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
–Will Gidman, Graeme McCarter