JACK Leach was back where it all began on Friday after a summer which has seen him become a national cricketing hero.

The Somerset and England spinner held a meet and greet at Taunton bat makers Millichamp & Hall, based at the County Ground, from whom a young Leach bought his first cricket bat at a time when playing in an Ashes series would perhaps have felt a pipe dream.

That dream became a reality in 2019, however, as Leach etched his name into Ashes folklore for his part in England's famous one-wicket victory in the third Test at Headingley.

The Taunton-born star, who attended Bishop Fox's School and Richard Huish College, scored an infamous one not out in a last wicket stand of 76 with Ben Stokes at Leeds and quickly became a cult hero.

The 28-year-old was happy to swap anecdotes with visiting fans, several of whom were young cricketers at Leach's own club, Taunton Deane, as they told the spinner where they were when he was in the midst of 'that' partnership.

It was far from the end of Leach's exploits over the season - he had earlier scored 92 opening the batting as nightwatchman against Ireland at Lord's and also took 12 Ashes wickets at 25.83 in the four Tests he played.

Leach continues to use M&H equipment and, in their workshop this week, met young supporters who seized the opportunities to meet one of the stars of English cricket's glorious summer.

Leach told the County Gazette: "I remember getting my first bat made here.

"I came in, watched it being made and was talked through the whole process.

"That was in this workshop and I have fond memories of coming here as a kid, trying out all the bats in the shop.

"I also remember my Dad probably putting too much linseed oil on it and knocking it in for hours at home!

"It's amazing to come here and see how passionate the kids are about their cricket.

"They have all been watching this summer and it is good to see how it has inspired them."

See this Thursday's County Gazette for a full interview with Leach ahead of England's upcoming Test tour of New Zealand.