The first glimpse of a true great

Today marks the 30th anniversary of Marcus Trescothick’s First Class debut for Somerset.

On this day in 1993, a young man from Keynsham made his first appearance for the club that he would serve with distinction for more than two decades.

Lancashire were the opponents at Taunton and a memorable encounter ended in two days with the most dramatic of wins for the home side. Other players made the headlines that day, but it was the first step on the path to greatness for Marcus.

We caught up with him this week to look back at that match.

Can he believe that it was really 30 years ago?

“It’s amazing to think that,” he said. “So much has happened since then. It’s 30 years but it feels like yesterday.”

Obviously, as a young player Marcus was desperate to make his debut for Somerset, but he was not expecting to be called up for that match against Lancashire. “It came as a bit of a surprise,” he explained. “I hadn’t scored that many runs for the Second XI going into that game. I think I even got 0 in my last innings before the Lancashire match, so I was a bit surprised that I got drafted into the First XI.

“Obviously, I was delighted that I was going to make my First Class debut. I wanted to be there and I wanted to succeed. In the end it took a bit longer than I wanted it to after that point. It took me a couple of years to really understand what I had to do.

“My family were as delighted as I was. At that stage I’d lived my whole life wanting to play for Somerset. To make my Somerset debut at home was a really special moment for me and my family. It really did give me a taste of what it was all about.”

What was it like walking out to bat that day?

“I felt like a hundred was a mile away at that point. The pitch wasn’t great at the time and I was facing Phil De Freitas and Wazim Akram. I was thinking: ‘oh my God! How am I going to score any runs against these guys?’ That was the real challenge for me at 17. It definitely gave me a taste of what I needed to try and do to make this last. It showed me what I needed to do to make my game better and to become more consistent than I was being in the Second Team at that time.

“It was a bit nerve wracking but there was an excitement that made me realise that this is where I wanted to be. It made me want to take my opportunity and become better. It made me want to succeed. I came away looking at what I could have done differently and how I could improve.

“You climb the next step by getting better.”

What advice does Marcus have for young players who are breaking into the First XI?

“When you bring young kids into the professional environment and give them big opportunities, you hope that they come away from it determined to understand what they need to do to get better.

“Let’s look at someone like James Rew. He’s young, but he’s good enough to play. Players, captains and coaches will look at him and see that he has the talent to play First Team cricket. He’s been given the opportunity to play in important games and it’s now up to them to understand what he can do to develop and grow along the way.”

What does Marcus put his success down to?

“Hard work, talent and enjoyment. Those are the three biggest things. I think I had a good ability at playing the game, but I also really loved doing it and had a real passion for working hard and trying to improve. Then you strive for more. The hard work that you put into practice pays off and makes a big difference.

“I was also lucky enough to have some good coaches along the way. The grounding that I was given by Peter Robinson in particular was certainly important during my early days.”

The game has changed a lot in the 30 years since his debut, how does Marcus see the game developing in the next 30 years?

“I saw a lot of things change as I went along and even more so towards the end. You could see the difference in professionalism and the approach to how players are coached. It’s evolved massively and there have been ups and downs. The biggest thing has obviously been T20 cricket and the way that the players can hit big sixes these days. People talk about the bats and what they give you but the biggest change has been the physical work and the coaching that goes into striking the ball out of the ground. The game has moved on dramatically in that sense.

“In the next 30 years I think we’ll see a lot of T20 cricket. I hope that there will still be a lot of four-day cricket and Test cricket as well. We’ve got to preserve the longer form of the game because I think that’s still the pinnacle and the biggest challenge both physically and mentally, but the entertainment side of things needs to work alongside of that.”