James Tomlinson’s Hampshire role reduced by Reece Topley arrival

Hampshire bowler James Tomlinson   Picture: Neil Marshall
Hampshire bowler James Tomlinson Picture: Neil Marshall
Hampshire's James Vince hits a six during the NatWest T20 Blast Finals Day at Edgbaston, Birmingham. PPP-170309-212743001

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James Tomlinson accepts that the arrival of Reece Topley will limit his Hampshire opportunities next season but insisted: I’m not finished yet.

The popular left-arm seamer picked up 20 wickets in nine Championship division one matches this season as Hampshire stayed up by the skin of their teeth on the final day of the season.

With the signing of Reece Topley for next year, it is pretty clear that I am not perceived as a main bowler for Hampshire any more

James Tomlinson

The 33-year-old has taken 378 first-class wickets since his debut in 2002 and was the leading wicket-taker with 47 in the 2014 division two title success.

But although he was a key performer in division two, Tomlinson saw his place in the attack taken by Fidel Edwards, Jackson Bird, rookie Ryan Stevenson and overseas signing Ryan McLaren towards the end of the campaign.

And with West Indies man Edwards returning next season and the signing of the 21-year-old Topley from Essex already confirmed, Tomlinson accepts his role could well be reduced.

He said: ‘Clearly with the signing of Reece Topley for next year, it is pretty clear that I am not perceived as a main bowler for Hampshire any more.

‘To be honest, I think that is a fair point.

‘I know deep down that the days of churning out 400-500 overs per season are over.

‘However, I am absolutely not writing myself off and I still absolutely think I can offer something to the team over the next couple of years.

‘But realistically, it is going to be in a smaller capacity.’

It’s typical of Tomlinson that his first thought is towards the good of the county, rather than his own career.

But he has only made one appearance since July.

He said: ‘I played a few second-team games and bowled a lot in the nets.

‘But I have been replaced in the team by Fidel coming back and the signing of McLaren – two international bowlers, so I can’t complain about that.

‘I would love to have bowled a bit more with Fidel but it was not to be.

‘We have also introduced Ryan Stevenson into the group, who alongside Brad Wheal, have done an excellent job for the first team.’

Meanwhile, Gareth Berg was named as players’ player of the year at the club’s end-of-season dinner.

The former Middlesex man took 42 wickets and scored 700 runs and turned in a string of consistent performances.

Hampshire pair Chris Wood and Lewis McManus will be running coaching courses for youngsters in October half-term at the Ageas Bowl.

For more information, visit ageasbowl.com or call 075000 05698.