John Andrew Simpson
July 13, 1988, Bury, Lancashire
Left hand bat
John Simpson, a neat and reliable wicketkeeper capable of useful contributions with the bat, has been Middlesex's first-choice wicketkeeper for nearly a decade since fighting off competition from Ben Scott and David Nash. He has had his admirers among Middlesex supporters who have proposed him for England Test honours, but a first-class average hovering in the early 30s has never really advanced his claims. All that was forgotten, though, on a memorable final afternoon at Taunton when his 79 not out from 80 balls, rounded off with two legside sixes, completed a thrilling Middlesex run chase at Taunton that proved to be an inspirational factor in a season that brought their first Championship title for 23 years. A hundred against Hampshire in May that year, the fifth first-class hundred of his career, was another strikingly fluent display.
Simpson played first-team Lancashire League cricket for Haslingden when only ten years old and went on to represent Lancashire in every age group from Under-11 upwards. Yet, despite appearing for Lancashire seconds and earning his first England Under-19s call-up for the 2005 tour of Bangladesh, it took a move to Middlesex to realise his ambition of becoming a professional cricketer. Initially given a short contract at Lord's, the left-handed batsman-keeper really came into his own during the 2011 season when 869 runs at 43.45 and 65 victims behind the stumps played a big part in the county's promotion campaign. Division One runs initially proved harder to come by but Simpson's keeping almost always impressed and in 2014 he had the satisfaction of hitting two Championship hundreds to cement his place in the side.
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