South Wilts’ teenage left-arm quick Josh Croom has soared to the top of the South Australia CA Second Grade bowling charts after celebrating career-best figures of 7-23 for his adopted Adelaide club Glenelg.

It took his overall match return to 10-53 off 31 overs as Glenelg crushed Sturt by an innings and 71 runs in the two-day West End Grade fixture.

It took his winter’s haul to 23 wickets – the highest in the Second Grade competition – his reward, a coveted First Grade debut call up against Port Adelaide this weekend.

“For an 18-year-old English cricketer to be picked for an Aussie First Grade side is a fantastic achievement,” praised South Wilts’ head coach Tom Morton.

“To give you some idea of the standard of that cricket, Australia ODI batsman/wicketkeeper Alex Carey plays for Glenelg and will probably be playing in the same team as Josh on Saturday.”

To underline Croom’s achievement, the last English player to be selected for Glenelg’s First Grade side was former England left-arm spinner Monty Panesar, back in 2005.

Croom was understandably delighted with his ten-wicket match return which saw Sturt skittled for a 120 in their first dig, then a meagre 33 after Glenelg had posted 224-7.

He took 3-29 off 16 overs in Sturt’s first innings before routing the visitors almost single-handed in the second.

“It was a very special day for me,” beamed the Stratford-Under-Castle teen, who is enjoying every minute of his winter stay at the Darren Lehmann Cricket Academy.

Six of his seven second innings wickets were caught, five by the wicket-keeper and the other at first slip.

Josh Croom in front of the scoreboard

Josh Croom in front of the scoreboard

He explained: “It was very interesting. In the first six overs, the ball was swinging a massive amount, which was very surprising in Australian conditions. However, the wicket was very green with a fair bit of grass on it. It looked similar to an English surface.

“I felt in great rhythm and everything just clicked throughout my whole 16-over spell. As the swing was fading away, I was still able to get movement off the pitch.

“I’ve been worked hard in the nets both at the DLCA and Glenelg, with a lot of analysis on my action, particularly on my front arm.”

Watching every ball of his son’s spells from 10,000 miles away was Josh’s father Nick, who was glued in front of his television in Salisbury from midnight to seven o’clock on consecutive Saturday mornings.

“They have a superb live stream from Glenelg, so opened a bottle of red wine, put a log or two on the log fire and sat down and watched it.

“I eventually went to bed a weary but very proud father,” he laughed.

Croom junior concluded: “It’s a great feeling to be leading wicket-taker in the Second Grade, especially considering I’ve played two less games than any other player, due to having to quarantine and miss the first couple of matches.

“Despite that being a big achievement so far for me, my main priority is to make sure no matter what Glenelg team I’m in, I keep giving 100 per cent and taking wickets for the team.

“I can’t wait for Saturday’s twoday match against Port Adelaide.

“There are some serious Sheffield Shield state cricketers here, so to play – and hopefully perform - alongside them promises to be very special.

“I’m really grateful to everyone at Glenelg who has given trust and faith in me to play at this level at such a crucial time in the season with Grand Finals approaching.”