Tongue’s family friend hits jackpot for a bet he had placed 14 years back on cricketer

Josh Tongue received his England cap from pace-bowling stalwart James Anderson on Thursday in the one-off Test against Ireland.

Published : Jun 02, 2023 15:21 IST , London - 3 MINS READ

England fast bowler Josh Tongue.
England fast bowler Josh Tongue. | Photo Credit: GETTY IMAGES

England fast bowler Josh Tongue. | Photo Credit: GETTY IMAGES

A family friend of Josh Tongue, who made his England Test debut against Ireland, has hit the jackpot for a wager he had placed 14 years back on the pace bowler that he would one day go on to represent the country.

Josh, a 25-year-old right-arm quick, received his England cap from pace bowling stalwart James Anderson on Thursday in the one-off Test against Ireland on Thursday, and though he did not take a wicket, the Worcester Academy product bowled 13 overs, conceding just 40 runs.

A pub landlord, Tim Piper -- a family friend -- had taken a 500-1 odds that Josh would eventually play for his country when the boy was just 11 years old.

When Josh, who was included in the squad as injury cover ahead of the Ashes, was announced in the playing XI against Ireland, Piper became richer by 50,000 pounds.

“It’s been amazing, absolutely wonderful,” Piper told Sen Radio on Friday.

“I never dreamt it would be this popular and people in the pub can see me talking to people in America, India, Australia, they’ve got friends messaging them saying, ‘what the hell happened in Redditch (a town south of Birmingham where Piper resides)‘?” Piper, who watched Josh from a young age and played backyard cricket with him, added he was happy to see the youngster get his Test cap from one of the all-time great bowlers Anderson.

“This (father Phil Tongue) is a friend of mine for 35 years, this (Josh) is his son and I see the work him and his wife have put in to chase this boy around England for the last 25 years. It’s wonderful for the family and they were on the pitch today (Thursday) when he got his cap presented by Jimmy Anderson.

“It’s just a fairytale,” added Piper.

Josh, originally started off as a leg-spinner and played Under-11s when he was six, and Piper had the belief that the youngster would one day play for the country.

“On Tuesday night someone phoned me up and said he’s (Josh) playing. I was like, ‘you what’?” Piper said.

“I look at Sky Sport, BBC Sport, I saw that he was starting (against Ireland) so obviously ran upstairs, got the betting slip out of the cupboard, it’s been next to my passport for the last 14 years. I thought I bet to check this slip but I wrote it and read it correctly.

“It’s there and I thought oh my god. He knew I bet on him from a young age... it was known in Worcestershire cricket club a bet had been put on him.” Piper is the landlord of the Cricketers Arms pub in Redditch and played with Phil Tongue in local tournaments in the 1990s.

“Even though it’s 50,000 pounds to me, a lovely amount, but I’m so happy for the family,” he added.

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