Tom Reflects on his First Year

Tom Banton has enjoyed a successful first year since joining the Somerset playing staff from the Academy back in the autumn of 2017.

The young batsman wicket-keeper who celebrates his 20th birthday on November 11th rounded off his summer with his Specsavers County Championship debut in the home match against Surrey. He also won the Tom Pearce Award for Young Player of the Season at the Players’ Dinner last weekend.

Before he heads off to Western Australia, where he will be playing Grade Cricket this winter, Tom talked about his debut and reflected on his season overall.

“I loved every moment of my championship debut,” he said. “Although it was a bit of a weird one to have been involved in. I felt really proud to walk out to the middle with Marcus Trescothick, and after feeling a bit nervous to begin with I forgot about that and just got on with it.”

In that first innings Tom made 30 out of total of 146. He was at the wicket for 10 minutes short of two hours, faced 62 deliveries and hit three fours and a six. During his stay in the middle he added 26 for the fourth wicket with Tom Abell and 31 with Josh Davey, before being eighth man out with the total on 84.

“It was certainly a lot different to playing second team cricket,” he said. “There are not so many bad balls, so you have to be a lot more patient. I got 30 before I was caught off the glove sweeping, which was a bit unlucky, so overall I was happy with that.  I don’t think that I would have gone for that shot if the scoreboard had been different, but I spoke to Josh Davey at the other end and we decided that was probably the best way to go about things.”

Tom retained his place for the last Championship match of the season against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge, where his dad Colin had played back in 1995.

“He sent me a pic on the morning of the game of him on the outfield in the Notts team photo,” said Tom “It was great to get that. Trent Bridge was a lot bigger than I thought it was going to be, but sadly I didn’t do so well, which was a shame.”

How did Tom find playing four day cricket?

“It’s a long time, it’s true,” he said. “You don’t realize it until you’re fielding all day. However, when you’re batting it’s quite good fun, and I enjoyed every moment of it.”

Before he got his Championship chance Tom enjoyed a hugely successful season in the Second XI, which resulted in him winning the Tom Pearce Award for Young Player of the Season.

“I hit a rich vein of form at the beginning of the year, I’m not too sure why. It maybe that I had worked on a few small technical things, but it just came off. I must admit that I felt a little bit frustrated not to have been called up to the first team then, but I’m still young and the guys in the team are more experienced, so I’ve just got to wait and things will hopefully fall into place for me.”

One shot that Tom played in his unbeaten 29 for Somerset in their home victory over Essex in the Vitality Blast was a reverse swept six which has attracted a huge amount of interest since.

“I think that’s one that I’ve learned from playing a lot of hockey, which I did from when I was about six years old. That’s probably why I play the reverse quite a bit, because that’s what I tended to do when I was playing hockey. It’s one of those shots that came off, while other days I will miss and get bowled.

“In white ball cricket I do like to chase the runs from the off, but in red ball I think that I’ve changed quite a bit and over the last couple of years I’ve become a lot more patient than I used to be.”

“My first year as a professional cricketer has been pretty good although I wasn’t here too much in the winter because I was away with the England Under 19s. When I’ve been here I have loved every moment of it, coming into the ground and working in the gym.

“The gym work that we do in the winter is pretty hard, but as a professional sportsman that’s what you have to do.”

Having had the taste of first team cricket Tom is keen to experience more next season.

“I played a little bit this year, and I know I didn’t do that well, but hopefully next year I’ll get a few more opportunities and push on and get a big score. Hopefully I have a big season in the first team and become more consistent and if I do that, then I might get a call up for the Lions at the end of next summer!”

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