Cricket: Heath still bringing the heat for Fremantle

Jamie Heath last week claimed his 350th A Grade scalp.
Jamie Heath last week claimed his 350th A Grade scalp.

JAMIE Heath continues to prove that age is just a number, with the plucky 39-year-old continuing to cause havoc in WA Premier Cricket for Fremantle.

The veteran quick broke yet another milestone on Saturday, taking the wicket of Joondalup stalwart Michael Swart to record his 250th A-Grade scalp in just 126 matches.

Heath remains one of the leading bowlers in the competition, coming off a career-best season last year featuring 39 wickets, while also guiding the Port Boys to the grand final.

“To be honest, I really don’t know what the catalyst was for guys knicking me more than normal,” Heath said.

“Whether the younger guys in 1s weren’t used to a tall gangly bloke who might stick off the sight screen occasionally, I don’t know.

“I certainly don’t have the pace that I used to but it is good to see the catches still carrying to the slips.”

The New South Wales product moved across to Western Australia in 2004 with plenty of experience, coincidently in the same season that Australian opener Shaun Marsh and Sean Ervine announced themselves at Fremantle.

“We (Marsh and Heath) boosted the ranks at Fremantle that year and I have played for the club ever since,” Heath said.

“Coming to the club as a senior player we didn’t really have a leader from a bowling perspective. I fell into that with myself and Brett Dorey.

“Over the years we had Nathan Coulter-Nile through and Michael Hogan come over, along with my good mate Mark Cameron.

“It was good to have a few experienced guys to bowl with during those years.”

Heath has had many career highlights over his time, but earmarks the 2006-07 season and last year as his and the club’s defining moments during his journey.

“Around 2006-07 was the last time Freo was in any form of finals (prior to 2015-16). We won the T20 flag and lost to South Perth in the one-day final,” he said.

“Last year was just brilliant, coming home with a wet sail to basically just scrape into the six.

“To then make it through to the final beating Willetton and Rockingham-Mandurah was terrific.”

Heath has high hopes for the year, with the return of a talented Englishman and some youngsters coming of age.

“Obviously having Tom (Abell) back is great,” he said.

“It showed last year: having someone with a bit more experience at the top of the order just seemed to give more confidence to the guys behind him.

“We really have continued from where we left off, with Dan Kennedy and Chris Davenport starting the season fantastically, strengthened by Brayden Sutton coming over from the Mariners.”

As for the veteran’s future, Heath has no intentions of giving up the game he loves, with the big quick continuing to defy the odds week-in week-out.

“I have always said I will play as long as my body will let me,” he said.

“So as long as it keeps coming out alright and Woody (captain Chris Wood) keeps throwing me the ball, I will play.”