Saturday, 30 September 2017
Palladino benefit well deserved
There were deserved winners through the night, but Tony has won a place in the hearts of supporters across the county, since his move from Essex seven years ago.
He is a wicket to wicket bowler, one who tests a batsman's judgement of line and length with bowling that moves the ball a little each way. Not too much, because 'too much' goes past the bat in a boomerang arc that looks impressive, but is less of a threat than the genuine late swing that near-caresses the outside or inside edge. Just as Wilfred Rhodes decried the ball that spun viciously, reckoning rightly that you only needed to beat the bat's middle for a wicket.
Cliff Gladwin was a master of the art, his contemporaries telling me that the ball would go straight for half of its trajectory, before either ducking in or zipping away to the bowler's will. While not in the same league, given helpful conditions Tony Palladino will cause trouble to any batsman.
As he approaches his mid-thirties, perhaps his best days are behind him, but he remains an object lesson for the young bowler, rarely wasting a delivery and usually ending the day with seventeen overs for under fifty, or similar.
The award is as much, for me, a recognition of his services to cricket, however impressive his displays. His brave stand against corruption in the game at Essex highlighted a man of rare integrity, one who is always happy to have a word with supporters and wave hello from his position in the field.
His batting has become an unexpected jewel and many an innings has been prolonged and enlivened by his clean hitting. Far more than a tail-end slogger, hard work has turned him into a batsman who plays the pull and hook well, just as he hits impressively down the ground.
Perhaps his greater contribution to the club is still to come, in his fledgling career as bowling coach. If he can translate his own considerable skills into the repertoire of others, instilling the need for high levels of personal fitness and metronomic accuracy into them, he could turn a talented next generation into something special.
Another Tony Palladino coming through the ranks would do everyone just fine. For now, let's appreciate and acknowledge the real thing, however long it lasts.
Enjoy your benefit Tony. I hope it is well-supported.
Because it is well-deserved.