By Connor Steel
HAMPSHIRE CRICKET have confirmed that Joe Weatherley has signed a new two year contract extension with the county, which will see the batsman stay at the Ageas Bowl until at least the end of the 2014 cricket season as he continues to impress coaching staff and fans alike with brilliant on-field displays.
A product of their successful player pathway system from academy to first team, Weatherley made his debut in 2016 and has since become a vital part of recent success in Southampton; making a large total of 125 appearances across all three key domestic formats over the last six and a half years.
The batsman, mostly playing in the top order, won his first piece of silverware for Hampshire in June 2018 when he was part of the team that lifted the Royal London One-Day Cup at Lords versus Kent; hitting 250 runs overall in the limited overs competition despite a second ball duck in the final.
Since then Weatherley’s role in the side has expanded to Twenty-20 and first class cricket despite a heavily truncated 2020 season due to the Covid-19 pandemic; making his name in the Vitality Blast Finals Day 2021 at Edgbaston with an impressive 71 against Somerset that ended in a heart-breaking defeat.
Similar pain was felt in the red-ball game as they fell to an one wicket defeat to Lancashire in September last year, costing them the County Championship title on the final day and finishing third in the table. It would have been their first Division One title since 1973 and just the third in their first class history.
This summer has furthermore increased his standing with Hampshire fans as he opened the season with a career best score in the County Championship of 168; helping to seal an innings victory over Somerset back in early April with his huge first innings contribution on a flat pitch as they started on the front foot.
But it was his involvement at number four in the 2022 Vitality Blast that has made him a hero, scoring 356 runs across sixteen games at an average of 27.38. This contribution helped the Hawks to their first title in ten years, beating Lancashire in the final at Edgbaston last weekend in a thrilling climax.
These performances have seen him called up to represent the Southern Brave in the Hundred, which will see him entertain the Ageas Bowl crowd from early August and look to help the team retain their title won in 2021. As a result he may not feature in Hampshire’s quest for glory in the Royal London One Day Cup competition that starts with a home game on August 5 (Friday) versus Worcestershire.
And Hampshire’s director of cricket Giles White seemed delighted with the signing as he said in a statement published online over the weekend: “Joe has become an important member of the squad with the ability to influence matches in all forms of the game. We’re delighted that he’s committed to the Club and look forward to seeing him continue his development over the next couple of years.”
This sense of excitement was shared by Weatherley himself as he signed the contract extension, adding: “I’m delighted to have signed for another two years; it was a no brainer to continue with the Club that I’ve been with since I was 9 (years old). Hopefully I can continue to perform for the team and we can enjoy more days like we did at Vitality Blast Finals Day and pick up more silverware.”
In other news Hampshire fast bowler Brad Wheal has been signed on loan by injury-hit Warwickshire on an one month deal and is available for the Bears’ game against Surrey starting at 11am today (Monday, July 25). More information can be read on a BBC Sport article available via this link.
PICTURED BY PA IMAGES (2JH93BM): Weatherley in action against Lancashire in Vitality Blast 2022 final.