Gloucestershire Cricket will help to develop the best young players from Wiltshire following the agreement of a formal partnership between the two counties.
The partnership – which is for an initial six years – will see former Glos player and current Head of Talent Pathway, Tim Hancock take over the running of Wiltshire’s Emerging Player Programme (EPP) which provides additional coaching for the county’s most talented 13-17-year-olds.
Tim said the partnership will bring huge benefits to both counties.
He said: “We are delighted to have formally agreed this partnership and look forward to working closely with Wiltshire Cricket to support the development of their best young players.
“A stronger relationship between the counties will give youngsters in Wiltshire a clear route to First Class cricket. It will also strengthen Gloucestershire Cricket by widening the pool of talented players within our pathway and increasing our chances of producing professional cricketers in the future.
“In the last decade Wiltshire have produced the likes of Craig Miles, James Vince, Liam Dawson and Tom Alsop who have all gone on to have excellent county careers and in Vince and Dawson’s case have represented England. Whereas in the past only Craig came across to Gloucestershire, this partnership means that going forward all of Wilts’ most promising players will be part of our pathway.”
Over the last two years Gloucestershire ran Wiltshire’s EPP in the north of the county with Hampshire overseeing the programme in the south. But under the new agreement Glos will become Wilts’ sole performance cricket partner.
The partnership will see young players work with Hancock and the likes of Gloucestershire bowling coach Mark Thorburn, current first team spinner Tom Smith and ex-Glos professional Paul Muchall. The programme will also be supported by Gloucestershire Cricket’s strength and conditioning coaches.
Wiltshire Cricket Managing Director Pete Sykes said: “We hope that by aligning to one county we will give greater clarity to our players and stakeholders with regards to how the player pathway in Wiltshire works”
“Wiltshire Cricket is very proud of its county age group teams and of its identity as a high performing cricket board. We are, therefore, very excited by the opportunities that this partnership offers in terms of enhancing our talent pathway offering and strengthening the opportunities that we offer to our players, coaches, associations and partners.”
The talent pathway partnership is the first step in a closer working relationship between the Gloucestershire Cricket Board (GCB) and Wiltshire Cricket Limited which may extend across a number of different areas. This is likely to include the women’s and girls’ performance pathway and coach development as well as ticketing and membership offers linked to Gloucestershire Cricket.
GCB Chief Executive Steve Silk said: “This partnership provides an exciting opportunity for two high achieving boards to build on the great work they already do in developing young cricketers. This is hopefully the start of a relationship that will only grow in strength and scope moving forward.”