There must be something in the Sussex air that inspires longevity as in 2018 five our of the last six surviving Test players wore the six martlet sweater of Sussex CCC: Don Smith, Hubert Doggart, Alan Oakman, Ian Thomson and Jim Parks. With the recent passing of Ian Thomson, only Jim Parks survives.
Ian Thomson was a medium pacer who took 1,527 wickets for Sussex.
His crowning achievement was taking all 10 wickets for 49 against Warwickshire in June 1964.
Oddly enough he was not the first Sussex bowler so to do but the prior two – John Wisden and James Lillywhite – did so in the South v North match. He took over 100 wickets in 12 consecutive seasons, a record only equalled by the great Maurice Tate.
Thn only played 5 Test matches – Derek Shackleton of Hampshire and Tom Cartwright were generally preferred.
He did play against Pakistan and went on the MCC tour of South Africa in 1964/65.
To commemorate this he was given a kitsch whisky decanter in a vintage car which sits in my TV room.
I acquired this in a auction of Robin Marler, his Sussex Captain’s, memorabilia.
He was so-called the “Indefatigable” Ian Thomson as he toiled away for the side.
Although his batting record was less impressive he would have been more than useful cricketer in the whole ball era. Indeed he was chosen as Man of the Match in Sussex’s Gillette Cup victory over Warwickshire in 1964.
Although born in Walsall and brought up in Essex where his father had a garage business he made Sussex his home.
After he hung his boots in 1965 – though he turned out in the John Player Sunday League in 1971 – he taught geography in Brighton College though strangely was not the cricket coach and lived in Henfield.
Thomson was one of those unsung heroes which are a rarity these days. Sussex had some big personalities in the 1960s like Ted Dexter, John Snow and Tony Greig as well as some fine test players like Jim Parks and the Nawab “Tiger “of Pataudi but you also need the selfless pro like Ian Thomson. Rest in peace Tommo.