Tommo still believes in title challenge

James Tomlinson is itching to get back onto the field for Hampshire
James Tomlinson is itching to get back onto the field for Hampshire
Jonny Bairstow, right, thanks skipper Eoin Morgan. Picture: Neil Marshall

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James Tomlinson has shrugged off Hampshire’s poor start to the 2011 campaign and said: We’re not out of the title race yet.

The long-serving bowler is currently on his way back from a foot injury and has targeted a return to the County Championship side for the clash with Sussex on May 4.

In his absence, Hampshire have made a stuttering start to the new campaign as they clung on for a draw in their opener against Durham and then crashed to a nine-wicket loss at Nottinghamshire last week.

But Tomlinson has seen Hampshire sides come back from slow starts in the past and he is convinced their title hopes are far from over at this early stage.

He said: ‘We are sometimes slow starters to a season and it’s very frustrating.

‘Against Durham, we bowled poorly as a team and we have to accept that but we batted well.

‘At Notts, our bowling was okay but our catching let us down and we didn’t bat very well.

‘We have started slowly and we did last year.

‘But it’s just one game that we’ve lost and it’s about how you bounce back from that.

‘Every game is massive and there will not be much difference between finishing seventh and first.

‘It only takes a couple of wins to turn it around very quickly. I don’t think it would be over at all even if we lose the next game against Somerset. You just need to get on a run.

‘But if we start thinking like that and thinking “if we lose another game the challenge is over”, that would be a big mistake.

‘You can win six games and still win the County Championship because there is so little difference between a draw and a defeat.’

Tomlinson’s nagging accuracy has certainly been missed so far but thankfully he is close to recovery.

He said: ‘It’s coming along okay, although quite slowly.

‘It will probably be another week or so before I’m fully fit, which takes me up to the Somerset game but I don’t think I will play because it would be a risk.

‘So that takes us to the Sussex game on May 4 where I will be looking to play.’