Tommo Talks: Crucial decisions inspired Hampshire’s great escape

Gareth Berg, left. Picture: Neil Marshall
Gareth Berg, left. Picture: Neil Marshall
Dale Steyn was the pick of Hampshire's bowlers on day one against Yorkshire. Picture: PA Images

Dale Steyn shines on the opening day for Hampshire against Yorkshire 

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In his exclusive weekly column, Hampshire bowler James Tomlinson gives his verdict on the remarkable final-day relegation escape.

Did we deserve to stay up? Well, I think we did.

We finished two points ahead of Sussex, so that’s two points they didn’t get.

We stayed up was because of a couple of superb signings made during this summer that galvanised our team and meant we put our best side out at the end of the season.

Our performance on the third day against Nottinghamshire was superb and if we show that energy and determination next year, we will win a lot of games.

In my view, Gareth Berg is our player of the season.

He has been very consistent, calm, focused and has been one of the few players in the team who has not been affected by the team’s form.

Signing Fidel Edwards galvanised our side and definitely gave our batters some confidence, knowing they had someone in their team who was a natural wicket-taker and a genuinely fast bowler.

Individually, he has to be ranked as one of the best signings we have made in the last decade.

I am over the moon he has decided to sign next year.

His impact was very similar to Imran Tahir in 2008.

Although completely different bowlers, their statistics are very similar. To take 45 wickets in eight games is incredible.

Signing Ryan Mclaren, too, for the last four games was a great decision.

He is a bit like Berg and his calmness and professionalism at crucial moments shone through.

I think sending Liam Dawson out on loan also proved to be an excellent decision.

Since he came back, he had a large impact to the team with bat and ball.

Liam’s another player who, when he came back, galvanised himself and the team, too.

Staying up this year should give every player at the club who has contributed something to this season great confidence for next summer.

I can guarantee to everyone who supports the club you will see a better and more confident Hampshire side in 2016.

One thing I think has to be sorted out is working out a way of playing at home.

Winning matches at home has always been a problem for us in the first division.

Second division tactics were easier. Play on greener wickets and out-bowl teams.

In the first division, all attacks are good and I think we played on too many different types of wickets so no-one gained any confidence.

One option which we saw at the end of the year was to play on wickets that might spin, bringing Dawson, Danny Briggs and Mason Crane into the game.

Obviously, we could play on good wickets but for that to succeed we need to score big.

Whatever we do we need to be clear about how we play at home.

I am so relieved we managed to stay up, though, and at times this season we thought we had mucked it up.

Last year we won the league by a couple of points and this year we stayed up by a couple, too.

Every point is crucial and at times we lost that rule. I am certain we will learn a lot form this year. Here’s to next year.