Meet the PSPP

In addition to his role as Academy Director, Steve Snell also oversees the Potential Somerset Player Programme (PSPP) which is now in full swing.

Steve explained the background of the PSPP and how it came about in the first place.

“Three or four years ago we highlighted that, from a recruitment perspective, there was a gap between the Emerging Player Programme (EPP) and the Academy,” he said. “We also wanted to provide further opportunity for players outside Somerset in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Wiltshire, so we thought it would be useful to run a programme that would add value to our existing structure and provide greater contact time for promising young players across the region.

“The idea was conceived and three years down the track it seems to be working. We are investing more into the PSPP, particularly in terms of time and the volume of coaches involved. This year we have nine players on the programme and those exciting cricketers are all working hard at their games.

“The PSPP is a fairly fluid concept and players can get contact time both at SCCC as well as outside of this environment. We want to give them a taste of what Academy life is like, provide one to one specialist coaches from their own environment outside of those times and ultimately foster an aspirational desire for the players to want to keep improving and recognising the importance of them doing so. I’m hopeful this will continue to push the standards of the players and the SCCC pathway higher and higher.

“At SCCC, we are a relatively small staff but we are trying to structure our time to be able to carry out as much coaching as we can, and I want the PSPP lads to benefit from this whenever possible.”

Steve talked about two players who started on the PSPP who have transitioned further along the player pathway.

“Lewis Goldsworthy, from Cornwall, was the first player to come onto the PSPP and he has since progressed on to the Academy and into the England Young Lions squad. He’s got a hugely exciting winter ahead of him. I believe that the work he put in with SCCC Assistant Coach Paul Tweddle, when he came on to the PSPP in the summer of 2016, aided a smooth transition for Lewis when coming onto the Somerset Academy in 2017.

“Kasey Aldridge spent the whole of last summer on the PSPP and he has progressed onto the Academy and gone straight into the England Young Lions squad too.

“This is obviously a link that is proving useful. From a more holistic pathway perspective, it’s great to see that the system is working. We invite the players onto the PSPP, give them a taste of a professional environment and what the expectations are and then the plan is that they transition reasonably quickly onto the Academy, youth England International programmes and then ideally the full SCCC squad.

“We believe that this process is starting to bear fruit and the volume of quality players coming through is helping us plan for the longer term recruitment needs of the Club.”

Steve then went onto talk about the young cricketers on the programme in 2018/19.

“Ben Beaumont is from Devon and was picked for the South West at the Bunbury Festival last year, where he did well and put in some exciting performances. He is new onto the programme this year and we are really excited about him. He will continue to play for Devon Under 17s (as an under 16) and his opportunities this winter will be to come along here and get into the environment and show what he can do and take his game further along.

“Sonny Baker from Devon was also picked for the South West at the Bunbury Festival and has got some exciting pace attributes. He is a right arm seamer and gets the ball away from the right hander so we will be looking for him to improve and keep working on his technique and see if he can bowl long spells with pace and accuracy.

“Abraham Kopparambil is a top order batsman from Devon who scored a lot of runs at Under 17 level in 2018, but also excelled in the field and exhibited some strong character traits. It will be exciting to spend some time with him this winter and, in conjunction with Sandy Allen at the at Devon EPP, help Abraham to further improve.

“Max Hancock is a left arm spinner also from Devon and was on the PSPP roster last year. He attends Millfield School and was part of their national cup winning side last year. I’m looking for Max to put pressure on the players in the pathway like Lewis Goldsworthy and further up Roelof van der Merwe. Max is tall, creates good bounce and is starting to spin the ball more. I am certainly excited by his potential.

“Freddy Stevenson, from Cornwall, is in his second year on the PSPP. Unfortunately he has started this year with a serious injury, which is preventing him from bowling. Freddy has shown some outstanding resilience to overcome what has been a hefty setback to his winter and we are looking forward to seeing him running in again with the ball in hand very soon. Freddy is a tall left arm bowler and has got some exciting attributes. He bowls from a lofty height, and from a pace perspective and has got some huge potential.

“Conway Gilbert is also from Cornwall and he too was on the PSPP last year. He is very athletic, very fit, has good pace and bowls with high energy. We are looking for Conway to work on his control and craft but also to maintain and improve his pace. He is now attending Taunton School and has undertaken a lot of constructive work with Academy fast bowling coach Andrew Griffiths.

“Julius Sumerauer excelled for our under 17s last year and put in some strong performances and it was a difficult decision not to take him on the Academy. However, being part of the PSPP, he can show that he can warrant a Second Team place through his improvement this winter and his subsequent performances when the season starts. Julius had a great season in 2018 and has now got a great opportunity to continue his development, which is dovetailing nicely with the international cricket that he plays for Jersey.

“Left arm spinner Max Toohey unfortunately missed a large part of the 2018 season with a back injury. Max is a spinner with a nice action and possesses good control. He is a local lad and we are looking for him to improve on his all round skills this winter. It would be great to see Max back on the park and producing some match winning performances for Somerset Under 17s in 2019.

“Tom Hall had a good 2018 season and made good contributions with the new ball for Somerset under 17s. Tom was also selected for the ECB Super 4s competition, which was a useful learning experience for him. Tom is also qualified to play in this competition next year. I will be looking for Tom to make some improvements to all areas of his game over the winter and then make a real impact in the summer of 2019 with both bat and ball and in the field. Tom has the potential to be a genuine all rounder and he has the opportunity to work hard on all aspects of his game this winter. I am looking forward to seeing the results of his hard work.”

Steve then talked about the programme in more detail: “Whenever we can get the PSPP group into the ground and working in this environment, we will do so. We want to find out more about them as characters. What we have seen in the past with Kasey Aldridge, Lewis Goldsworthy and Fin Trenouth, is that they took a lot on board from the sessions here and then went away and practiced on those aspects away from the SCCC environment. They were very self sufficient in organising practice away from the Cooper Associates County Ground and as a result of this (as well as some excellent external coaching in their school/club environments) all aspects of their games improved, which is the key reason why they transitioned off the PSPP and onto the SCCC Academy fairly swiftly.”

He added: “The reason why these nine players have been selected is because we believe in them and their potential. I want our investment to spark some determination in the players to go further in the game and represent Somerset and beyond.”

Main picture: Conway Gilbert, Max Toohey, Sonny Baker, Freddie Stevenson, Julius Sumerauer, Max Hancock, Abraham Kopparambil, Ben Beaumont. Not pictured: Tom Hall.

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09/07/2022 19:00 - The Cooper Associates County Ground