CRICKET: Student Alsop is making the grade with Hampshire

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Hampshire's Tom Alsop Hampshire's Tom Alsop

WHILST his schoolmates are turning their attentions to further education or the beginning of their working lives, Tom Alsop is coming to terms with the start of life as a professional cricketer.

The 18-year-old, from Rowde, celebrated his first-class debut for Hampshire with a knock of 53 and an unbeaten 39 in a friendly clash with Cardiff MCCU last week.

The John Bentley School pupil had his graduation from Hampshire’s academy rubber-stamped, earning a two-year development contract at the Ageas Bowl.

Wicketkeeper/batsman Alsop, whose first taste of first-team cricket came in a YB40 match against Lancashire last year, has impressed for the second string this season and reckons his impressive 150 against a strong Surrey 2nd XI last month was the final push he needed to clinch his contract.

“I’m pinching myself at the moment really because it feels like I’ve achieved what I set out to do in my short cricketing career already,” said Alsop.

“Everyone else at school is thinking about going away to university or getting a job but I’m going to be moving down to Southampton on June 1 to start playing full-time.

“I was aiming to try and get a contract this year but they usually don’t get given out until the end of the summer, so I’m pretty lucky to have got one already.

“I played in a 2nd XI game against Surrey and they pretty much played their first team. I was proud of getting 150 against players like (Chris) Tremlett and (Gareth) Batty and not long after that, I got called in to Giles White’s (Hampshire coach) office.

“He said that it was really impressive and that they were offering me a contract.”

Potterne CC youngster Alsop, whose older brother Owen also came through the academy set-up at the Ageas Bowl, is currently studying for his A-levels, but has also set his sights on graduating to Hampshire’s first team on permanent basis.

Alsop said: “The game against Cardiff went well – I think that any batsman is happy when they’re not out.

“The aim is to now push to get in to the first team.

“If I can try and average 40 or 50 in second XI games for the rest of the season, then hopefully I can push for a place in the first team.”

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