Guernsey Press

Guernsey duo set to feature for Hampshire Under-17s this summer

Two promising young Guernsey bowlers will be turning out for Hampshire under-17s this summer.

L-R: Harry Johnson, Ed Robinson, Charlie Forshaw and Hampshire coach James Tomlinson. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 32966191)

Charlie Forshaw and Harry Johnson have already made their mark locally, both featuring prominently in the top-flight of domestic cricket, and have caught the eye with their performances, including when the Hampshire Academy visited the island last spring at the invitation of Guernsey director of cricket Jeremy Frith.

‘We ended up doing a Hampshire Academy tour last spring and it was really good. We had a week here playing against the [Guernsey] men’s team,’ said former Hampshire player and now player development manager James Tomlinson, who visited the island this week and is the special guest on this week’s Guernsey Press Sport Podcast.

‘Frithy and Ben [Ferbrache] identified a couple of players who might benefit from training in our pathway because that’s what the players need on this island – they need that exposure to other players, other cricket to see what good looks like. Ultimately, that’s my job – to try to show and demonstrate what good looks like in a pathway.

  • Listen to a full interview with James Tomlinson and Ben Ferbrache on the latest Guernsey Press Sport Podcast (from 07:15)

‘Both Charlie and Harry came over last summer, played a couple of games, did well in our U16s and Guernsey's got two players now who I think are county age-group under-17 players.

‘They’re good and it’s been nice to see them develop. They’ve popped over a couple of times this winter, and I’ve come over in this gap to do a bit of work with them as well, to try and keep the continuation.’

Tomlinson added that he can see the confidence gained by the two youngsters in their sessions with the Island men’s squad and the involvement with a Guernsey national side playing on the international stage in ICC competition will be beneficial to them as well.

‘We have links with loads of other counties – Berkshire, Dorset – and it’s the same analogy there,’ he said.

‘Those top-end Berkshire and Dorset players do suddenly have that advantage because they can play a high up in their minor counties in a national tournament in that get ahead of the curve and then they get identified by us, so they then get into our pathway. So having those two pathways is a real advantage.

‘Jersey have used that really well. They’ve done it really well recently and I think they’ve got a few players who have really pushed their first team, and they’ve had a lot of success, who are now actually trying to break in or have a genuine chance of breaking into county cricket, which is a pretty impressive.’

So what potentially awaits Forshaw and Johnson this summer?

‘We have an academy side and we have an ECB under-18s competition. What we also have is an under 17 team. I’ve actually this year provided more fixtures for that group because every year is different and we’ve actually got quite a strong group of 17s. So I’ve gone out of my way to speak to the counties and organise some friendlies.

‘Because of the travelling element to it, it would be wrong of me to say [to the Guernsey players], “right, you’ve got to play in the 18 ECB games”.

'What are we going to look at is as many of these U17 games as realistic and try to get them over, hopefully for a little period of time, and get some two-day cricket into them, some one day games into them and see how they go.

‘Every individual is different and we’ve got to do what’s right for both Harry and Charlie for the season, but essentially I think they would add to a Hampshire U17 side.

‘That’s a really good gauge of where they are at at the moment and that’s a real compliment.

‘They would very much get into a Hampshire U17 squad and I’ve got to try and get them as much exposure as possible.’