Hampson in top job
Monto batter-keeper at the helm
SAFE HANDS: Monto born and bred Tony Hampson has been selected in the Queensland Country Cricket team.
WHACKING an old ball tied to a tree and running after horses was the good, honest training schedule cricketer Tony Hampson stuck to as a kid.
And it seems to have paid off, with the Monto-raised batter-keeper named captain of the Queensland Brahmans for the Australian Country Championships tournament in Bendigo next month.
“I started preparing the day after I found out I was captain,” Hampson said.
“This is my fifth year in the squad, but my first time as captain. We want to win!”
The first step to success is fostering good team spirit, and Hampson has already started getting to know the rest of his side.
“The aim is when we get to camp on January 1, everyone knows each other. It makes it less awkward and everyone can focus on their role in the team,” he said.
As well as looking after the team, Hampson aims to lead by example with his own performance.
He is the wicket keeper and bats at number seven but despite these similarities to legendary Australian cricketer Adam Gilchrist, his style of play is different.
“I’m not as explosive as Gilly,” he said.
“I don’t arrive at the crease full guns blazing.
“My favourite shot would be the cut shot.
“I like to hit one early on in the middle of the bat, and then I know everything’s working.”
While he doesn’t mind facing spin bowling, the careful batsman said a short ball was the one he feared the most.
“I don’t like playing a hook shot early,” Hampson said.
“Three or four years ago I would have said playing off my legs was a weakness, but I’ve worked hard on that now and I think I’ve got it covered.”
The life-long cricket nut has been keeping ever since his dad threw him the gloves during junior cricket in Monto.
“We all rotated in those days, but as I got older my mates started to focus more on their batting and bowling and I was always the back-up keeper. I started out being more of a batsman,” he said.
“But then as I got older
Tony Hampson I started preparing the day after I found out...
my keeping is what was getting me into teams. It’s competitive though, there’s only one in a side.”
Staying ahead of the pack comes down to fitness and the Townsville-based athlete spends a lot of time doing squats at the gym, running and cycling.
“It’s lots of specific training, like doing weights but in a specific motion for cricket,” he said.
“Squats are good because that’s a motion you do a lot when you’re keeping.
“I also do a lot of core work because balance is the key. It gives a lot of control, especially for batting.”
The Australian Country Championships are a semi-professional event; the athletes don’t get paid but they don’t have to pay for anything either.
“It’s like being a professional for two weeks. You just eat, breathe and sleep cricket,” Hampson said.
“We are very professional in the way we prepare and we have ice-baths and proper warm-ups.”
But the cricketing focus is not likely to be much of a change for Hampson, who admits he has “pretty much lived cricket” ever since he was a kid and even now works full time as a regional development manager for Queensland Cricket.
“It was a big commitment being from Monto though and my family were so supportive. Our home game was in Biggenden, so we often had to travel further for our home game than the away teams,” he said.
“But dad built nets at home and my cousin Craig would always be coming around to bowl to me.
“My pop lived only 2km up the road and his backyard was the place for many a cricket battle!”
Teams from all Australian States as well as an Asia-Pacific team will play two two-day matches; a one-day match and a Twenty20 match during the January 5-12 Australian Country Championships in 2015.
“Queensland hasn’t won since my first year in the side. So we will be aiming to win again, and at least get more wins than losses,” Hampson said.
LEADING BY EXAMPLE: Monto born-and-bred cricketer Tony Hampson has been selected as captain of the Queensland Country Cricket team.