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Clubs pick their pros for the 2014 season

By GlosCB  |  Posted: March 04, 2014

Tom Smith

Tom Smith, who will play for Frocester.

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Six teams from the top two divisions of the Wadworth 6X West

of England Premier League (WEPL) have been allocated Gloucestershire CCC

professionals for the 2014 season.

Bristol, Cheltenham, Downend, Frocester, Keynsham and

Thornbury all took part in a draft similar to the system used in American

professional sport, with the lowest ranked side from 2013 getting the first


This was successfully brought in last year to try and support

Gloucestershire teams in maintaining their status in the top two tiers of club

cricket. Despite being just outside the county, Bristol and Keynsham are

involved due to their ongoing support of Gloucestershire cricket.

GCCC professionals were split into three pairs and three

groups of three players to ensure that clubs are likely to have one of them

available every Saturday. Where possible players that perform similar roles were

paired together to allow clubs to pick based on the specific needs of their


 As in 2013 Cheltenham

were the first club to choose and opted for the trio of batsman Dan Housego and

seamers David Payne and Liam Norwell. Thornbury picked allrounders Will Gidman

– who played six times for them last season – and Graeme McCarter. They are

also able to play Chris Dent and Tom Shrewsbury who are classed as 'homegrown'

players as they played for the club for a minimum of two years before being contracted

Downend CC have drafted seamers James Fuller and Craig Miles

alongside batsman Ian Cockbain who scored 426 runs at an average of 106 in just

six innings for them last year.

Last season's Premier 1 runners-up Frocester CC will be

hoping to go one better after picking up spinners Jack Taylor and Tom Smith,

while Bristol  - who finished one place

below them - have been allocated 'keepers Gareth Roderick and Cameron Herring. Theyl

will also be able to play 'homegrown' player Will Tavare.

Young seamer Matt Taylor returns to Keynsham for whom he

played 11 times in 2013. He will be joined by fellow bowler Ian Saxelby and

batsman Benny Howell.

The allocation was organised by Gloucestershire Cricket

Board chief executive Steve Silk and GCCC batting coach and academy director Owen


Owen said: "Strong, competitive leagues are crucial for

developing all cricketers in Gloucestershire. When the schedule allows we are

keen for our professionals to play their part in driving the competition

forward. The lads that played club cricket last season really enjoyed it and it

became a good topic of conversation in the dressing room."

In 2013 Gloucestershire players made more appearances for

clubs than ever before, with 14 professionals played a combined total of 70

times in the league. Downend (14) had more player appearances than any other

club followed by Bristol (12) and Keynsham (11). Allocated pros at Gloucester

City Winget and Cheltenham played 10 times while Thornbury (7) and Frocester

(6) had the lowest number. Matt Taylor (11) was the pro who made the most club


Steve Silk said: "The draft process that we have put in

place, with the lowest ranked teams getting first pick of players, proved

successful last season and has been received positively by our clubs. We feel

this approach supports Gloucestershire clubs to remain in Premier 1 and 2 which

is important for the development of our young players.

"Last year was our most successful to date with players

making more appearances in club cricket than ever before. The skills and

experience they bring to a dressing room are invaluable and can only improve

the standard of club cricket going forward."

Under the allocation agreement teams will not be allowed to play two GCCC

players in the same match unless one of them is home grown. However Academy

players are free to play alongside a professional.

The final decision on availability will be made by GCCC based on the

fitness, recent work load and the individual needs of the players. For example

seam bowlers will generally not bowl in club cricket and are more likely to

play as a batsman in order to prevent injuries. One of the other conditions of

the draft is that GCCC are able to stipulate where their players bat eg top

four, top seven etc.

Clubs will not pay their allocated players but will provide

free pitch hire for Second XI, Academy and county youth games when required.

In addition to the draft, three pros have been allocated to

clubs and/or leagues as non-playing ambassadors. Hamish Marshall will perform

an ambassadorial role for the Gloucestershire County Cricket League and

Rockhampton CC, Alex Gidman will do the same for Stroud CC and Hatherley and

Reddings CC. Gloucestershire skipper Michael Klinger will support the Bristol

Youth League and Brislington CC.


2014 Gloucestershire Player Allocation

Bristol CC

Cameron Herring and Gareth Roderick

Cheltenham CC

Dan Housego, David Payne and Liam Norwell

Downend CC – Ian

Cockbain, James Fuller, Craig Miles

Frocester CC

Jack Taylor, Tom Smith

Keynsham CC

Benny Howell, Matt Taylor, Ian Saxelby

Thornbury CC

–Will Gidman, Graeme McCarter

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