Two-Year Deal for Ned

Somerset County Cricket Club can today reveal that Academy bowler Ned Leonard has signed his first professional contract.

The two-year agreement will see him join the Somerset playing staff for the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

Before relocating to the West-Country and attending Millfield school, the 18-year-old, who is originally from Ealing, had represented London & South East in the U15 Bunbury Festival. He joined the Somerset Academy in the Autumn of 2017 and has featured for the Second XI and Devon County CC on a number of occasions. Last summer he also made his debut for England at Under 19 level.

Ned recently completed his education at Millfield and the school’s Director of Cricket, Mark Garaway is delighted that his former student has made the next step in his career. “It’s great news that Ned has been offered a two-year contract with the Club,” he said. “I know that it has been a lifelong dream for him to play professional cricket.

“It has been a privilege to witness Ned’s development as a cricketer and more importantly as a human being at such close quarters over the last five years.

“Ned has worked really hard with the coaches here at school and also at the Cooper Associates County Ground, which demonstrates the excellent working relationship that Millfield and the County have. Steve Snell (SCCC Academy Director) and Andrew Griffiths (SCCC Player Pathway Bowling Coach) have worked fantastically with Dan Helesfay (Fast Bowling Coach at Millfield) and myself to create a great environment around Ned. As a result, he has flourished and it’s fantastic that he has been awarded a professional contract with Somerset. He has earned this opportunity through hard work, commitment and dedication.”

After signing his contract Ned said: “This is a dream come true. This is what I’ve wanted to do since I was eight years old and I’m delighted that I’ll be doing it with Somerset.

“I started this journey in London, but I’ve always had family in Somerset, so it feels very much like my home now.

“The goal is to be playing First Team cricket by the end of the two years. I’m going to enjoy learning from some of the best bowlers in the country. Hopefully I can eventually break in to the First XI and reach my aspirations of winning trophies with Somerset.”

Somerset Director of Cricket, Andy Hurry said: “Ned has been involved in the Pathway and with our Academy for a number of years and we have been impressed with his progression and development over this period. We are excited that he now has the opportunity to continue that growth and we look forward to supporting his journey into the professional game.

“We have been aware of his potential for quite a few years now through his performances at Millfield School and for Bridgwater Cricket Club, the Somerset County Age Groups plus the opportunities that he has been given by Devon County Cricket Club. Ned is one of a number of players who have come through our successful relationship with local schools, Clubs and partnerships with National Counties and we are very grateful for the role they have all played in supporting his development.

“It’s absolutely vital that we continue to ensure that the best young talent in the region makes it on to our Pathway and it is equally important for these young players to see that they have a genuine opportunity to make that transition from the Academy to the professional playing staff.”

SCCC Academy Director, Steve Snell said: “Ned possesses genuine pace and has the ability to pose a strong wicket taking threat with the new and old ball. We have a number of high-quality pace bowlers at the Club and Ned has a great opportunity to learn from, practice with and compete in the company of top-level practitioners.

“He has a relentless enthusiasm for cricket and has done everything he possibly can during this difficult summer to continue to aid his development.”

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