YOUNG Somerset batsman George Bartlett is spending the whole of the winter playing Grade cricket for University of Western Australia, writes Richard Walsh.

The 19-year-old, who hails from near Yeovil, has played through the county age groups as well as for Bridgwater Cricket Club, and early in the 2017 season he signed a two-year extension to his Somerset contract.

Bartlett made his County Championship debut during the last crucial month of the season, with Somerset fighting against relegation, and in the home victory over Lancashire he hit the winning runs.

Reflecting on the time he has spent in Western Australia so far, Bartlett said: “Things are going well for me at the moment cricket-wise, and my team [University of Western Australia] are sitting third in the league table, which is highest they have been in a number of years.

"I have also been doing OK personally too, getting some good scores and past 80 three times and averaging over 50.

"Hopefully a big one is only just around the corner! "

In fact Bartlett heads the University of Western Australia batting averages, with 516 runs from his 12 innings at 46.91, with a best of 85.

Talking about his training programme, he added: "Weekly I have been having batting sessions with Stewie Walters and also a bit with Geoff Marsh, who have both been really good to work with.

"I have been hitting a lot of balls and training with some of the Perth Scorchers Academy as well.

"It has also been good to be playing with some of the Western Australia players like Will Bosisto, Ashton Agar and David Moody who play for the University side, and see how they do things in comparison to England.

"Overall the competition is good, with some strong teams in the league.”

Bartlett has also linked up with his Somerset team-mate Ben Green, who is also spending the winter playing Grade cricket in the Perth area for Gosnalls.

"It’s also been good to have some other English boys over here too like and Ben Green and Max Holden, who I’ve met up with and had a few training sessions with in the heat," Bartlett added.

"We all live quite close to each other, so it’s easy to meet them and catch up.

"It’s a good experience to be away from home for a while, and be independent and see what Australia is like for yourself.

"The weather has been pretty much sunny and hot every day, apart from a couple which have been different, but something I can get used to!”

The Somerset batsman took the opportunity to do some travelling during the Christmas break in fixtures, but is now preparing for the next game on January 6, against Subiaco Floreat.

He added: “I’ll be heading back to Somerset on March 5, ready for pre-season with the boys, but before that there is still a lot of cricket to play out here in the sun!"