Essex bowler Reece Topley to join Hampshire as club stays quiet on Paul Grayson exit claims

Reece Topley

Reece Topley - Credit: Su Anderson

Essex bowler Reece Topley will join Hampshire at the end of the season.

Former Royal Hospital School pupil Topley, made his First-Class debut in 2011, against Cambridge MCCU, at the age of 17 and went on to take 14 wickets in his first three County Championship matches.

His bowling in the 2013 domestic Twenty20 competition, where he took 21 wickets at an average of 13.23, earned him a call-up to the England Lions squad for the winter tours to Australia and Sri Lanka.

Ipswich-born Topley suffered a stress fracture during his England Lions winter tour to Australia in December 2013 but the same stress fracture returned in July 2014 and curtailed his domestic season.

This year he has been carefully managed by Essex, whilst still making very valuable contributions. He averages 25.78 with the ball in First-Class cricket, with 125 wickets to his name.

Topley, said: “I am extremely sad to be leaving Essex having played for the county since the age of nine and have thoroughly enjoyed my time in a great dressing room.

“I would like to publicly thank all the players for their huge support and firm friendships.

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“In particular, I must also thank the two 1st XI coaches, Paul Grayson for the fantastic opportunity he has given me and to Chris Silverwood, who I have great admiration for and enjoyed working with.”

Hampshire’s director of cricket, Giles White, said: “Reece is a young bowler with huge potential that has the ability to impact games in both red and white ball cricket.

“What was evident during our talks was a strong desire to improve and I hope that we can help him realise his ambition of playing for England in all formats.

“We are delighted that he is joining Hampshire and we look forward to welcoming him.”

Hampshire are bottom of Division One of the County Championship, while Essex are mid-table in Division Two.

Meanwhile Essex refused to comment yesterday on the future of head coach Paul Grayson, with reports over the weekend claiming he had resigned from his post.

A club spokesman also refused to comment on rumours that Grayson was not in attendance for the first day of Essex’s County Championship game with Northamptonshire, today.

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