Back in autumn of 1996 when Warwickshire player Dermot Reeve joined Somerset as their new Head Coach he brought with him two people in their middle to late 20′s.
They were Mike Burns and Darren Veness.
While most of the rest of the people who were on the staff at that time have moved on, Burns went onto captain the Club and is now a well respected First Class umpire, whilst Darren, known affectionately as Daz, is still a very important part of the fitness regime that he was partly responsible for developing.
Reflecting on his long associations with Somerset Daz, who is now the Head of Strength and Conditioning said: “It’s been a bit of a whirlwind and just fantastic. In fact it’s as much fun here now as it was when Dermot first brought me to the Club in the winter of 1996.
“I got to know Dermot before we came down to Taunton and at that time he was looking at the players fitness, strength, explosive speed and power and asking all the right questions in that era. I had a background in that area and also in sports therapy and nutrition. He decided that he wanted me to join him here to explore those avenues and seeing how far we could take it. I never thought that I would still be here 20 years later because, to be honest, when I came down here in that autumn I was over the moon to be walking away with a three year contract.
“Then it was just a case of seeing how far we could move the ideas forward and where we could get to with them. The lucky thing for me was that Dermot was huge in championing what I was doing and also the lads who were here at the time were so receptive to it.”
Burns, who had previously played 20 matches for Warwickshire between 1992 and 1996 said: “It was a bit of a chance to come to Taunton but I had been at Warwickshire for six years and thought I needed a bit of a change. I was lucky that Dermot asked me to come down to join him here and it was a great move for me. Probably the best thing I have ever done.
“You never can be sure when you move and I didn’t know an awful lot of the Somerset boys when I first came down here, but it’s been a great place to be. At the time Peter Anderson was the top man and he treated us very well and it didn’t take long to get to know everyone else once I got here, so it was a great move.”
Mike went on: “I never thought that I would be a captain because when you are younger you are just happy to get what you can out of the game. Then I made the move here and just hoped to get some First Team cricket and make a career, but then to be asked to be captain was great. That’s second only to playing for your country and a massive honour.
“Since I’ve been here I have had a go at being captain, working in the office, building the Botham Stand, wicket-keeping and then I tried umpiring which is what I am doing now so it’s all worked out very well for me. I’m still down here with my family. Both our children were born down down here and we all love the place. Yes it’s definitely the best move I ever made!”