This week we have put the spotlight on the relationship between Cricket Shropshire and Shropshire County Cricket Club.
Cricket Shropshire Chairman Adrian Collins hailed the close relationship which has been developed between the Board and the county club in recent years.
He said there had been a lot of work behind the scenes to develop the partnership for the good of all cricketers in Shropshire.
“The Board and County Cricket Club work closely together to make sure that the pathway is clear for boys right the way from All Stars at the age of five through to the full Shropshire side.
“This means that young players in the pathway system work through the County Age Groups and depending on ability will get the opportunity to represent the County at a senior level.
“Playing for Shropshire should be the ultimate pinnacle for all cricketers in the county.
“Obviously for some it could also be a stepping stone to playing First Class cricket, and even going on to represent England.
“We have seen the example of a number of players in recent years who have come through the system in Shropshire and gone on to play at First Class level and beyond, such as James Taylor, Ed Barnard, Joe Clarke and Dillon Pennington to name but a few.
“There is another exciting crop of youngsters coming through the Shropshire Age Group system now, and we are looking forward to seeing how they develop and progress.
“And obviously, with John Abrahams and Jason Weaver now involved with the County club, they can tap into their knowledge and experience from the very top levels of the game.”
Several initiatives are either in place or planned to ensure that the pathway for players creates the appropriate opportunities and is accessible:
Consistency of coaches working with junior age groups and the senior county side
Agreed coaching and development philosophy applied to all age groups
Talent spotting network in place to watch and observe players in games
County Academy XI in place creating stepping stone to full county side
Introduction in 2020 of a Shropshire Emerging Player Programme: an ECB supported programme for 13-18-year-old boys and linked to Worcestershire CCC.