Jacob Timothy Ball was born in Mansfield on 14 March 1991 into a family of cricketers. Jake attended Meden School in Warsop and played his early cricket for Welbeck Cricket Club, the cricketing home of many members of his mother’s family. In time he followed his uncle, Bruce French, into county cricket with Nottinghamshire and international cricket with his country.
A tall right arm pace bowler and lower order batsman, Jake Ball first appeared for Nottinghamshire’s Second Eleven in 2008 and made his First XI debut in September 2009 in a NatWest Pro40 match against Sussex at Hove. He played a further List-A match in 2010 and appeared for England under-19s against the touring Sri Lankans that summer. Joining the full time playing staff at Trent Bridge for the 2011 season, he made his First-Class debut in Abu Dhabi, where Notts faced the MCC in the Champion County match.
In subsequent years, Ball played frequently for the County in limited overs competitions but it was not until 2015 that he made his mark in First-Class cricket. That year, he claimed 67 wickets in all formats, with 41 of those victims in the County Championship. He recorded career-best bowling figures of 6-49 against Sussex and his top score with the bat when he hit 49 not out against Warwickshire.
His performances brought him to the attention of the national selectors, who included Ball in the squad for the winter England Lions tour, during which he featured in List-A and T20 encounters with Pakistan A in Dubai. He went a step further during the summer of 2016 when he made his Test debut at Lord’s against Pakistan. The cricket authorities made this an extra special occasion for Ball by asking England’s wicketkeeping coach and Jake’s uncle, Bruce French, to make the presentation of his England cap. In another Nottinghamshire link, Ball opened the bowling in his first Test alongside Trent Bridge team mate Stuart Broad.
Ball played two further Tests on the winter tour of India in 2016/17 and in the Brisbane Test against Australia that opened the Ashes Test series of 2017/18. In addition to those four Tests, he has appeared in 18 One Day Internationals and two T20 internationals for his country. In all, he has taken 26 wickets at international level. In October 2016, he became the first England player to claim five wickets on his One Day International debut when he recorded figures of 5-51 against Bangladesh in Mirpur.
Back with Nottinghamshire, Ball was a member of the Nottinghamshire side which won the T20 Blast in 2017. He played a major part in the campaign, taking 22 wickets in 14 games. In the Final at Edgbaston, he claimed 2-26 from his four overs, a spell which included eight dot balls and some fine death bowling.
In 2015, Nottinghamshire took List-A cricket to Welbeck Cricket Club, the ground where Ball had taken his first steps in the game. He was proud to represent his County at his own Club and in 2019 would also appear against Hampshire in the first County Championship match played at the venue.
At the end of the 2023 season, it was announced that Jake's contract would not be renewed and subsequently, he signed for Somerset. In his many years at Trent Bridge, starting in age-group cricket, he had played his part in many important matches and trophy wins. If injury had restricted his appearances more than either he or the club would have wished, he still finished with 206 First-Class wickets. In his very last game, he signed off with a flourish - driving through mid-wicket for the winning boundary against Middlesex.
Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 612