scene of my first wicket – looking at the match report it should have been memorable.
‘Ling’s dismissal in particular, leaping from keeper Will’s boot into Gundry’s hands at slip, probably took the “champagne moment” in an echo of that famous ashes dismissal from D I Gower nearly quarter of a century before.’
Any particularly memorable ones?
I think my favourite was Simon French of Stroller’s, as he knew I was bowling inswing and took an off stump guard, however, he moved so far across I took out his leg stump for a golden duck. Actually that was my 2nd wicket for the club (I won’t recount all 102!)
I’m also pleased with any wicket, such as my 100th, which are bowled through the gate.
And anyone you’ve found especially difficult bowling at?
I found Krunic of Stroller’s tricky, and he always batted well against us, but what’s annoyed me most is twice I’ve dropped him off my own bowling from easy return catches.
I’ve expected big hitters like Sohan (OMTs) or Justin (Agricola) to take to me, but I’ve surprisingly been able to keep them quiet. Recently I’ve never bowled well against Mark Bradshaw (Clapham Nomads) or Neel from WICC.
Did you bowl a lot when you were younger? Your action is certainly unusual…
Funnily enough I used to be a slingy opening fast bowler, but there were occasions that I threw the ball, so I remodelled it to get a full rotation of the arm – that’s hopefully rectified potential no balls
I’ve always swung the ball though.
What are your best bowling figures?
My 4-1 v British Library which almost led to me winning my first bowling trophy. I particularly enjoyed my 8-7-2-1 versus Merton on a sticky wicket last season and bowling a tight spell v WICC earlier this season against Janil and Neel
Anyone you’ve enjoyed watching, playing with or learning from in the Exiles ranks?
I wish Simon Gundry would stop making the game look so easy! It’s embarrassing to the rest of us. It’s always been good fun bowling at the other end to him though as things are generally happen for the team or one of us. I’ve most enjoyed seeing all the new players come along, enjoy the game and improve. I remember I was (even more) raw when I joined the club, but through the nature of the club have improved to be a good contributor and it’s great to see others have the same opportunity.
My favourite player to liven up a dull day whether on the field or watching from the boundary is Marcin Zieleniewski though for so many reasons.
You’ve famously not yet got 100 runs for the club – how soon do you hope to reach this landmark?
I think this is looking like a 2016 job
Do you have any intentions of being an all-rounder?
In my first game I actually batted at 6! Above Andy Wingfield. I remember at the time Andy averaged about 5.5 for his career. So if he can do it
I actually opened the batting at school a few times, and I’m more suited to having time at the crease and playing an innings than coming in to smash it. If I can get past the first 6 balls I normally stick around
What targets do you have going forwards with your cricket – do you think 200 runs and 200 wickets is achievable?
I’d like to get my career economy rate to below 4 and have one season where I take 20 wickets at an average of 20 runs. All achievable in my opinion. I actually think I’ll get to 200 runs before I get to 200 wickets!
Phil, many thanks for your time and best of luck with your future Exiles cricketing.