SINCE it was first introduced by the Somerset Cricket Board, the Corner Cricket competition, which is now known as District Cricket, has been many young players’ first taste of representative cricket in the county.
The recruiting process for District Cricket started last year when schools and clubs nominated players in the Under 11,12,13 and 14 age groups.
These youngsters then attended trials in either October or February at one of the four centres across the county – Withywood Merchant Academy in South Bristol, Wells Development Centre, the Indoor School at the County Ground and the Writhlington Cricket Centre.
Since it was first set up, the organisation of District Cricket has changed as Greg Kennis, the SCB head coach, explained: “The regions have now been dispensed with so we end up with a pool of four squads of 14 which also includes the county age group players which means that there are 56 per age group.
“The age groups are then split equally to make four squads.
“Last year was the first time this was introduced and it went really well and we ended up with a really competitive tournament.”
In the near future, each age group will be starting to have their outdoor practice days which will lead into the District Festival during the May half-term.
The outdoor practice days will be taking place at either Taunton Deane, Taunton School or Nailsea Cricket Club while the District Cricket Festivals taking place over the May Half Term Holiday at Millfield Prep School, Minehead CC, Brislington CC and Nailsea CC.
Kennis is only too well aware of the importance of District Cricket.
He said: “For many of these young cricketers, this is their first taste of being involved within Somerset Cricket and that first experience really needs to be an enjoyable one.
“The direction we are looking to take District Cricket will result in us constantly striving to ensure the structure is being improved upon wherever possible, to try and maximise a young player’s development along our player pathway.
“Because District Cricket reaches out to so many young players within Somerset we need to make sure we attempt to get it as right as we possibly can so we will be constantly reviewing things and looking at ways to try to improve.
“We are trying to raise the standard of District Cricket as high as we can. The stronger it becomes, the greater the strength in depth we will have when we come to selecting our county age group squads “In doing so, we will have aided a larger number of young cricketers in their pursuit of becoming the best cricketer they can be and, maybe, one day, represent Somerset.”
Anyone who wants to find out more about District Cricket should contact Matthew Counsell on 077725383068 or email him – firstname.lastname@example.org