Steve Snell impressed with Pathway prospects

The young cricketers who are involved with the Somerset Pathway were busy during the summer holidays playing age group cricket and for their clubs, and many have produced some impressive performances.

This is one of the busiest times of the year for Academy Director Steve Snell, who has been impressed by what has been achieved.

“The performance level of our really young players has been excellent,” he said. “All of them are playing an attacking brand of cricket and playing smart cricket.

“I’ve tried to get out and about as much as I can, and it’s been magnificent to observe. I also know that Matt Drakeley our Head of Age Group cricket has been all over the South West and beyond watching and coaching our youngsters, and he’s been doing a fine job.

“There have been some standout performances right across the age groups which has been very pleasing to see, from the Under 10s right the way through to the Under 17s. Of late we have also seen some great transition into Second XI cricket which has been really encouraging.

“We have been trying very hard to get the right level of exposure for our players in terms of appropriate opportunities at the appropriate development stages and recognizing that everybody’s journey is different from both a physical and mental perspective, so it’s important that they have the appropriate challenge.

“It’s also important that they play in their peer group and enjoy success there too. I’ve had some interesting conversations and observed some superb performances from a number of our young players.

“The success of Tom Banton has shown those involved on the Somerset Pathway that it is possible to progress in to the First XI and quickly as well.

“The conversation we have been having with our Academy and Pathway players is that it’s there for them if they show the right levels of performance, skills, and work ethic. Tom is a really good example of that.

“You can also look at other players like George Bartlett and Jack Leach. This just shows what is possible and what is on offer, and this makes it really exciting to be a young player in Somerset at the moment.”

Steve talked about how the progress of the young cricketers is monitored.

“One part of my role is to look after the best young cricketing talent that there is in the region,” he said. “Equally important within that structure is Somerset Director of Cricket, Andy Hurry who is very hands on and helpful when it comes to what we are doing from a youth perspective. Matt Drakeley, the Head of Age Group cricket, is also very involved in terms of selection and the running of the EPP and age group cricket.

“We also have a number of different coaches who are observing cricket across the region. People like Alex Barrow, Jake Lintott and Pete Sanderson are all working closely with the Academy and Andrew Griffiths as well.

“Equally we are frequently in contact with all the local schools and clubs regarding what is happening, who is playing well and who is developing. There are also other physical and psychological measurements that we are collecting from numerous people in order to build up a profile all of the time.

“The ECB mantra is ‘many eyes, many times’ and that is something that I’m looking to follow and, where appropriate, to gather as much information as possible.

“All of the players on the Academy will have personal development plans that will include things that they are working towards and goals that they are looking to achieve. They will keep a copy of this with them in their kit bag.

“In the summer I try to keep my assessment on each player mainly game-based because I want each of them to think clearly about what their learnings are. That will be reviewed a number of times a year, but it’s more about the progression of what they are doing.

“We have got so many good players in our youth development system that it’s very competitive to try to earn a professional contract. It’s equally tough for those trying to get a place on the Academy this year and the development programmes will also be very competitive.

“We are still in that phase of observing, watching and gaining information on players from a statistical and subjective perspective, but the future really does look exciting for the next intake.”

Steve reflected briefly on his first intake.

“It does all go by very quickly when I think back to my first Academy intake which included Ben Green, Dom Bess, George Bartlett, Sam Underdown, Sam Wyatt-Haynes and Liam Redrupp.

“To look and see where some of those guys are now makes you realize how quickly things can progress, which is the really exciting part of my job.”

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