Tommo Talks: Hampshire starlets offer reason for cheer during tough time

Tom Alsop's talent was underlined by a superb 195 this week    Picture: Neil Marshall
Tom Alsop's talent was underlined by a superb 195 this week Picture: Neil Marshall
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Everyone supporting Hampshire must be feeling pretty miserable at the moment.

Trust me, the players and coaches are feeling terrible, too.

Things are looking pretty ominous for our four-day team, who are fighting for survival in the top tier of the Championship, and our twenty20 outfit now run the risk of not qualifying for the knockout stages.

But I have found a number of reasons for cheer in the past few days.

After tackling the MCC with a number of our young talents last week, I joined them for a second-team match against Sussex at the Ageas Bowl.

And we recorded an excellent win, full of lots of brilliant individual performances by some very talented players.

Tom Alsop and Joe Weatherley both scored hundreds as they shared a stand of 298 for the first wicket.

And Mason Crane, our young leg-spinner, produced an excellent display of bowling on the last day to collect five wickets.

We won the game properly. And what I mean by that is we took 20 wickets and posted more than 500 in our first innings.

That left us with a small total to knock off second time round.

Three-day cricket is often affected by a lack of time.

Sporting declarations are made and targets are set after negotiations between the two sides.

This regularly leaves one side facing a large chase at a high run-rate and the other bowling under pressure for short periods.

This doesn’t do bowlers and batters any good in the long term because it does not reflect first class and Championship cricket.

And that’s exactly why this triumph over Sussex was so good.

Our bowlers got to bowl for longish periods in different conditions and the batters got to bat for a very long time as we dominated the game.

Joe has now hit back-to-back hundreds in the longer format.

Mason, who is also a handy lower-order batter, picked up five wickets this week.

Tom – a left-handed batter who can bat anywhere in the top order – scored 195.

And let’s not forget Brad Taylor – an off-spinning all-rounder – took five wickets last week.

All these players are aged 20 or younger.

But it is not just their talent which is exciting and impressive, they are also very strong and interesting characters, too.

All of them have been through the England age group set-up, which I firmly believe has helped them develop their knowledge and perspective on the game.

They are all highly motivated and hard working.

And they all enjoy each other’s success, which is great.

They are a tight group but all quite different in personality.

However, we know the most successful teams learn how to handle those differences.

These young players seem to do that and embrace each other’s quirky personalities on and off the field.

Because of this, they all seem to get on really well.

So while the present is pretty frustrating, I’m very excited for our future.