Tributes to Hampshire cricketer who died in river tragedy

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Tributes have been paid to a promising young cricketer who drowned after falling into a river

Hampshire second XI player Hamza Ali has died aged 20, the club have confirmed in a joint statement with the MCC.

The right-arm seamer from Bristol played one first-class game against Cardiff MCCU in April, taking two wickets. He had also played in the Second XI Twenty20 competition and for the MCC Young Cricketers.

Reports in the Bristol area indicated he drowned after falling into the River Avon.

Charlie Freeston, Hampshire’s head of player development, said: “We are shocked and saddened to hear the news.

“Hamza was an incredibly committed and enthusiastic cricketer who always gave 100 per cent. His impressive performances on the field quickly proved he could be part of Hampshire’s future.

“We would like to send our deepest condolences to his incredibly supportive family and friends at this difficult time.”

MCC head coach Steve Kirby added: “Everyone at MCC is devastated and saddened to hear the tragic news of Hamza Ali’s death. In the short time he was with the squad, he made quite an impact on all of us, on and off the field.

“He greatly impressed us with his energy, enthusiasm and exceptional all-round talent. He starred with both bat and ball in helping the YCs to win their first game of the 2nd XI championship this season, against Sussex last week, with 44 and two for 39 in the first innings.”

Hampshire will wear black armbands in Hamza’s honour in Thursday evening’s NatWest T20 Blast match against Surrey.