Staffordshire all-rounder Sam Atkinson has become the ninth member of Warwickshire's Academy for the 2022-23 cohort.
The 18-year-old, who hails from Stoke-on-Trent, will join the existing eight players, confirmed in November.
A right-arm seamer and right-handed bat, Sam came to the Bears’ attention due to the player pathway partnership between the two counties.
Progressing through the Staffordshire junior system, Sam first played for Staffs in 2021 as part of their Elite Performance Pathway, which Warwickshire part funds and supports with coaching, scouting support, and coach education.
A product of Staffordshire side Moddershall & Oulton CC, Sam made his senior bow in the National Counties T20 last year as a 17-year-old.
“When we officially announced the partnership in 2017, the purpose was to work closely with Staffordshire Cricket to identify players who may have the potential to get to the next level, whilst also introducing more Staffordshire players into our development groups,” said High Performance Manager Paul Greetham.
“Staffordshire has a proud history of outstanding county age group and league cricketers over the years, with Warwickshire benefiting with players such as Tony Frost, Liam Banks, Alex Mellor, Alex Thomson and more recently Rory Haydon.
“Part of our pre-season travelling party to Zimbabwe, Sam was joined by two other Staffordshire cricketers, showcasing the success and potential of the existing partnership.”
As an Academy member, Sam will still represent his home county, which he planned to do last weekend and play league cricket.
As a Bear, Sam will feature for the under-18s cricket and is hoping for an opportunity to showcase his skills in the Second XI at some point in 2023.
“Sam is a talented seam bowling all-rounder, who we’ve been watching and working with for some time,” Greetham added. “Sam bowls with good pace, but with a full-time strength and conditioning programme, he’ll be able to get stronger at the crease and improve his running mechanics.
“We’re always going to give local seamers an opportunity as it’s an area within the pathway that we’ve lacked depth in for many years. Sam is a great person to work withand we’re looking forward to supporting him and tapping into his potential.”
Chris Milward, Pathway and Performance Manager for Staffordshire Cricket added: “We are delighted for Sam that he has been selected for Warwickshire’s Academy. This is testament to Sam’s hard work and the support that he has received whilst on our Pathway from our coaches, his family, and the Warwickshire CCC Performance Coaches that has come through our partnership.
“Our partnership continues to offer some fantastic opportunities for County Age Group players in Staffordshire to further their games and to progress into a First Class environment. We really do wish Sam the best of luck.”