Tommo ‘embarrassed’ at career best

Hampshire bowler James Tomlinson hit 51 runs against Gloucestershire   Picture: Neil Marshall
Hampshire bowler James Tomlinson hit 51 runs against Gloucestershire Picture: Neil Marshall
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James Tomlinson admitted he felt embarrassed after scoring his maiden first class half-century.

The popular Hampshire left-arm seamer, who made his debut in 2002, hit a career best 51 – beating his previous best of 42 – in a 115-run stand with David Balcombe (65 not out) as the home side were eventually bowled out for 297 by Gloucestershire, having been reduced to 182 for nine on day one.

But while the fans showed their appreciation and his team-mates applauded his efforts from the balcony as he hit a boundary to reach the landmark, Tomlinson looked sheepish as he raised his bat.

He said: ‘I was a bit embarrassed to be honest. I didn’t really know what to do.

‘It’s nowhere near the feeling of getting five wickets. I much prefer getting wickets.

‘But it was a really good moment and a great feeling.

‘I’m not expecting to get a century anytime soon. I don’t know where that’s coming from.

‘But it’s nice to finally have one against the 50 column.

‘It’s funny because I didn’t get nervous when I was getting close.

‘Technically, it’s not really my job so I wasn’t too worried.’

While Tomlinson proved he is a capable batsman, Balcombe also impressed with some fine strokes and perhaps could have gone on to claim a maiden century has his team-mate not had a rush of blood.

Tomlinson said: ‘Balcs batted superbly. He hit some amazing cricket shots.

‘When he gets his eye in and gets himself forward, he is a really good player.

‘I’d hit two fours and I thought I could hit another one so I was gutted to get out when I did.

‘I got over-excited, which is rare for me. Normally, I get a bit bored when I’m batting.

‘I feel like I let Balcs down because he could have got 100 but I also blame him because he didn’t tell me to calm down after I’d got my 50.

‘We did well to get 115 so we can’t be too greedy, I suppose.

‘We just tried to keep it simple.

As tail-enders you tend to overthink things.

‘Then you start trying to predict the ball that’s coming, you play a pre-meditated shot and you make a mistake. Good batters just play the ball.’

While the 32-year-old has not made any major technical changes or suddenly put in the hours in the nets, he revealed that a new mindset from coach Dale Benkenstein has allowed him to be more positive with his batting.

He said: ‘In the past, I used to just block it and hope.

‘But Dale Benkenstein has told me to bat with more freedom and aggression but to be selective and that’s worked well.

‘I haven’t had too many nets this year.

‘I know my game and when you know it, the key is to try to stick to it.

‘But instead of leaving a half-volley outside off stump, I’ve tried to be more positive when there is a bad ball and tried to hit it for four.’

While Tomlinson enjoyed his moment, he knows his main role will be to make inroads into the Gloucestershire batting line-up on day three with them well-placed at 94 for one after a rain-affected day.

He said: ‘They got off to a flyer but we didn’t bowl particularly well.

‘We will have to bowl well because we don’t want them to take control of the game.’