Thomson did it on a rain-affected pitch at Worthing in 1964, with John Snow bowling without luck at the other end. Without doubt it was a factor in his selection to go to South Africa, gaining his only international recognition in the twilight of his career. He was 36 during the tour and retired after one more domestic season.
''It was a super tour, even though we faced a succession of plum wickets and drew all the Tests bar the first, which the spinners won for us,'' he said. He was to return to South Africa to coach after he retired and had charge of Darryl Cullinan, the current South African Test player, as an eight-year-old. ''He was the best little cricketer I'd seen,'' Thomson said. ''I've followed his career ever since.''
Back home, Thomson moved back to the East End of London, where he grew up, to work in his father's motor car business. But he hankered after the South Coast and quit to train as a teacher, which has been his profession since. Although he retired from full-time teaching in 1985, he still accepts supply work at primary schools even at 66.
He recently left the long-time family home in Hove for the nearby village of Henfield, where he lives with his wife, Eileen. Their daughters, Carol and Tracey, both live in the Hove area.
Jon CulleyReuse content