PLAYER FEATURE: GEORGE BARTLETT

Emerging Somerset batsman enjoying good form in Australia as he prepares for the new season...

SOMERSET batsman George Bartlett is continuing to enjoy good form out in Australia where he is spending the winter playing Grade Cricket and last weekend notched up his maiden century for University Cricket Club.

Going in with the score on 98 for two, the 19-year-old shared in a third-wicket partnership of 97 and a fourth-wicket one of 106 before he was out for 110 by which time he had helped the total on to 314, out of a total of 337 against Mount Lawley in the Western Australian Grade competition.

Bartlett, who graduated through the Somerset Academy and plays club cricket in the WEPL Premier One for Bridgwater, said: “Things are going well for me and the boys at the moment. The team is about sixth in the league so hopefully we can make the finals by the end of the season.

“It was great to be able to put the team in a good position and to help us post a good score. Hopefully we can defend that next week.”

Regarding his own innings Bartlett, who attended Millfield School, said: “I was really happy with that score. I’ve had a few 80s and a few scores over 50 so I was really happy to go that bit further this week.”

Currently the top order right-handed batsman tops the University CC batting averages with 518 runs from his ten innings, something he attributes to his solid starts.

“I’ve been happy with how I’ve hit them over here. I think that starting off well was pretty important and I’ve just tried to carry that momentum through the rest of the season,” he said. “I’m pleased that I’ve managed to be pretty consistent over the course of the last few weeks and to finish it off with a big score was great.”

Regarding the format of the cricket he is playing with the games over two weekends, Bartlett said: “If you don’t make the most of batting one week you could be waiting for another two weeks before you get the chance to have a hit in the middle again.

“It’s a bit strange but it’s something that you get used to though.

“In the meantime you can do a lot of training and I’ve been working with Stewart Walters through the ECB alongside Max Holden from Middlesex and that’s been really helpful during the week.

“Being away from home has been good for me I think. It’s been a great experience and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. I’d definitely do it again!”

Bartlett has also been in regular contact with Somerset director of cricket Andy Hurry and head coach Jason Kerr, both of whom have been heavily involved with his development through the Academy.

“They’ve both sent me texts and called me to see how I’m getting on, which is nice. I’ve also been in touch with Joel Tratt [Somerset’s head of strength and conditioning] about fitness work and what I should be doing over here. It’s been great to be able to have that amount of communication.”

What is Bartlett hoping to achieve in 2018?

“I’m really going to strive to get in to the First XI on a regular basis,” he said. “It’s going to be important to start well in pre-season and hopefully I can continue the momentum that I’ve built up over here through to the start of the warm-up matches.”

He added: “Then It’s a case of working as hard as I can to make sure I keep that place in the side.”

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.