Thursday, April 18, 2024

PCA: Hundred gives platform to July Players of the Month

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Photo Credit: Professional Cricketers’ Association

  • Hartley and Jones win awards with 60% and 61% of public vote
  • Hartley reflects on “unreal” experience of bowling first men’s Hundred ball
  • Jones relishing performing on the “main stage” this season
  • Both players outline ambitions for this season and beyond

Tom Hartley and Eve Jones praised the platform given to them by The Hundred after they were named the July PCA Players of the Month.

Hartley was identified as one of the top four men’s performers of the month by the PCA Most Valuable Player (MVP) Rankings, and he subsequently claimed the fourth award of the season with a huge 60% of the public vote, illustrating his popularity with fans.

The 22-year-old follows in the footsteps of Matt Critchley (April), Simon Harmer (May) and Harry Brook (June) in having claimed an individual men’s prize this season.

Speaking after his win, Hartley reflected on a memorable month which saw him bowl the first five-ball set of the men’s Hundred: “It’s the first time I’ve been nominated for PCA Player of the Month so it’s obviously nice to get that recognition and it feels really good to win it. It’s a sign that I’m doing alright!

“I think it has been a breakout season for me and July has obviously been a really good month within that. I feel like we’ve done well in both the T20 and The Hundred and I’m making my way in the first team a little bit more, which is always nice.

“The opportunity presented by The Hundred has been unreal. We’ve got some great overseas players at Manchester Originals like Carlos Brathwaite and Colin Munro – they’re just great to talk to as they’ve been around the world playing in different T20 competitions.

“I was very nervous (bowling the first ball of the men’s Hundred) – we went into the game not knowing what was a good performance and what wasn’t, which was a strange feeling. All eyes were on that first ball so it was a nerve-wracking experience but also an absolute privilege.”

Hartley has bowled with great consistency throughout the 2021 season, making a name for himself as a shrewd operator during the powerplay. The left-arm spinner attributes his success to the development of his own temperament, as well as playing regularly on turning Emirates Old Trafford pitches.

“Playing on turning pitches at Old Trafford, we often go into games a seamer down so there are a few overs in the powerplay which have to be bowled by the spinner, and that comes down to myself. So it comes a bit more naturally to me now and I’m not fearing it as much as I have in the past.

“I think I’ve become smarter with my bowling, rather than changing anything technically. I focus on the batter a lot more and try to think about what they’re going to do. You want to get in that battle with them and eventually outwit them to come out on top.

“I’d like to develop those skills and play more franchise cricket if there are teams out there who want me. That’s the dream at the moment and we’ll see where we go from there.”

Jones continues excellent season with award win

Central Sparks and Birmingham Phoenix’s Eve Jones becomes the second recipient of the women’s PCA Player of the Month award, beating Emma Lamb, Jemimah Rodrigues and Danielle Gibson to the prize following the public vote.

Jones succeeds Bryony Smith, who made history by winning the first award, securing 61% of the public vote following her excellent form in the Charlotte Edwards Cup and The Hundred.

It marks the continuation of an excellent 2021 campaign for Jones who, like Hartley, has relished the challenge of appearing in The Hundred: “I wasn’t expecting to win it, but it’s always nice to pick up an award like this, particularly after such an exciting month for women’s cricket with the start of The Hundred.

“I loved every single minute of the new competition. Though we’ve only won one game at Birmingham Phoenix, it’s been such a great experience coming off the back of Covid-19 and with no-one having been able to watch games for the past 18 months. Seeing the amount of people who have turned out to support us has been unreal.

“It’s always pleasing to get runs on the main stage. Playing in The Hundred is a massive deal for me so being able to get going early on in the tournament and get a couple of scores was a personal highlight for me.”

Eve Jones, Birmingham Phoenix Cricketer on winning the PCA July Player of the Month award

Photo Credit: Twitter photo of @eve_jones11

At the time of writing, only Emma Lamb and Charlie Dean have scored more MVP points across all competitions this season than Jones. However, the Sparks captain says team success is at the forefront of her mind as her side remains in with a chance of both Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy and Charlotte Edwards Cup glory.

“It’s nice to be at the top of the MVP, but I try not to look at it too much – I just keep trying to do my best for the team and to win as many games as possible for Birmingham Phoenix and Central Sparks. To win a trophy with one of my teams would mean so much to me and that’s the most important thing.

“We’ve only lost one game in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy so we’re right up there and in with a chance this season. As captain, it would be an honour to lead the team all the way to the final and hopefully we can win one, if not two competitions this season.

“Moving forward, I’d like to still be involved with The Hundred and the regional structure for a number of years, and I’d love to go out and play in the WBBL as well. I think if players like me can perform in The Hundred then the opportunities to play in other franchise competitions will come further down the line.”

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