The 2016 season sees a strengthened academy squad with the recent addition of Tom Sole as Senior Academy Player. Tom was Captain of Cricket at Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh where he was an outstanding sportsman in rugby, hockey and cricket. Professional rugby could well have been a career choice for Tom. He excelled at the sport throughout school but decided at 15 that it was cricket he wanted to focus on. “It gets the best out of me” he explained “I love team sports but cricket is also very individualistic.” It was a gap year spent in New Zealand that really changed Tom’s cricket. He spent the whole year playing cricket first with Otumoetai Cadets in Tarunga and then the Ben Williams Cricket Academy. “I learnt so much from that year. I became a lot more confident in my ability and really grew in my experience. I began to understand different conditions and really assess different pitches and therefore how to adjust my bowling and batting.”
In 2014 he was in the Scotland under-19 squad and played a big part for Grange as they won the Scottish Cup and the Murgitroyd T20 events. Tom was introduced to Northants through his coach at Grange Cricket Club, John Blaine, who is a former Northants player and suggested Tom speak to Rips and explore Academy options. He was offered a few second XI appearances in 2015, the highlight being the match against Warwickshire where Tom picked up 3 for 42 with his spin bowling. “Last year was obviously an incredible experience but this year already, things feel different. I’m part of the club and the team and I’m really throwing myself into it. I’ve moved into a house with David Murphy and Olly Stone and I’m immersing myself into all things Northants. The intensity already has surprised me but that suits my mental attitude. I’m never half hearted about anything, I always give my best to everything I do, be it fitness training, nutrition or skills work. I am training with the first XI every day and meet up with the rest of the academy once a week.”
Tom’s current contract sees him at the club for two years and his ambition certainly means we might be seeing a lot of him. “I’m certainly hoping to get a few first class games. Personally, my cricket is geared towards white ball but I am looking to progress more towards red ball cricket.” No doubt there will be a few fans following his progress with keen interest too!