Neil Edwards was the toast of the Westcountry after announcing his arrival on cricket's big stage when he hit a magnificent 160 in the championship match against Hampshire last week.

The 19 year old, who hails from Cornwall, is another product of the Somerset Academy system who has made it through to the first team and his success will come as no surprise to those who have watched him develop over the years.

Neil is a tall left handed opening bat who started playing cricket as a result of going along to his local club with his dad.

He told me: "My Dad played cricket in the Second Division of the Cornwall League and I grew up with going along with him on Saturday mornings to help him prepare the wickets and then staying in the afternoons and trying to get people to bowl to me."

Neil also played cricket at his local primary school and one of the highlights for him was when they reached the finals of the Wrigley Softball Competition.

He then progressed through the Cornwall Schools system and played for the West Of England Schools but he admits that he couldn't have done any of it without the help and support of his parents.

"My Mum and Dad were the biggest influence on my cricket when I was growing up because Cornwall is a long way away but they supported me and took me along to matches and without them it wouldn't have happened," he told me.

He also paid tribute to his local club. "Paul Cricket Club were just fantastic to me because I went there as a twelve or thirteen year old and they gave me my chance and I played in the team. They accepted me and encouraged me and I have never looked back. In fact after I scored my runs last week a lot of my team mates from the club called me up to say well done and to talk to me which I really appreciated."

Last winter Neil enjoyed considerable success in Australia with the Under 19's side and scored 97 in the First Youth Test at Adelaide which resulted in a memorable victory for England.He also scored 92 in the One Day International at Sydney Cricket Ground, but he almost didn't make the trip after going down with glandular fever in the autumn.

The illness returned earlier this year and prevented him from getting back to full fitness until the middle of this season.

What were his plans now I asked. "My ambition in life has always been to play for Somerset and to score my maiden century in front of my home crowd is like a dream come true.

"I suppose everybody wants to play for their country but at the moment I'm taking each game as it comes and enjoying it and if anything else comes along then it will be a bonus for me."

Having had to work hard to get where he is today, one thing that is certain is that the young man from the Duchy is determined to stay there and Somerset supporters are likely to see the name of Neil Edwards at the top of the batting order for many years to come.