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Records tumble as Graham takes 7 wicket haul in 1st grade debut

Saturday was a momentous day for the Waratahs with young off-spinner Joe Graham taking 7 for 148 on his 1st grade debut.

On top of that, Joe bowled the Waratahs to victory in a fantastic display of off-spin bowling.

His effort was previously reported as the best 1st grade debut in our clubs history, however we have since found a 7/29 from the great Shane Cleary as our best 1st grade debut bowling figures. ‘Shano’ took this haul in the 2002/03 season. Joe’s effort is officially the 2nd best 1st grade debutant figures in our history.

The best first XI debut was actually by W Fraser in 1893/94 with 8/101, however we weren’t playing Grade cricket at this time, but rather Electorate cricket, which was similar to the current Shires competition. We were admitted to the grade competition 2 years later

Joey got the call up to 1st grade after a great start to the season, taking 10 wickets at an average of 20, including a haul of 6 for 84 against Sydney University in Round 3.

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There was also a shortage of bowlers due to the unavailability of 4 fast bowlers due to season ending injury (Edwards and McLachlan) and unavailability (Alexander and Jamieson).

But he still deserved his promotion after his consistent performances over the first 4 rounds. And he didn’t disappoint.

Joey’s first wicket was a classic off-spinners dismissal, getting the set left hand batsmen caught at slip by Cameron Merchant on the stroke of lunch. Joey actually took the first 5 wickets to fall up until an Adam Crosthwaite runout. He also took the last wicket to complete the win.

Rumour has it that Joe was struggling to bowl what turned out to be the final over due to severe cramping from the previous 34 that he had bowled, but was told in no uncertain terms to “take the ball and win this game for us”. 2 balls later, the match was over with Jay Lenton taking the catch behind the stumps.

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Joey has only been bowling off-spin for the last 2 year, after being encouraged to do so from Club Coach Phil Marks. Joey was previously an opening bat who bowled a bit of medium pace, so it was a huge change to turn to turn to a new craft. To become a 7 wicket 1st grade debutant in such a short period of time is remarkable.

This whole last 2 weeks has been a great story for Joey, one that we hope is a long way from ending.

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