Teenager Tom Alsop revelled in his substitute appearance with the gloves as he stepped in to answer Hampshire’s SOS.
The 17-year-old Academy starlet – who sat a psychology AS level exam in the morning – was drafted in at short notice to keep wicket in the Royals’ YB40 victory over Lancashire when Adam Wheater suffered a side strain in the warm-up.
With Michael Bates summoned from the seconds game at Middlesex, that meant Alsop – who is not even the first-choice Academy wicketkeeper – filled in for the first 15 overs of the Lancashire innings in full glare of the Sky Sports TV cameras.
But the Wiltshire-based youngster showed no sign of nerves.
He also claimed a superb catch to dismiss Steven Croft standing up to the stumps from Dimi Mascarenhas’ bowling before making way when Bates arrived.
Alsop said: ‘I was in the gym and I got told that Wheats had done his side in so I had to go and warm up with the first team. It was a bit of a shock and I was a bit nervous but excited as well.
‘But it was amazing. I came off the pitch and the first thing I said to Bobby Parks (Academy manager) was “I need to become a pro”.
‘That buzz was ridiculous – it really was something else.’
Alsop also revealed that his senior team-mates had given him plenty of praise – especially after his part in the wicket.
He said: ‘It was a great moment. There were a few expletives!
‘I kept saying to myself “just keep looking at that white ball”. It pitched and I just went with the natural line after it moved. It caught the edge and it stuck in there.
‘It was all over in a flash but it was brilliant.
‘But there was a lot of encouragement and praise, which was really nice to get from guys you look up to.
‘Jimmy (Adams) had a few words in the changing room and it settled the nerves a bit. Then as I went off, he said “brilliant work” and gave me a pat on the back.’