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Teen Reece Topley eyes Essex legacy win at Edgbaston
TEENAGER Reece Topley says he'd love to win the Twenty20 trophy at Edgbaston tomorrow so he can meet up with his team-mates when they have retired to look back proudly on the achievement of becoming champions.
The 19-year-old has come of age in the competition over the past two seasons with 36 wickets to his name, but he says he'd trade any personal accolades for a place in the club's history books alongside players and staff who have become close friends.
"When I first came in at Essex I thought everyone would be different, but I have just been able to be myself and have had an absolutely amazing three years with the club," he said.
"That's down to people like Ravi and Tendo and Fozzy, and people like that, who have made it enjoyable. They are not only team-mates now but they are close friends.
"And it's nice to have that because you go through tournaments like this and Finals Day, and you hope that one day you will all be able to look back on success fondly in years to come.
"Maybe one day we'll all be sat there at a past players' meeting and talking about when we won at Edgbaston. I hope so."
The 6ft 7in tall left-arm seamer is the son of former Essex paceman Don Topley and it's clear he is a student of the game.
He was at Edgbaston in 2011 to see Leicestershire win the Twenty20, and says the sight of the Foxes players celebrating made him determined to experience that feeling himself one day.
He said: "The two semi-finals that year went to super overs and the final went all the way to the last over, so it was great to watch.
"I just remember what a great spectacle it all was and how great it looked to win, and I'd love to be a part of that with Essex."
It will be Topley's first Finals Day - "the first of many" he hopes - but despite his tender years he'll have no inferiority complex on the big occasion.
The former England Under-19 international finished second highest wicket taker in the competition last season with 17, and occupies that spot again with 19 heading into tomorrow morning's semi with Northants.
And as he fielded questions at media day at the County Ground yesterday, there was no indication of the slightest nerves ahead of competing in such an intense atmosphere.
"I'm very laissez faire about everything heading into a big game like this," he said.
"Whatever I need to work on I'll do, whether that might be death bowling or length bowling.
"I don't have a strict routine, I just prepare in the way that I think is right."
Topley identified Northants' Aussie batsman Cameron White as their potential danger-man, but said: "He's played at the highest level and at competitions all around the world, and is probably their biggest threat with the bat.
"But it does not matter who you are in world cricket, if you are bowled a good ball then you respect the bowler, and I intend to show off my skills."