Hampshire talents earn professional deals

Mason Crane. Picture: Neil Marshall
Mason Crane. Picture: Neil Marshall
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Hampshire have handed professional contracts to batsman Joe Weatherley and leg-spinner Mason Crane.

The highly-rated duo, who have featured prominently for the Hampshire Academy and club’s second team this season, have signed two-year development contracts keeping them at the Ageas Bowl until the end of the 2017 season.

Weatherley said: ‘I’m delighted to have signed.

‘To be able to commit my future to Hampshire is great.

‘The club have played a big role in my development and instilling that confidence to perform consistently at a high level.

‘It was really great to then know that they have seen something in me.

‘Hopefully it’s just the start of a long career here.

‘Now it’s important for me to continue improving my skill-set going forward in order to contribute further to the team’s on-field success.’

Weatherley and Crane, both 18, are products of Hampshire’s youth set-up – having represented the county from an early age.

They have also represented England under-19s, with Weatherley captaining the side on their most recent tour to Australia.

The pair have also gained valuable experience this season with involvement in the first-team’s match preparations.

Crane picked up the prize wickets of Kumar Sangakarra and Vikram Solanki during his NatWest T20 Blast debut against Surrey at the Ageas Bowl earlier this month.

He is currently playing his maiden County Championship match against Durham.

Crane said: ‘It’s great to be a part of Hampshire and this contract is just the start of hopefully being a part of the club for a long time.

‘This year has been important in terms of improving and working on my game.

‘And being involved with the first-team has also been a great opportunity.

‘Being able to learn and pick up things from the players and coaches has been great and hopefully that’ll stand me in good stead to continue to contribute in the first team in the future.’

Hampshire Academy director Bobby Parks added: ‘I’m delighted for both players, who thoroughly deserve their contracts.

‘They have been fully committed and dedicated to the academy programme and now have every opportunity of moving themselves further in the game.

‘Joe has come through the elite programme at Hampshire from an early age and has scored more runs for county junior sides than any other batsman.

‘He is a brilliantly consistent opening batsman, who now turns his hand to off-spin.

‘Mason’s commitment to Hampshire has been outstanding.

‘It has involved many hours of travel from his school at Lancing to training sessions at the Ageas Bowl.

‘He is an exciting leg-spinner whose command of the art has earned him a Hampshire contract.’