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Eight new scholars join Kent Cricket Academy

Tuesday 3rd November 2015

The prolific Kent Cricket Academy has welcomed eight new scholars for 2015/16.

After producing England internationals Joe Denly, Lydia Greenway, Sam Billings, Tammy Beaumont and Natasha Farrant, the Academy has nurtured a total of 25 cricketers to have graduated to the senior first teams in the last 12 years.

This year’s intake features three wicketkeepers looking to follow in the footsteps of Sam Billings: second year scholar Oliver Robinson, 16, is joined by newcomers Sam Smith, 15, and Jordan Cox, 14.

Tunbridge Wells all-rounder Marcus O’Riordan returns to the Academy joined by brother Julian, 14, as they bid to become the first brothers since Chris and Graham Cowdrey to represent Kent.

Among the bowlers, is teen leg spinner Jan Gray from Folkestone, The Mote CC left-arm seamer Oliver Hills and all-rounders Tom Davis (Elham Valley CC) and Charlie Russell-Vick (Tunbridge Wells CC).

The youngest scholar is Joe Gordon, a 13-year-old batsman from Canterbury with Alex Moen, 15, of Bickley Park another aspiring batsman.

Led by high performance director Simon Willis, the Academy has brought through several of the current Kent squad including England wicketkeeper-batsman Sam Billings.

This year, England Under-19 seamer Hugh Bernard and 17-year-old batsman Zak Crawley graduated from the Academy to the first-team squad on professional contracts, showing the clear talent pathway at the club.

Willis, a former Kent ‘keeper himself, said: “We have some excellent age-group coaches looking out for the best emerging talent in Kent who work hard to develop their techniques and temperament.”

“The attitude and application of the players is as important as their skills at this stage so they can take advantage of the support and guidance we provide at the Academy.”

Sessions will be overseen by Willis alongside first team assistant coach Matt Walker, former Kent and England stars Mark Ealham and Min Patel, former Kent batsman Neil Taylor as well as input from Kent and England spinner James Tredwell.

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