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Former Warwickshire slow left-armer Paul Best is glad that he followed the advice of his former county team-mate Jon Webb after he came out as a winner in this year’s PCA Personal Development Scholarship Awards.

Webb was successful along with Richard Jones, another former Warwickshire player, in the Newcomers category in last year’s Awards and the experience of going through a formal interview helped him secure a job as a marketing executive with the England and Wales Cricket Board after he was released by Warwickshire.

Jon Webb, who is a good friend, was a winner last year and he told me that there was an award for past players. I felt in the months or so since I finished that I had packed in quite a few interesting things so I thought it was worth giving it a shot.

Paul Best

Webb encouraged Best, who was forced to retire because of a back injury on the eve of the 2015 season, to apply for this year’s Scholarship Awards and he triumphed in the Past Player category along with former Surrey seamer Tim Linley.

Both won £1,000 in prize money which Best will use to fund the cost of studying for a law degree in London ahead of joining Clyde & Co on a training contract in September 2018.

“Jon Webb, who is a good friend, was a winner last year and he told me that there was an award for past players. I felt in the months or so since I finished that I had packed in quite a few interesting things so I thought it was worth giving it a shot,” Best said.

The awards, which were introduced in 2013, reward the most proactive current and former professional cricketers in England and Wales who have sought ways to develop and improve themselves off the pitch.

Yorkshire batsman Alex Lees and Leicestershire wicketkeeper/batsman Lewis Hill were winners in the Newcomers category with Derbyshire captain Billy Godleman and Glamorgan batsman Will Bragg taking the Current Players awards.

Linley also received an additional £1,000 after his presentation, which included a practical demonstration of his barista skills, was highly commended by the judging panel of PCA Chief Executive David Leatherdale, Ian Thomas, the PCA’s Head of Development and Welfare, and two PCA Personal Development & Welfare Managers, Charlie Mulraine and Lynsey Williams.

When Best retired he did not have a career plan for life after cricket but he gained a qualification in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, which was part-funded by the PCA, while visiting his girlfriend in Malaysia.

“While I was out there I applied for various law vacation schemes in Birmingham and London. I came back in June last year and did a couple of two week sessions with them and was luckily awarded a training contract with Clyde & Co,” Best said.

“The PCA have been absolutely brilliant. They helped me when I was training to be a teacher and I got funding for that course. When I was thinking about going into law Lynsey Williams, my Personal Development Manager, put me in contact with a number of ex-cricketers who are involved in the legal profession, which was really helpful in moving down that different avenue.

“When I came back and did my vacations with one of the firms I had a mock interview with Charlie Mulraine – another PDM – and Lynsey. They put me through my paces and that really helped me for the main event.”

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