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Simon Willis: Academy Report, October 2011

Wednesday 5th October 2011

Review of the Previous Year 2010/11

Whilst the initial Academy programme was set up by Philip Relf, in January 2011 I was asked to take on the Academy as part of my role as High Performance Director. Philip and I worked closely to ensure continuity and a consistent approach. In addition, my past experience and knowledge in both setting up the inaugural Kent Cricket Academy in 2003 and coaching the Kent County Cricket Club first eleven for six seasons enabled this to be a very smooth transition.

The young scholars worked really hard during the period January to April with a highly intense training schedule designed to improve their physical conditioning, skill levels and mental toughness, but above all creating a “Hard Work Culture”. Their attitude and commitment during this time was very impressive and some encouraging progress was made by a number of individuals.

New Strength & Conditioning Coach Pete Kelly was instrumental in developing this important part of the programme and clear evidence of improvement was shown in the pre-season fitness testing procedures.

There was an interchange of coaches that included Paul Farbrace (Director of Cricket), Philip Relf (Assistant Coach) and myself across different levels of the club which provided variety and a 'whole club' approach and perspective.

In April, we ran a very successfultwo day pre-season camp outdoors which mirrored that of the professional staff. This included multi and one day cricket skills, how to play the game discussions, education on injury prevention and recovery management. There was also the opportunity for two question and answer sessions with former Kent players Alan Ealham and Min Patel which I know the scholars found very interesting and beneficial.

With injuries in the first eleven during the season, this allowed a number of opportunities for Academy scholars to play second eleven cricket. Some of you may have seen the likes of Ivan Thomas, Benedict Kemp, Matthew Greenwood, Shaun Piesley and Sam Weller play this season, contributing with good performances at various stages which is always an encouraging sign for the future.

The most positive outcome thoughwere the performances as a whole of our Academy scholars in league, school or county cricket. Ivan Thomas, Benedict Kemp and Sam Weller all made an impact with the ball when they played. Young wicket keeper/batsman Ryan Davies consistently performed for Sandwich Town with both bat and gloves. Henry Pickering a left arm spinner from Bexley is developing nicely from bowling the other end to former Kent spinner Min Patel, while another left arm spinner Jack Laraman performed consistently well for Lordswood. His selection along with Piers Richardson for the South of England U15 squad that attended the Bunbury festival was well deserved and just reward for their consistent match winning performances for the county.

Lastly, Tamsin Beaumont deserves special mention for a fantastic season, particularly with the bat– she dominated the opposition bowlers at county level resulting in her selection for the England Woman’s squad to tour South Africa in October.

National Selection

The following past or present Academy scholars were selected in National squads/teams during 2010/11.

Male:

England U19 Team – Adam Ball, Daniel Bell-Drummond

Female:

England Senior Team – Lydia Greenway, Tamsin Beaumont

England National Academy – Tamsin Beaumont, Deanna Cooper

Regional Selection

The following past or present Academy scholars were selected in Regional squads/teams during 2010/11.

Male:

South of England U15 – Jack Laraman, Junaid Nadir, Piers Richardson

Female:

Junior Super 4’s – Alice Davidson Richards

County Selection

The following past or present Academy scholars were selected in Kent Senior squads/teams during 2010/11.

Male:

First Class – Adam Ball, Daniel Bell-Drummond, Alex Blake, Sam Billings, Matthew Coles, Joe Denly, James Goodman, Sam Northeast, Adam Riley

List “A”- Daniel Bell-Drummond, Sam Billings, Alex Blake, Matthew Coles, Joe Denly, James Goodman, Chris Piesley, Adam Riley, Sam Northeast

Twenty20 – Adam Ball, Alex Blake, Sam Billings, Matthew Coles, Joe Denly, Sam Northeast

Female:

List “A” – Lydia Greenway, Joanna Watts, Tamsin Beaumont, Deanna Cooper,

Alice Davidson Richards

Twenty20 – Lydia Greenway, Joanna Watts, Tamsin Beaumont, Deanna Cooper,

Alice Davidson Richards

Best Academy Scholar

Benedict Kemp

Kent Young Cricketers Awards

The following 2010/11 Academy scholars won the associated Kent Young Cricketers Awards during the 2011 season for ECB county age competitions.

Male:

U17 Leading Run Scorer – Tom Chapman

U17 Leading Wicket Taker – Henry Pickering

U17 Fielding Award – Tom Chapman

U15 Leading Wicket Taker – Jack Laraman

U14 Leading Run Scorer – Ryan Davies

Scholar Selection Cohort 2011/12

The Kent Cricket Academy began its ninth year of operation on 5th September 2011.

Ten scholars that consist of eight boys and two girls between the age ranges of 14 and 18 make up the ninth year’s cohort; three scholars are new to the Academy and replace four scholars who have been deselected, and two scholars who have been taken on by the professional staff.

The scholars have been selected mainly by recommendations from our Kent Young Cricketers coaches based on the criteria of having “demonstrated potential” of developing into a first class quality player over the next five to eight years. Most of the players have been outstanding in their own age group and have shown good performances both with their peers and when asked to play at a higher level.

During the past year I have had the opportunity to witness the professionalism and level of commitment shown by our Kent Young Cricketers coaches and managers, led by High Performance Manager Jason Weaver which is greatly appreciated. Their tireless efforts play a significant part in the development of these young scholars who are in essence the future of Kent Cricket.

The group is made up of one specialist batsman, three pace bowlers, two all-rounders, two spin bowlers and two wicket keepers. The three new scholars are Junaid Nadir, Deanna Cooper and Alice Davidson Richards.

We are really looking forward to working with all scholars and parents as our Academy enters into a new and exciting phase.

DEANNA COOPER:

  • Female – Age 18

  • Right Arm Medium Bowler. Right Hand Batsman

  • Selected for England Senior Women’s Academy this year

  • Represented Kent Senior Women’s team this summer

  • Plays club cricket for Hayes CC

  • Attends Canterbury Christchurch University

ALICE DAVIDSON-RICHARDS:

  • Female – Age 17

  • Right Arm Medium Bowler, Right Hand Batsman

  • Represented Kent Senior Women’s team this summer

  • Plays club cricket for Bexley CC

  • Attends Epsom College

HENRY PICKERING:

  • Male – Age 16

  • Left Arm Orthodox Spin Bowler, Right Hand Batsman

  • Represented the Kent U17 age group squad this summer

  • Plays club cricket for Bexley CC

  • Attends Beths Grammar School

SHAUN PIESLEY:

  • Male – Age 16

  • Wicket Keeper, Left Hand Batsman

  • Represented the Kent U17 age group team this summer

  • Made his Kent CCC 2nd XI County Championship, One Day and Twenty20 debuts this summer

  • Plays club cricket for The Mote CC

  • Attends Fulston Manor School

SAM WELLER:

  • Male – Age 16

  • Right Arm Medium Fast Bowler, Right Hand Batsman

  • Represented the Kent U17 age group team this summer

  • Made his Kent CCC 2nd XI County Championship debut this summer

  • Plays club cricket for Hartley Country Club CC

  • Attends Millfield School

JACK LARAMAN:

  • Male – Age 15

  • Left Arm Orthodox Spin Bowler, Left Hand Batsman

  • Represented the Kent U17 & U15 age group teams this summer

  • Represented South of England U15’s at the Bunbury festival this summer

  • Plays club cricket for Lordswood CC

  • Attends Chatham Grammar School for Boys

JUNAID NADIR:

  • Male – Age 15

  • Right Arm Medium Fast Bowler, Right Hand Batsman

  • Represented the Kent U17 & U15 age group teams this summer

  • Represented South of England U15’s at the Bunbury festival this summer

  • Plays club cricket for Blackheath CC

  • Attends Crownwood College

RYAN DAVIES:

  • Male – Age 14

  • Right Hand Batsman, Wicketkeeper

  • Represented the Kent U14 & U15 age group teams this summer

  • Plays club cricket for Sandwich Town CC

  • Attends Sandwich Technology School

PIERS RICHARDSON:

  • Male – Age 14

  • Right Arm Medium Fast Bowler, Right Hand Batsman

  • Represented the Kent U15 age group team this summer

  • Represented South of England U15’s at the Bunbury festival this summer

  • Plays club cricket for Whitstable CC

  • Attends Kent College

MICHAEL WALLER:

  • Male – Age 14

  • Right Hand Batsman, Right Arm Medium Bowler

  • Represented the Kent U14 & U15 age group teams this summer

  • Plays club cricket for Bidborough CC

  • Attends Tunbridge Wells Grammar School