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Somerset pathway proving successful

Over the course of this summer a large number of Somerset’s young players have gone on to shine on the bigger stage, which is proof of the success of the Somerset Pathway that has been established over the last few years at the Club.

Somerset’s close links with our neighbouring counties are paying dividends and in addition to the Overton twins and Lewis Gregory, who are now key members of the first team squad after coming through the Devon system before graduating from the Somerset Academy, there is now a new wave of younger players emerging.

Last season Dom Bess, also from Devon, burst on to the Somerset scene in addition to which Ben Green and Ollie Sale (also both Devonians) have played first team cricket and are on the playing staff at Taunton.

Two further Somerset Academy members have also impressed this summer. Allrounder Tom Lammonby (Devon) made his mark in the recent England Under 19 One-Day series against India whilst Lewis Goldsworthy from Cornwall is making his name at England Under 17 level.

Tom Lammonby recieves his England cap from Darren Gough ahead of his U19 debut

Steve Snell, the Director of the Somerset Academy talked about the links that have been developed with the Club’s near neighbours. “Over recent years we have been working very hard to develop strong links with Devon, Cornwall and Dorset,” he said. “This year we have been scheduled to play matches against each of them. Sadly our game with Dorset was rained off but against Cornwall and Devon in Truro the opposition was good and we took a strong side there. We also played a extremely competitive two day match against Devon Lions.

“We’ve also played some of our Under 19 games at North Perrott and we are trying to take cricket back to that part of the county as much as we can. Max Waller has represented Dorset in the Minor Counties competition this season and Paul Pritchard, the Dorset coach, has spoken very positively about some of the younger players in the Dorset squad.

“At the start of the season Somerset Seconds played T20 games against both Devon and Cornwall which has all helped to strengthen the partnership that we already have between us. Our Under 19 cricket has also been successful and has presented an opportunity across several age groups. We went to the Ageas Bowl to play Hampshire in a T20 game where Tom Lammonby excelled, which certainly helped in his selection for England Under 19s.

“We have played a two-day game against Devon Lions and also played Warwickshire in a three-day game at North Perrott, which has also given us a chance to look at some of the slightly older players from across the region like Dylan Caddy from Cornwall and Harry Fisher a young wicket-keeper from Dorset.

“In the age group sides Somerset’s Under 17s reached the semi-finals of the three-day competition which again presented great opportunities, while seven of our players were picked to take part in the Super 4s.

“Five Somerset players have been involved with the England Under 19s this year. Louie Shaw, Tom Lammonby, Tom Banton, George Bartlett and Ben Green. This is really encouraging because it has given them the opportunity to perform on an international stage and see how they rate with other members of their peer group.”

This season has also seen several more Academy graduates performing for the first team, something Snell is delighted about.

“Dom Bess has continued to excel,” he said. “Whilst Tim Rouse made his Championship debut and played a key part in helping Somerset secure their first win of the season at Yorkshire. Tom Banton also made his debut in the NatWest T20 Blast, claiming a brilliant catch fielding as a sub and taking a brilliant leg side stumping.

“All these guys have come up through the Somerset Pathway and made it in to the first team where they join several of the older players who have also followed that course earlier in their careers.

“It’s brilliant to see Tom Lammonby going on to play for England Under 19s and also fantastic to see Tom Banton make his first team debut this year and subsequently sign his first professional contract with the Club.

“Will Smeed is another young player who has enjoyed considerable success this year and although he is still only 15 he has played for Somerset Seconds, done well at the Bunbury Festival and taken part in the Super 4s. Lewis Goldsworthy from Cornwall also went to Sri Lanka during the winter with an  England Under 16 squad.

“It’s great to see so many young cricketers coming through the Somerset Pathway and going on to get their opportunity and excel on the wider stage, all of which is a great sign for the future of the Club.”

Steve added: “All this wouldn’t be possible without a great deal of work behind the scenes and we are fortunate to have some excellent coaches working across the clubs and schools in the region. We also have some very talented coaches working “in house” for the Somerset Cricket Board and for the County Cricket Club. I’m sure that all the boys who have benefited from their time, effort and expertise will join me in thanking them for their efforts.”

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