Tommo sees momentum on Hampshire’s side

James Tomlinson. Picture: Neil Marshall
James Tomlinson. Picture: Neil Marshall
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James Tomlinson will lead the charge for Hampshire as they bid to extend their dream week.

The Ageas Bowl seamer bowled superbly to grab a match-winning five for 86 in the Championship thriller at Essex last weekend.

His haul fired Jimmy Adams’ side to a two-run win in a nail-biting finish in Chelmsford.

Games going down to the wire are almost becoming the norm for Hampshire these days.

They followed that triumph by securing a memorable last-ball victory in the Friends Life t20 quarter-final with Nottinghamshire in midweek.

Success at Trent Bridge booked them a third straight finals day appearance.

And while Tomlinson was not on the field – instead glued to the TV for the t20 classic – he knows the wind is in Hampshire’s sails after two crucial victories that could yet define their season.

The swing bowler will come back into the squad as they prepare to host fellow Championship promotion contenders Kent at the Ageas Bowl today.

Tomlinson said: ‘It’s been a really good week for the club.

‘We’ve had two big wins and it sets us up really well for the rest of the season.

‘We just need to keep that kind of momentum now.

‘Sometimes it can come down to the last ball or the last few minutes of a game but that is why we play professional sport and that’s why people love watching it.

‘Who knows? It could come down to another one like that against Kent this time but if it does, we’ll be ready for it.

‘Those wins have kept us in the two competitions and that’s very important – we don’t want to let the season drift away.

‘You want that momentum behind you but all of the lads should be full of confidence going into this game.’

Tomlinson, who took the final wicket at Chelmsford to dismiss Adam Wheater, praised Adams’ bold declaration in the rain-affected win.

Now he is keen to defeat a team who stand just five points behind second-placed Hampshire in the table.

The left-armer said: ‘It was a very adventurous declaration at Essex and it paid off for us.

‘We’ve been bowling well for a long time and I thought we were fantastic. We deserved the win.

‘But now we’ve got to make our home advantage count, which I think is the secret to doing well in this league.

‘Kent are a very, very good side but we just have to play our way.

‘We did well in the reverse fixture at Tunbridge Wells in the two days we got on there. But I think we are two evenly-matched sides.’

While David Balcombe shouldered the wicket-taking burden at the start of the season, Tomlinson has now claimed 19 Championship scalps and is keen for more.

He said: ‘I’m feeling confident. I feel like I have bowled well in every game I’ve played in this season, which is a good feeling.

‘I felt that towards the end of last year as well and I feel like I know what I’m doing.

‘But I enjoy bowling with this group and as a unit, I think we are working well together.

‘We’ve bowled tightly and also aggressively at times.

‘I don’t think we’ve let the opposition off the hook too many times and it was only at the very end last week that we had a few problems.

‘We’ve got a nice blend of variety and we’ve got loads of options at the moment.

‘It’s a difficult team to pick.’