Berg keeps his cool on debut

Gareth Berg. Picture: Neil Marshall
Gareth Berg. Picture: Neil Marshall
James Vince. Picture: Sarah Standing (170455-8793)

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  • New Hampshire all-rounder strikes on day one of new season
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Gareth Berg revealed he had to overcome some first-day nerves as he enjoyed the perfect start to his Hampshire Championship career.

The new recruit from Middlesex picked up the wicket of Sussex’s Chris Nash with his first delivery of the new campaign and then added a second when he dismissed Michael Yardy with the first ball of his second over.

I was massively nervous waiting for my chance to bowl

Gareth Berg

But despite a long and distinguished career, the 34-year-old admitted he battled a few butterflies as he prepared for his Hampshire bow.

Berg, who ended the first day’s play with two for 47 from 17 overs, said: ‘I was massively nervous waiting for my chance to bowl.

‘Playing in pre-season, I was very relaxed but coming into this one, that hour or so I was waiting to bowl, there were some definite nerves out there.

‘The wicket with the first ball calmed everything down nicely.

‘I couldn’t have asked for a better start, to be honest.

‘I’ve never taken a wicket with my first ball on debut before.

‘It just went exactly how I wanted it.

‘I was hoping it might catch the edge but it nipped back and took the bail off.

‘It pitched about off stump or just outside and hit leg bail.

‘I’ve had a few battles with Nashy down the years and I seem to get him quite often, so it was nice to get him again.

‘Yardy is another one that I managed to get a few times so it was nice to see the back of those two.’

While the South Africa-born all-rounder is now keen to continue his promising start for his new club, he also knows he may require some patience, with Sussex resuming their first innings on 300 for six on day two.

He said: ‘Cricket is a funny game and I’ve been around a few years so I know that they sometimes come in clusters and sometimes, you toil.

‘You are always wanting to search for that five-wicket haul, especially for a new club.

‘Hopefully, I can grab a couple more early wickets and push for that.

‘I’ve toiled many times where if I don’t get a wicket in my first four or five overs, I start searching for it.

‘But to get a wicket early on like that gets your tail up.

‘The team were very happy with me and it was great to see that – they showed me a lot of love!’

Berg’s final year of his Middlesex contract was cancelled over the winter after he missed an entire year with a shoulder problem.

But he insists he is back to full fitness again.

He said: ‘There are absolutely no problems with the shoulder, touch wood.

‘There are a few niggles here and there but that is bound to happen being a year out of the game.

‘I’m feeling great. I’ve hit my straps at the moment.

‘I had one little spell where I didn’t bowl as well as I should have but I’m pretty happy about it.’

And Berg believes Hampshire might have enjoyed an even better opening day had a couple of decisions gone their way.

He said: ‘The score is about fair enough. A couple of decisions could have gone our way and we could have had them eight down, which would have looked better.

‘But the bowlers toiled pretty well, especially on the first day of the season.’