Dom looking for more of the same this year
Dom Bess briefly returned to the Cooper Associates County Ground last week after spending the winter in Australia.
Shortly before he and the rest of the squad departed for their pre-season training camp in Desert Springs we asked him how he got on Down Under.
“It went really well,” he said. “The side I was playing for was having a bit of a problem off the field though. There are 13 teams in that particular competition and West Torrens were going to be combined with another side and there was quite a lot of legal action that took place. They were able to get out of that though and compete in the season. It was obviously good news for them in the end because when I left we were top of the league by about 20 points! We qualified for finals and won the one-day cup as well!”
“I was really happy with how I bowled over there and it was coming out really nicely. I didn’t get much chance to have a hit though but it was another great experience and I’ve come back feeling like I’m in a good place. It was really nice to be able to contribute on the field as well. We had quite a young side and being in an environment where you are encouraged to express your feelings was amazing. I worked really hard in the nets too and I can’t wait for the start of the season.”
Does Dom think that spending the winter in Australia has helped him to prepare better for the start of the new season? “Absolutely 100%,” he said. “I was in Australia last winter and I feel like it really made me mature as a person and I feel like I’ve matured even more this time. Going away allows you to pick up some different things such as different ways of playing and going about things. I’ve played for two different sides out there and they were completely different. It’s really good for your own development to expose yourself to these experiences both inside and outside of cricket. Being an overseas player you want to start pretty well and that brings an extra little bit of pressure which you have to overcome. To be honest I feel like my personal development has gone through the roof.”
“They approach things much differently over there. It’s really interesting how they go about things, for example how they attack the spinners and how much stick they give you just for being a Pom! There was plenty of banter but Adam Hose and a few other English lads were out there too so we were able to get stuck in to them a bit as well. Part of the experience is learning to deal with those sort of things.
“Astro’s and indoor schools are so different to grass and good decks like they have out there so it’s absolutely vital to your development that your out there on grass in the winter and experiencing different conditions. It’s crucial and I was fortunate to have some really good facilities over there.”
This time last year did Dom have any inclination that his career would take off at quite such a dramatic rate? “Not at all! It sky rocketed a bit last year didn’t it? I’m keeping my feet firmly on the floor but I can’t wait for the new season to come around. I’m loving every moment of it if I’m honest. This time last year I was spending some time with my mates and doing a bit of work here and there. I think I came in to the Ground once to pick up some kit and I was looking in to getting a part-time job.”
The 19 year old is keen for the 2017 season to get under way. “I can’t wait,” he said. “Desert Springs will be great and the thought of doing my first full season is great. I’m really looking forward to it and hopefully I can force my way in to a couple of sides and kick on from where I left off last year. I was a bit of an unknown quantity for the opposition last year which I think played in to my hands a bit. I did quite well in the Seconds which gave me confidence but I didn’t really know what to expect from First XI cricket. I got my first taste against Pakistan and to get that against an International side was a real bonus for me. It all happened so quickly but it was a great experience. Younis Khan was really helpful. I asked him quite a lot about how he played me and things like that and to be able to pick the brains of a player like that was a completely different world. I think he’s an absolute genius so to be able to get advice from him was amazing.”
Who within the Somerset set up has had the biggest influence on the young spinner? “I don’t think I can narrow it down to one individual person,” he explained. “There have been so many people who have been an influence and helped me settle in. Matt Maynard, Steve Snell, Jason Kerr and Paul Tweddle have all been so good to me. The whole dressing room has been great as well, from the younger guys like Tom and the twins all the way up to the likes Hildy, Tres and the senior players. Every single person has helped to make me feel comfortable.
“I remember just before the Pakistan game Jason told me to just do what I do. He reminded me that I had got this far by doing that so I should keep on doing it. He picked me through the Academy and I’ve worked with him in the Seconds so I would say that he has had a pretty big influence on me. Jack Leach was also really helpful. It was great bowling in tandem with him and he helped me out a lot on the pitch.
Dom has been extremely impressed by the Somerset supporters since making his debut. “The supporters are amazing,” he said. “I will always remeber the reception that I got last season. It gave me goose bumps at times. They’ve been massive for us. If you’ve taken a wicket the reception you get when you walk back to your fielding position is amazing. They stand up and clap and cheer you on. I was speechless at one point last year when we were coming off the field. The ovation we got from them was incredible. They mean a massive amount to me and to all the players. They are a part of this Club and a huge part of why you play the game.”
Dom concluded by outlining his hopes for 2017. “I’ve not really set myself many targets,” he explained. “I’m just looking to take any opportunity that comes along. I’m going to keep working as hard as I can because I believe that is how you gain your opportunities. If you work as hard as you can, you create those chances. I’m not expecting to go straight in to the First XI but I’ll be looking to force myself in to contention by performing for the Seconds. I’ll be working hard and doing everything I can.”