Forgotten man Balcombe serves up reminders

David Balcombe celebrates the first wicket of the new Hampshire season. Picture: Neil Marshall

David Balcombe celebrates the first wicket of the new Hampshire season. Picture: Neil Marshall

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David Balcombe believes the extra responsibility on his shoulders can bring the best out of him after he made a flying start to the new season.

The 27-year-old Hampshire bowler picked up three early wickets on day one of the new Championship season.

Gloucestershire found themselves in early trouble before recovering to 195 for four by the end of the day’s play.

Balcombe – who spent most of last season on loan at Kent – was the pick of the bowlers.

And he revealed that he is relishing stepping up to become the club’s senior bowler, after finding himself surplus to requirements in the past.

Balcombe said: ‘It was quite nerve-wracking getting the Hampshire shirt back on again.

‘It’s the first game and you want to set the tone for the year but it was brilliant to be out there.

‘There is such a fresh feel to the bowling attack and the whole side.

‘To get some early wickets was an absolute bonus.

‘With Kabby (Kabir Ali) and Tommo (James Tomlinson) on the sidelines at the moment, I’ve had to take a bit more responsibility.

‘But I loved it. I got that task at Kent and I said to Giles White when I came back that I really thrived on that.

‘I get to chat to Hamza (Riazuddin) and Woody (Chris Wood).

‘We’ve got some sound heads in the slips with Simon Katich there now but it’s great to have those older heads around you as well.

‘I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself but I had discussions about taking more of a leadership role within the bowling group.

‘We’ve got a really good young squad and a great crop of bowlers.

‘We are a smaller squad this year but there is competition for places.

‘There is a real sense of playing for each other.’

Balcombe admitted there was a tinge of disappointment that Hampshire had not made even more of their positive start.

But he believes there is still an excellent chance of the hosts securing victory.

He said: ‘They probably got away from us a little bit in patches.

‘A couple of catches went down and that happens.

‘Ideally, we would have wanted them six down for maybe 150.

‘They probably got 40-odd runs too many. They have got a young batting line-up and we were looking to get stuck into them early on, which we did.

‘At one point, we were looking like we could have gone through them.

‘We wouldn’t want them to be getting too many more than 250.

‘If we come out and bowl well and hit our areas, it will be a nice score for us to attack.’

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