Stuart reflects on Somerset experience

Somerset Bowling Coach, Stuart Barnes left his role this week to join Cricket Ireland as an Assistant Coach and National fast bowling Lead.

Before bidding farewell to the Cooper Associates County Ground, we spoke to Stuart about his time with the Club.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time here,” he said. “It’s where my coaching journey began. Back in 1998, my very first coaching job was with the Somerset Under 12s when Julian White was in charge of the youth set up. When the chance came up a couple of years ago to come back to where it all started, it was too good an opportunity to turn down. It’s been unbelievable and I’ve loved every moment.

“The Club is blessed with a great mix of skilful mature bowlers and some outstanding young bowlers who are learning their trade. I couldn’t have asked for any more from the players and the staff. There’s a great blend in the dressing room and everyone is constantly willing to learn. There will be a huge number of people interested in taking this job on.”

What were some of his highlights during his time at Somerset?

“The obvious highlight would have to be the moment that we won the Royal London One-Day Cup at Lord’s,” he said. “It was such a pleasure to be a part of that moment and to be able to share it with some people who have been at the Club for a number of years. That was an unbelievable experience. Singing Blackbird in front of our supporters on the pitch that day and having them sing it back was incredible.

“The other thing I will take away from here is witnessing the growth in individuals, not just the bowlers. Seeing some of the guys going off to represent England and being selected for franchises all around the world is great. That’s why we coach. We want these guys to get all the plaudits and everything that comes with that.

“Another highlight for me would be how the Club adapted to everything that happened this year. The flexibility, creativity, energy and determination shown by everyone was a pleasure to be a part of. It obviously wasn’t a conventional season, but everyone performed so well, and we just blew teams away. The coaching staff led by Jason Kerr and Andy Hurry provided some unbelievable direction which enabled us to deliver a coaching product that allowed the players to go out there and express themselves with no inhibitions, and we saw the benefit of that on the field. Whilst we didn’t collect any silverware, I take immense pride in having been a part of this year.”

Stuart is now looking forward to the next chapter of his career.

“When I started on my coaching journey, my ambition was to work at international level. I’m looking forward to the next few years and the challenge that will bring.”