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Full name Reece James William Topley
Born February 21, 1994, Ipswich, Suffolk
Current age 20 years 278 days
Major teams England Lions, England Under-19s, Essex, Essex 2nd XI
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Left-arm medium-fast
|First-class debut||Cambridge MCCU v Essex at Cambridge, Apr 2-4, 2011 scorecard|
|Last First-class||Derbyshire v Essex at Chesterfield, Jul 7-10, 2014 scorecard|
|List A debut||Essex v Unicorns at Chelmsford, May 22, 2011 scorecard|
|Last List A||Essex v Warwickshire at Chelmsford, Aug 28, 2014 scorecard|
|Twenty20 debut||Essex v Kent at Chelmsford, Jun 20, 2012 scorecard|
|Last Twenty20||Essex v Warwickshire at Chelmsford, Aug 2, 2014 scorecard|
|Bat & Bowl||Team||Opposition||Ground||Match Date||Scorecard|
|3/56, 0*||Essex||v Warwickshire||Chelmsford||28 Aug 2014||LA|
|2/52||Essex||v Northants||Northampton||21 Aug 2014||LA|
|0/54||Essex||v Yorkshire||Scarborough||11 Aug 2014||LA|
|0/6||Essex||v Gloucs||Chelmsford||8 Aug 2014||LA|
|0/35||Essex||v Warwickshire||Chelmsford||2 Aug 2014||T20|
|0/49||Essex||v Sussex||Chelmsford||25 Jul 2014||T20|
|2/63, 0, 1/48||Essex||v Derbyshire||Chesterfield||7 Jul 2014||FC|
|0/39||Essex||v Surrey||Chelmsford||4 Jul 2014||T20|
|5/53, 1*, 2/90||Essex||v Gloucs||Chelmsford||29 Jun 2014||FC|
|1/31||Essex||v Somerset||Taunton||27 Jun 2014||T20|
At a skyscraper height of 6ft 7ins, Reece Topley towers above his team-mates. An early developer, he first hit the headlines in 2009 when, as a 15-year-old net bowler, his favourite player Kevin Pietersen drilled a drive into the side of his head. He needed stitches but Pietersen left him a signed bat as a more welcome memento.
It wasn't until 2011 that Topley started making his own headlines. A gangly 17-year-old left-arm seamer with huge potential he took 14 wickets for Essex in his three opening Championship matches - including five-wicket hauls in each of his first two games against Kent and Middlesex.
Allied to his precious natural attributes of height and left-handedness Topley appears to have a sound and inquisitive bowling brain, seeking advice from Chaminda Vaas when Essex met Northamptonshire. His 2011 season had been a sensation but was interrupted as Topley had to return to Royal Hospital School in Suffolk to start revising for the summer exams. His father, the former Essex player Don, is his school teacher and cricket mentor so slacking in any department is not an option.
Topley seemed admirably unaffected by the early hype. At the Under-19 World Cup in Australia in 2012, he stood out as a professional in a boys' game: no one claimed more than his 19 wickets, which came at nine apiece, and Topley relished his status as a senior bowler in England's side. Further recognition - before he had even turned 19 - arrived with an England Lions call-up for the 2013 tour Down Under.
The ECB and Essex have been careful to manage his workload, the county rotating him with their other talented quicks. He was a key member of the team in 2013, taking more than 80 wickets in all formats to earn a place on England's Performance Programme trip to Australia. However, a back injury ruled him out of going to Sri Lanka with the Lions, a reminder of how young fast bowlers need protecting.
NBC Denis Compton Award 2011
Coloured clothes, black sightscreens, two white balls: the game of cricket looked so different in 1992. But writing about it now seems more fun than watching it then