Having initially launched a pilot scheme for the pathway in South Staffordshire, Warwickshire CCC has expanded its development programme across the whole county, and now operates dedicated batting and bowling skills sessions for several players in Staffordshire boys age-group teams each week.
Staffordshire’s most talented boys’ cricketers can also join Warwickshire’s Academy and Emerging Players Programme (EPP), whilst players in the older age group teams will have the opportunity to play senior cricket in Second XI competitions for Warwickshire and Minor County fixtures for Staffordshire.
"This more formal partnership provides joint-working opportunities whilst also giving its male cricketers greater access to elite level coaching and expanding our talent pool."
Neil Snowball, Chief Executive at Warwickshire CCC, said: “We’re thrilled to extend this relationship with Staffordshire Cricket to a more formal partnership, which provides joint-working opportunities whilst also giving its male cricketers greater access to elite level coaching and expanding our talent pool.
“This partnership is in the early stages and there are other areas that we would love to develop, including extending the pathway to the women and girls’ game. However, in the meantime we hope that our work with these young male cricketers can help them develop and go further in the game, whether that be at Minor County level with Staffordshire or in the First Class game with Warwickshire.”
Commercially, Warwickshire and Staffordshire will collaborate on marketing for Birmingham Bears Vitality Blast matches, with recreational cricket clubs in Staffordshire being able to benefit from cashback on tickets and an opportunity to participate in the annual All Stars Day for players aged five to eight-years-old.
Jason Britton, Development Director at Staffordshire Cricket, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Warwickshire and to be formalising a partnership that’s been developing for some time now. All parties have absolutely bought into the relationship and we’ll be working hard to ensure that our players, coaches and clubs have the opportunity to benefit from it.”
The relationship between the two counties has already proved fruitful with Warwickshire currently having three players from Staffordshire’s development programme in its professional ranks.
Wicket-keeper batsman Alex Mellor joined the Bears in 2016, opening batsman Liam Banks graduated from the Academy to a professional contract in 2017 whilst off-spinning all-rounder Alex Thomson joined the ranks ahead of the 2018 season.