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Warwickshire County Cricket Club has announced a new Player Pathway partnership with Staffordshire Cricket that will give young Staffordshire cricketers access to Warwickshire’s high performance coaching programmes.

The most promising cricketers in Staffordshire’s county age group teams will now be invited into Warwickshire CCC’s elite Player Pathway, whilst the Bears will also host a skill set coaching programme in South Staffordshire.

A county such as ours must also look beyond the county borders for the freshest and most promising talent from neighbouring minor counties.

Ashley Giles

Paul Greetham, Elite Cricket Development Manager at Warwickshire CCC, said: “We will be working 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 this coming winter.

“We are already working with four Staffordshire players as part of our Emerging Player Programme and it is hoped that this trend will continue as the partnership develops, offering genuine professional prospects for a wider pool of talented cricketers in the West Midlands.”

The partnership follows the development of three Staffordshire cricketers in Warwickshire’s professional ranks.
Batsman Liam Banks (18) graduated through the Bears’ Academy after starting in Staffordshire’s county age group teams, whilst wicket-keeper batsman Alex Mellor (25) won his first professional contract ahead of the 2016 season after impressing in the Minor Counties competitions. Fast Bowler Mitchell Spencer (24) has been on trial with Warwickshire since the beginning of the year and has featured in several second team games.

Alex Mellor batting against Yorkshire in the Specsavers County Championship

Jason Britton, Staffordshire Cricket’s Development Director, said: “The partnership with Warwickshire CCC is part of our strategy to better align ourselves with our First Class neighbours and provide the best pathway opportunities for our talented players to progress into the professional arena. With a specific focus on players in the south of our county, we think the partnership will do exactly that.

“In addition to the pathway work, we have are also developing bespoke offers for Staffordshire-based clubs and schools for Warwickshire memberships and ticket offers. The partnership will help both counties deliver on the ‘Great Teams’ and ‘Inspired Fans’ aspects the game’s Cricket Unleashed strategy.”

Ashley Giles, Warwickshire CCC Sport Director, added: “Within Warwickshire we have produced some outstanding talent, including the likes of Ian Bell, Chris Woakes, Amy Jones and Rebecca Grundy in recent times. However, a county such as ours must also look beyond the county borders for the freshest and most promising talent from neighbouring minor counties.

“Staffordshire has a proud history of outstanding county age group and league cricket; we are proud to be associated with such a strong county. We look forward to developing this innovative partnership, which has the potential to bring great benefits to both counties.”