Productive summer for Somerset Pathway

It’s been quite a summer for the young players involved on the Somerset Pathway.

Despite the initial uncertainty surrounding sport that was created by the global pandemic, it has turned out to be a very productive few months as Head of the SCCC Talent Pathway, Steve Snell explains:

“It’s been a surreal summer,” he said. “We were unsure as to whether we would get any cricket played at all and then from the back end of July until mid-September 155 games took place from the Pathway’s perspective. That’s an awful lot of games. The most pleasing thing from our point of view is that young players from across the county got the chance to represent Somerset, further their cricketing development and interact face to face with their peers, which is something that has been impossible to do in lockdown. It’s important for our young cricketers to interact with their friends and to be able to help and facilitate that from the Clubs perspective was a huge privilege.

“413 players have represented Somerset across all our age groups, that includes boys and girls. In that number we’ve seen 121 schools and 76 clubs represented . I think that level of diversity is superb and as a Pathway we are so proud of that.”

How difficult has it been to run the Pathway Programme this year?

“It’s been extremely challenging,” Steve explained. “A huge amount of credit has to go to Pathway Head Coach, Matt Drakeley and Pathway Administrator, Laura Lewis for their level of proactivity, determination and organisation. The whole coaching fraternity across the South West has also worked tirelessly to ensure that we were able to get fixtures arranged and played across the different age groups for both genders across the region.

“I have to thank the stakeholders across the West from our clubs and schools who have helped to provide grounds, plus our coaches who have been outstanding, especially when you consider that we have had to operate on a significantly reduced budget. I just can’t thank people enough for being so passionate and caring about helping young players engage in cricket. They are the ones who have ensured that our players have had such a positive experience this summer.

“One of the decisions that we made from a logistical and coaching perspective was to play as much T20 cricket as possible. The reason for that was because it enables you to play two matches in a day. That gives the players two opportunities to show what they can do with the bat, with the ball and in the field. As a consequence we have seen a massive amount of growth in all of our players. The level of improvement has been massive across the board and I can’t understate some of the growth we’ve seen from the end of July through to mid-September.”

How important is it for SCCC to be working with our county partners at this stage?

“Working with our neighbouring counties is absolutely vital in ensuring that we have a Talent Pathway that is accessible and inclusive across the entire region. Similar to our own team, my compatriots in Devon, Dorset and Cornwall have been working very hard to ensure that cricket has been available for young people.”

What are the next steps for Steve and his team?

“As we head to the winter there will be new players who have performed well for their clubs and schools who will have been nominated as part of our nominations process. We also have to make sure that we are giving the right opportunities to our players throughout the winter.

“The initial signs coming from the government regarding indoor programmes has been positive in terms of what we think we can deliver. However, we are living in an ever-changing landscape at the moment. We will endeavour to facilitate as many players with high-quality, specific and engaging coaching as possible.”

Clarke Willmott proudly sponsors the SCCC Academy. As well as supporting the best young players in the county, the partnership also creates a link between the two parties enabling SCCC Academy players to carry out work placements with Clarke Willmott, helping Somerset to produce well rounded athletes and professionals.

Clarke Willmott has been providing legal advice to SCCC for over 30 years. Clarke Willmott LLP is a national law firm with seven offices across the country, including Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, London, Manchester, Southampton and Taunton.

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