DEVONIAN Ryan Stevenson was named clubman of the year by Hampshire at the county club’s annual awards evening.
Stevenson, who was talent spotted by Hampshire playing for Devon back in 2015, played a vital role in Hampshire 2nd XI’s first County Championship title in 18 years.
The former Dartington & Totnes and Torquay all-rounder, was extremely proud to be the one that eventually got his team over the line.
“Winning the second team championship was amazing, it was such a fun group to be a part of.
“Felix (Felix Organ), Scriv (Tom Scriven), Ajeet (Ajeet Dale) and Scott Currie, all the young lads coming through it made me feel a bit more youthful, even though I’m in my late twenties!
“It was a really good atmosphere in that team and I loved playing in it. That reflected the way we got our results as well I think”.
Since making his first-class debut for Hampshire in 2015, it hasn’t been all plain sailing for Stevenson with multiple injuries forcing him to miss some of the action.
A back operation and a side strain are but a couple of the more serious challenges he has had to face in recent time, but the 27-year-old was pleased to get through to the end of the season relatively unscathed.
“It was great year all in all, coming off the back of last year where I got through a whole season just a year after a back operation was awesome.
“The side injury early season this year was frustrating, but I knew I had to work hard to be back where I was and it’s been a promising season with the second team and just trying to push for that place in the first-team”.
Although Stevenson’s four-day cricket was eye-catching, his form in the shorter formats of the game didn’t go unnoticed too.
After helping the Second XI to a T20 finals day, first-team manager Adi Birrell rewarded the 27-year-old with an opportunity in the Vitality Blast.
In what’s normally perceived as a ‘loosener’, Stevenson appeared to have Gloucestershire captain Michael Klinger caught behind with his very first delivery at Bristol. As it happened the umpire’s finger stayed down and ‘Stevo’ was attacked by the opening pair, something which at the time was tough to take.
“It was a tough situation for me, I’d been trying to get in the side for so long and when I finally get my chance, I bowl one over for 25!
“Getting Klinger out first ball and it not being given was pretty pivotal, it only takes the new batter to come in and chew up a couple of dots, and suddenly I’ve bowled three balls one wicket for no runs!
“I guess that’s what’s good about T20, one ball can change everything so quickly so I didn’t really complain, it just wasn’t to be that night.”
Regardless of selection and form, Stevenson enjoys his role at the club and is intent on making a difference whilst at Hampshire.
“I’m always trying to be the one that sets the example with my younger teammates if I can, whether that’s late in the day and I’m still running in as hard as I can.
“I’m just trying to help in that scenario and aid their development, in a couple of years’ time they’ll be running in harder and longer than me so the shoe might be on the other foot come next season!”
Stevenson was presented with the clubman of the year award at the end-of-season Dinner, an accolade that he’s extremely proud to be the recipient of.
“The off-field stuff has been a joy; it’s getting people into the game at the end of the day and that’s all part of it. It takes no real effort at all to go and assist in a coaching session that will end up making a kid’s day.
“I feel fortunate to be a part of a club like this so anything that I can do, whether it be on or off the field I’ll try and make a difference where I can.”
Heading into his fifth full season with Hampshire, Stevenson has one main ambition for 2020.
“To be fit for a year!
“It’s been frustrating, no matter how hard I’ve tried it just hasn’t worked out for me but in the winter all I can do is work hard and make sure I’m there to push the first-team regulars as much as I can.”