A HISTORY OF BANKSTOWN PLAYERS : Mick’s Musings
Jeffrey Robert Thomson is a legend throughout the cricketing world and he was born in Greenacre then grew up in Market St. He terrified batsmen all over Sydney and was just as potent when he donned the baggy green. His action was all shoulder and like a whirlwind which had the best of batsmen fearful. Many thought players would emulate the legend but their efforts were all in vain. As a schoolboy he threw the javelin and this helped with the speed of his shoulder action and strength. Bulldogs found it unbelievable that he was not selected for NSW. When the selectors finally awoke and picked Two Up for NSW side it was the last game of the season. He ripped through the opposition batting and Queenslander Greg Chappell was so impressed he signed him up straight after the game. Although the Bulldogs loss was Australia’s gain Jeff was very sad to leave his mates. He often remarked how he always loved returning to Bankstown as these guys were friends before he hit the big time. Many of his great deeds whilst a Bulldog are very interesting. He was dropped to third grade for disciplinary reasons. The poor Dragons were stunned as Jeff claimed all ten wickets. Needless to say, Thommo never played third grade again. When he received his contract money he showed his love of speed was not just restricted to the cricket field. He purchased a Dino Ferrari and a P.T. 109 boat a la McHale’s Navy. These followed his beloved Cooper S which he drove to cricket at great pace. He said to one hapless opener “How come you seem to handle me okay at practice but these mediums get you out. Back came the reply “I am still shaking from the drive to the ground”. The speedster announced he was giving up beer. Asked was he going teetotal he said no scotch is better. After a session, I wake up angry but not bloated. Thommo seemed to save his best for North of the harbour sides especially Mosman, Manly and Gordon. Manly made the mistake of preparing a green top. One of their batsmen looked in fear as the delivery flew past his nose. Folk lore has it that the ball went for six byes over the short straight boundary. Actually, it went one bounce into the fence. The next ball cartwheeled the off stump and the beleaguered batsman breathed a big sigh of relief. Never had the Bulldogs fieldsmen seen a man so happy to lose his wicket. Len Pascoe and Jeff were and still are the very best of mates. However, there was a day when their mate ship was severely tested. Early on Len bounced Greg Chappell. The classical stroke maker mistimed a pull shot. It ballooned up to the poorly sighted David Hourn. Unfortunately, the chance went down and Greg Chappell made the Blues pay. It was the last straw when Thommo came in and started thumping the Blues everywhere. He was particularly severe on his old mate Len. Over drinks after the game things got quite animated. In frustration Len blurted out you were lucky Thommo but Chappell was blessed. It was an unintentional witticism by the strongly built Pascoe. Len Richardson played for Queensland after leaving NSW. He was having a few ‘sociables’ and saying how he could handle Thommo. “He only bowls off breaks” said the opener. The next time they saw Richo he had his arm in plaster. Thought you said Thommo only bowled off breaks one guy queried. Fastest off breaks I’ve ever seen said the badly battered batsman. When Steve Waugh first played against Thommo he said to the tearaway my uncle asked me to say hullo. Who might your uncle be said Jeff. “Dion Bourne” answered the youngster. Of course, Dion and Thommo were the best of mates. The next time Jeff and Dion were talking the speedster said what a smart cookie young Steve was. Jeff claimed 200 Test wickets and coached Queensland for several seasons. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame where his speech was hilarious and delivered with plenty of accolades. For years Jeff livened up the commentary box with insightful comments interspersed with typically amusing anecdotes. For years Dennis Lillee and Thommo formed a great partnership on the speaking circuit mainly in England where they entertained cricket fans the length and breadth of Britain.