Capital teenager Tom Sole believes six months spent in New Zealand over the winter focusing on his cricket helped him head into the 2015 season with a spring in his step – and judging by the way the last few days have gone he is not wrong.
Sole, 18, is the youngest son of former Scotland rugby captain David, but like his brothers Chris (cricket) and Jamie (rugby) and sister Gemma (netball) he is now on his own sporting journey.
On Saturday, the spinner took five wickets to help Mazars Grange to an opening-day win over Watsonians in the CSL Eastern Premiership and since Monday he has been playing a three day match for Northamptonshire’s second XI against Warwickshire.
Sole has been involved in the match at Moseley as part of a trial and he hopes that it is just the start of things to come.
“Before I head to university in September I am keen to really focus on my cricket and see where I can get with it,” the Scotland under-19 cap stated.
“I was pleased with the way I bowled on Saturday and to get the chance to play in this three day game for Northants alongside Scotland player Kyle Coetzer and with and against some quality county players can only be a good thing for my development.”
Having been born into a sporting family, it is no surprise that Sole was active from an early age.
Being the youngest, he was always keen to outdo his brothers and sisters and when he began playing cricket at Cargilfield School – and subsequently Merchiston Castle School and Grange – he found something that he loved.
He progressed through the various school and club age-grade teams and a couple of summers ago became a member of the Grange second XI.
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.
Indeed, by the end of last summer Clydesdale must have been glad to see the back of Sole after he took four of their wickets in the Scottish Cup final and then scored 52 not out against them in the T20 final.
He said: “I really enjoyed last season. It was good to play a number of games for the first XI and for us to pick up trophies was great.
“As I had finished school by that stage I wanted to travel a bit, but also continue with my cricket, so in October I headed out to the Ben Williams Cricket Academy in the Bay of Plenty in New Zealand.”
While in the southern hemisphere, Sole was able to really work hard at his cricket on a full-time basis during the week and turn out for Otumoetai Cadets in club matches at the weekends.
Sole said: “The time out there taught me how to bowl to different players and on different wickets.
“I only came back right at the start of April so it meant I was straight into the season with Grange and I think that has helped me because I have had no ‘off season’ as such.
“I am looking forward to the coming months.”