SOMERSET have signed former England Under-19 right, arm fast bowler David Stiff on a two-month contract.

The 24-year-old, who stands 6ft6in, has struggled with injuries in the past and failed to hold down a place in spells with Kent and Leicestershire. However, Somerset’s director of cricket Brian Rise believes he can be a success with the Cidermen.

He said: “David Stiff fits the bill in terms of the modern idea of a fast bowler with regard to his height and he bowls in the high 80s (mph). However, in the past with both Kent and Leicestershire, he has had difficulties getting onto the pitch because of his fitness.

“The key for him is to use the two months to get himself as fit as the rest of the Somerset players and then gearing up his approach to the game which has got to be a lot tougher.”

Stiff was born in Dewsbury and was part of the Yorkshire Academy between 1999 and 2003. He represented England U-19 taking 5-35 in the third ‘Test’ against Australia in Sydney in 2002-3.

Stiff signed for Kent in 2004 but made just eight first class appearances before joining Leicestershire in 2006 but Stiff left the Midland county at the end of the 2007 season without playing a first class game.

Last season, Stiff played two 2nd XI Championship games for Somerset, taking three wickets at an average of 32.66.

Stiff is currently playing grade cricket in Brisbane where he is working with former Australian all-rounder Andy Bichel.

He will join Somerset when they report back for pre-season training on March 20 until at least the end of May, with the situation being reviewed at the end of April.