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Fast bowling day

15 of the most promising young fast bowlers from across the South West were put through their paces by Andrew Griffiths, the lead fast bowling coach on the Somerset Pathway, at the Cooper Associates County Ground last week.

Academy Director, Steve Snell explained what was happening.

“We had a pathway screening day,” he said. “Essentially we invited our most promising young bowlers from Cornwall, Devon and Somerset to the ground and asked them to bowl a variety of deliveries. We filmed them from several angles with the premise of gaining some more information about the players and providing them with some detailed information for their club and county coaches to help add value to their continued development.

“We’ve run this day for a couple of years now, so we were able to check on those who have attended before and see how they’ve progressed and where they are with their action, what kind of slower balls they bowl, what their craft looks like on the in-swing and their away-swing. In fact, we get quite a lot of detail from three or four different camera angles and the speed gun.

“What this enables us to do is to build up a picture of the player and also to make sure that we feed this information back to the player so that they have got an idea of what they are doing well. There may also be some areas that they wish to grow, so this use of technology and the further information gained can help to identify that.

“We can see this especially with the players who have done this over two or three years. We’ve seen some real evidence of their growth in terms of their ability to move the ball and the seam position they are able to hold. There’s also been growth in other aspects in terms of their action, alignment and their pace as well.

“All bowlers are unique and they find their own ways to bowl, so we are certainly not getting them up here to change that. It’s good from a talent identification perspective to get eyes on bowlers that we don’t see that much.

It also helps to get some fresh eyes on the players. Stuart Barnes, the Somerset bowling consultant, has been involved as well, so it’s been a really beneficial process.

“Andrew Griffith has done an excellent job and he’s collated information over the last three years. He’s evolving with how he works with the players as well, which has been really pleasing to see.

“Kasey Aldridge and Ned Leonard, who have both been picked recently in England development squads, have done a lot of work with Andrew over the last couple of years.

“One of the things I’ve enjoyed is how Andrew communicates with the coaches around the county. In particular he has done some good work with Dan Helsfay at Millfield School. The relationship that they have built up in conjunction with an excellent programme that the school has got in place is really bearing fruit at the moment.

“There are also other bowlers in the group who are progressing as well like Jules Sumerauer who has been really outstanding this winter. I’m really excited about his progress. Unfortunately he has picked up a niggle, but I’m very pleased with what he has done as well.”

The young bowlers in attendance were a mixture of boys who are involved in the Somerset Academy, the Emerging Player Programme and the Potential Somerset Player Porgramme, in addition to which there were young pacemen from the Devon and Cornwall age group systems.

“These young bowlers have been recommended to us by Sandy Allen (EPP coach Devon) and Chris Hunkin (EPP Cornwall), who have been totally collaborative,” said Steve.

“This is not just a development day and about talent identification, it’s an experience for them to bowl out in the middle here at the home of Somerset CCC. Hopefully that’s something that they will always remember.”

Main picture left to right: James Alway (SCCC Assistant S&C Coach), Alfie Ogborne (Somerset), Archie Pascoe (Cornwall), Adam Snowden (Cornwall), Conway Gilbert (Cornwall & PSPP), Bertie Creer (Devon), Sonny Baker (Devon & PSPP), Archie Farkins (Devon), Andrew Griffiths (SCCC Performance Analyst & Pathway Fast Bowling Coach).

Also attending the day were: Jack Harding (Somerset EPP), Freddie Stevenson (Cornwall & PSPP), Ollie Heard (Somerset EPP), Rufus Williams-Pritchard (Somerset EPP), George Thomas (Somerset EPP), Charlie Sharland (Somerset EPP), Tom Hall (Somerset PSPP), Ned Leonard (Somerset Academy), Kasey Aldridge (Somerset Academy).

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