Tom Craddock has been given a belated 22nd birthday present in the form of a permanent contract with Essex. The leg spinner joined Essex at the start of June on a two-month trial but has made such an initial impression that the deal is already on the table.
Essex head coach Paul Grayson said: “We are going to sit down with him next week and have a chat about his future. Tom’s very happy and grateful for the opportunity that we’ve given him and, hopefully, we can sort out a contract with him.”
The Huddersfield-born player, who celebrated his birthday on July 13 and has recently completed a Sport, Leisure and Culture degree at Leeds/Bradford University, impressed when playing for the Unicorns in two matches against Essex in the Clydesdale Bank 40 earlier in the season. Grayson believes that his fellow Yorkshireman deserves the chance to make his way in the professional game.
“He’s developing nicely and has impressed everyone during his short spell with us, ” he added. “He’s got an excellent temperament and deserves his chance. It’s always very rewarding when you get lads from obscurity and they come in and do a good job for you and Tom’s turned out to be a good signing.”
In a short time with the county, Craddock has made rapid strides. An eye-catching seven-wicket haul for the second XI against Sussex earned a County Championship debut against Division Two leaders Northants and he responded with four for 70 as Andrew Hall’s team suffered their first defeat of the season in four-day cricket.
Retained for the recent trip to Grace Road, Craddock again played a prominent role with match figures of six for 71 as Essex won a second successive Championship game to stay in promotion contention.
“His control is superb for a leg-spinner,” Grayson said. “He’s got a couple of good variations and, hopefully, he is only going to get better. We are delighted with him.”