Teenager Sales starting to make a name for himself at Northants

"I didn’t see him play much play growing up but from what I hear he was a good player himself."

Thursday, 16th September 2021, 3:44 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th September 2021, 3:46 pm
Northants teenager James Sales

It can't be easy being a teenager trying to make their way in sport while following in the footsteps of a club legend, but that is what James Sales is currently trying to do.

And the 18-year-old all-rounder is making a pretty impressive fist of things so far.

The son of former County batsman and skipper David, Sales Jnr is enjoying a breakthrough season at Wantage Road, first taking his List A bow in the Royal London One Day Cup, before last week making his debut appearance in the County Championship.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Sales played a small but key role in the thrilling two-wicket win over Surrey in his first game, even hitting the winning runs, before making a far more substantial contribution this week to help his team salvage an unlikely draw in their clash with Durham.

First, Sales hit an unbeaten 38 to support Luke Procter (76) and lift Northants to 183 all out in their first innings, and then made a very impressive 53 in the second innings.

His efforts, allied to stubborn innings from Procter again (44) and Simon Kerrigan (28no), ensured Northants just about batted out the final day to claim a share of the spoils. The final four batsman survive 55 overs between them in a pretty remarkable rearguard effort.

Oh, and he claimed a wicket in Durham's first innings of 400 all out as well.

But it is with the bat that Sales has shone during his fledgling Northants career to date, and he was happy play his part.

“It is nice to get a few runs under the belt," said Sales.

"I haven’t batted much recently because of the Royal London Cup, but in this game I batted twice and got runs in both innings and it was nice to nearly see us home in the second innings.

“Chatting to the guys at the other end helped and I just tried to keep it simple.

"I tried to avoid going into my shell and not try to survive rather than play my natural game."

Almost inevitably, the subject of Sales' dad came into the conversation with 'Jumble' being such an icon at the County Ground.

He played close to 600 matches in all competitions for the club, scoring almost 23,000 runs over 19 seasons, but Sales Jnr admits he never got to see much of him in his pomp.

“My dad has been mentioned quite a bit recently," said Sales, who revealed he has been working on his batting with his father..

"I didn’t see him play much play growing up but from what I hear he was a good player himself!

“I’ve worked with a bit in the last few years and it is paying off.

"After the game I had a message from him saying ‘well done’.”