Regular visitors to the Cooper Associates County Ground during the past few weeks may well have noticed that Darren Veness, the Club’s Head of Strength & Conditioning has been missing from the scene.
He is in fact currently in South Africa where he is working with the Potential England Performance Programme and in his latest message back to Taunton said: “I’m working with the PEPP group, which is an elite fast bowling programme led by Kevin Shine. I’ve worked with a core group of lads (Tom Helm – Middlesex, Jamie Porter – Essex, George Garton – Sussex but currently with U19′s, Luke Wood – Notts, Tom Taylor – Derby, Stuart Meaker – Surrey, and Matt Hobden – Sussex) all winter but the group expanded after Christmas to include Olly Stone – Northants/Lions, Tymal Mills – Sussex/Lions, and the England players Liam Plunkett and Mark Wood.
“We lost Matt Hobden in January in incredibly sad circumstances which was devastating for the entire group, players and staff alike, but the boys vowed to, and have, worked even harder to ensure they each covered the work ‘Hobbo’ didn’t get an opportunity to complete for himself – a fantastic gesture in my eyes to honour Matt.
“Having the other guys come into the group has added another dimension too. Especially since we’ve been out in South Africa. Training in Potch has done this as well because it’s a haven for athletes currently training towards Rio’s Olympics due to the altitude and fair weather. It’s virtually impossible not to be inspired!”
Daz went on: “We moved to Jo’burg at the weekend and trained with the England squad in Pretoria which was an amazing experience in itself. We will be with them again for training again on Thursday before we fly home. I managed to squeeze in a steak with Jos (Buttler) too and it was great to see him in good form, both in the nets and in front of a massive T bone!
“After we all return, there’ll be a final screening camp up at the National Centre in Loughborough again, then it’s back to pre-season with Somerset, which I’m massively excited about. This has been an amazing learning experience and it’s been a privilege to have the opportunity to work with some of the best in the world at what they do.”
Daz added: “I’m incredibly grateful to Matt Maynard and Guy Lavender for allowing me this chance and I am looking forward to giving everything back and then some to help Somerset move even further forward.”