THE Somerset path- way is taking home-grown players and those from neighbouring Minor Counties in the right direction.
So says Academy director and Second XI coach Steve Snell as the season enters the last lap in September.
During the season so far a number of Somerset’s young players have moved along the pathway to bigger stages.
The connection between Devon and Somerset is well established. Devon youth graduates Craig and Jamie Overton along with Lewis Gregory are now key members of the first team squad now there is now a new wave of younger players who are emerging.
Dom Bess, also from Devon, burst on to the Somerset scene last season. Ben Green and Ollie Sale – two more Devonians – have played First XI cricket and are on the staff at Taunton.
Coming along next are all- rounder Tom Lammonby – another Devonian – and Cornwall’s Lewis Golds- worth. Both are Academy scholars.
Lammonby made his mark in the recent England under-19s’ one-day series against India. Goldsworthy has been making his name at England under-17 level.
Lammonby was one of five Somerset players involved with England under- 19s this year. Louie Shaw, Tom Banton, George Bartlett and Ben Green are the others.
Steve Snell, the Director of the Somerset Academy talked about the links that have been developed with the club’s near neighbours.
Snell said hard work has been put in over the past few years to develop strong links with Devon, Cornwall and Dorset, which included development games against all three.
‘Sadly our game with Dorset was rained off, but against Cornwall – and Devon – in Truro at a Twenty20 day the opposition was good and we took a strong side there,’ said Snell.
‘We also played a ex- tremely competitive two-day match against Devon Lions at Bovey Tracey.’
‘We have also played some of our under-19 games at North Perrott, which is right on the Dorset border, and are trying to take cricket back to that part of the county as much as we can.
‘Max Waller has represented Dorset in the Minor Counties competition this season and Paul Pritchard (ex Essex captain and the Dorset coach) has spoken very positively about some of the younger players in the Dorset squad.
Snell continued: ‘At the start of the season Somerset Second XI played Twenty20 games against both Devon and Cornwall which has all helped to strengthen the partnership that we already have between us.
‘Our under-19 cricket has been successful and has presented an opportunity across several age groups.
‘We went to the Rose Bowl to play Hampshire in a Twenty20 game where Tom Lammonby excelled which certainly helped in his selection for England under-19s.’
Snell said the two-day game against Devon Lions and a three-day fixture against Warwickshire at North Perrott presented the chance to have a look at older players from across the region, such as Dylan Caddy from Cornwall and Harry Fisher a young wicket-keeper from Dorset.
Snell said Somerset’s under-17 side reached the semi finals of the three-day com- petition and seven players were picked to take part in the Super 4s.
Super 4s is a regional competition pitting under- 17s from North, South, East and West against each other at Loughborough.
Snell said he was de- lighted to see a number of Academy graduates play in the First XI during the season.
‘Dom Bess has continued to excel, while Tim Rouse made his Championship de- but and played a key part in helping Somerset secure their first win of the season at Yorkshire.
Tom Banton made his de- but in Twenty20, claiming a brilliant catch fielding as a sub and taking a brilliant leg-side stumping,’ said Snell.
‘All these guys have come up through the Somerset Pathway and made it into the first team where they join several of the older players who have followed that course earlier in their careers.
‘It’s brilliant to see Tom Lammonby, going on to play for England under-19s, and also fantastic to see Tom Banton make his first team debut this year and subsequently sign his first professional contract with the club.
‘Will Smeed is another young player who has en- joyed considerable success this year and although he is still only 15 he has played for the Second XI, done well at the Bunbury Festival and taken part in the Super 4s.
‘Lewis Goldsworthy went to Sri Lanka during the win- ter with an England under- 16 squad.’
‘It’s great to see so many young cricketers coming through the Somerset Pathway and going on to get their opportunity and excel on the wider stage, all of which is a great sign for the future of the club.’
Snell added: ‘All this wouldn’t be possible without a great deal of work behind the scenes, and we are fortunate to have some excellent coaches working across the clubs and schools in the region and some very talented coaches working ‘in house’ for the Somerset Cricket Board and for the county cricket club.
‘I’m sure all the boys that have benefited from their time, effort and expertise will join me in thanking them for their efforts.’