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Where are they now? Neil Edwards

Back in 2007, when Somerset won promotion to Division One of the County Championship, 23 year old Neil Edwards was Marcus Trescothick’s regular opening partner and topped 1000 First Class runs for the only time in his career.

Ten years on, the tall left handed Cornishman is no longer involved with cricket and has established himself in the business world.

Neil hails from West Cornwall and came through the Somerset Academy making his debut for the Second XI in 2001, when he also played for England Under 19s.

He made his First Class debut the following year in the memorable tied match against West Indies ‘A’ at the County Ground, scoring 27 and 31 against a strong attack.

Neil enjoyed his best season in 2007 when he was the regular opening partner of Marcus Trescothick, fresh back from his time with England.

Explaining the background to this Neil said: “The previous season I had been recalled to the side for the game against Surrey at Guildford where I shared in a big opening partnership with Justin Langer. After that I was told that I was going to keep the opening slot when JL returned the following year, so that gave me a push in the right direction and something to work towards during that winter.

“That was a big turn-around season for both me and the Club. We had a focus and a plan that was built around Justin Langer and that was the start of something really special. From what I hear, quite a lot of what goes on now has its origins back then. That was a very proud season for me and a pivotal one for Somerset moving forward as well.”

What is Neil doing now?

“I’m involved in recruitment now,” he said. “Over the last four or five years I’ve worked my way up to become a business manager in an executive recruitment firm. It’s high level recruitment and we cover the whole of he UK. I started from the bottom and now I head up a team of six. Everyday is a little bit different which makes it a very interesting job to be doing.

“In the East Midlands there is an abundance of manufacturing going on so it’s a buoyant place to be involved in the sort of job that I am doing.”

How difficult was it to make the transition from being a full time cricketer into life in the outside world?

“Several months before the end of the 2012 season I felt that I wanted a change and that playing professional cricket wasn’t the be all and end all, so I had already started to look around. I decided that I wanted to go into the commercial world so I explored a couple of contacts that I had made during my time with Notts. I already had some irons in the fire when I moved out of cricket and I had the right mindset to do it. I already had a good idea of what I wanted to do and how I was going to do it.”

Does Neil miss the cricketing world? “I guess I do at times,” he said. “But then at other times I don’t. With the nature of my work now there isn’t much contact with cricket. Having said that though I do still keep in touch with the Somerset boys. The relationships I had from my time with Somerset were far more long lasting than any at Notts.

“I had loads of unbelievable opportunities and have got so many fantastic memories to look back on but that is now part of my past and I’ve moved forward. If I had the chance to go back and play tomorrow I would probably take it, but after a couple of weeks I’d probably want to come back to what I’m doing now!”

Does he still keep in touch with his Somerset connections?

“Yes of course I do because it’s where I started my life as a professional cricketer and where I have still got a lot of friends. I talk to people who I played with on the phone and it’s always interesting to hear what’s going on.”

Does he still play cricket?

“Last year I played in the Notts Premier League and this coming year I’m going to play a few games for a team in the Birmingham League but I’ve decided to give up playing club cricket. My family and my work are now my number one commitment but hopefully I’ll get a chance to come down to the Cooper Associates County Ground some time during the coming season and catch up with everybody.”

Images courtesy of Getty Images

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