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Steve Snell excited by new Academy Intake

With the 2018-19 Somerset Academy programme set to get started in the next few weeks, Academy Director Steve Snell has spoken about the three new players who will be joining this autumn.

“I am really delighted that Kasey Aldridge, Jamie Baird and Henry Smeed have all signed their Academy agreements and will be joining the programme for the 2018- 19 season,” he said.

“Henry Smeed is a hard hitting right handed batter who put in some excellent performances across the summer. He played up an age group for the Under 17s and also made his Second XI debut. He also made 99 not out against Warwickshire Under 19s.

“Henry, who went to the Bunbury Festival in 2018, is someone who is still learning his game, but the raw materials of what he possess in terms of his ball striking is really very exciting. We are looking to grow his understanding of cricket and his own self awareness, and he is going to be an exciting cricketer in the future.

“He’s also bowled in the past and showed potential, but we are hoping that over the course of the winter we can re-ignite that passion to run in and want to bowl fast.”

“The second player to joins us is Jamie Baird from Millfield School. Jamie also went to the Bunbury Festival this summer and has been a heavy run scorer throughout the Somerset County age groups. He made a very big impact with the Under 17s this summer, particularly in one-day cricket where he contributed numerous match winning performances.

“Jamie is also a very adept wicket-keeper and made his SCCC Second XI debut during the summer.

“One of the things I am really keen to see from Jamie is that constant growth in his game. He is very consistent in the runs he scores, so we’re looking to expand some areas of his game in order to help him develop and progress into professional cricket”

“Our third new recruit is Kasey Aldridge. Kasey has been on our Potential Somerset Player Programme and has now transitioned onto the Academy, which was a very easy decision to make.

“Kasey’s performances in Under 17s cricket have not been just statistically good, but the potential in his best ball is very good. He is very strong, bowls with pace and bounce and possesses the ability to move the ball. There is plenty more to come from him in this department. Kasey is also a very good fielder and one of the best catchers in our pathway. In addition to this he has made significant contributions with the bat with limited opportunities.

“He made a 120 not out and 80 in an Under 17 game that were two very different innings. One was hitting it to all parts, while the other was to bat out and save the game. Kasey is an outstanding character and possesses a lot of ability. We will be looking to grow his awareness and his ability on his first year on the Academy, and the fact that he has got to where he is in a short space of time is testament to how hard he has worked.”

Steve went on to talk about how tough the competition is for places on the Academy.

“This year we have had a very strong group,” he said. “Our Under 17s got to the semi-finals of both competitions and there have been some strong performances throughout the year.

“What we have decided to do with our PSPP programme is to increase the contact time, and with my role now solely as Director of the Academy it gives me more time to expand further down the pathway in conjunction with Matt Drakeley of Somerset Cricket Board.

“We are going to take a further eight players onto the PSPP this year and that will be made up of players not just from Somerset, but from across the South West who have performed well throughout the year so this will give them a further opportunity to impress.

“What this means is that we have hopefully now got the best 16 young cricketers across the South West now either on our Academy or the PSPP, which is a very small number, which makes it so hard to get onto. The entry level for our Academy is of a very high standard and the competition is tough if you want to keep progressing along the pathway. The purpose of the programme is to produce players with the capability to succeed in professional cricket and beyond.”

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