Matt Maynard has returned to Taunton after overseeing the fourth Tom Maynard Academy in Spain.
The Somerset Director of Cricket was extremely pleased with the class of 2017. “It went really well,” he said. “We had a great group of players again this year and the interaction was first class.”
Matt outlined how the Academy came about. “When Tom passed away in 2012 we set up a trust in his name,” he said. “Tom was living his dream of playing professional sport and as a part of the initiative we want to help as many young players as possible fulfill their dreams. The idea of the Academy is that we take 12 players from various counties out to Spain every year and so far it has been very well recieved. A good number of those who we have worked with have since gone on to play First Class cricket which is great to see. In fact one of the players we worked with is Ben Duckett and he has gone on to play for England. We’re delighted with how we’ve been able to help those who have been involved with the Academy over the last four years.”
“I write to all the counties and their academies or Directors of Cricket in November and they then put names forward. They come back to me with who they think would benefit most from being a part of the Academy. We try to educate the players as much as possible with regards to the game as a whole. It’s about how they react on the field but also about what they do off the field. There’s quite a bit of down time so we try and help them find things of interest outside of cricket. You really need to be able to find something to do on those days off when you’re a professional player because it can get quite all-consuming. Some of the lads this time had university work to do whilst they were out here so it was important that we allocated enough time for them to study.
“We try to integrate a lot of what the PCA do at their rookie camp, so having Mark Wallis with us is brilliant. Jamie Dalrymple also works with the players from a psychological point of view but also gives a talk on leadership and how everyone in a team can be a leader. On top of that Mark Garraway comes in to profile the players which is always enlightening and gives the players a greater understanding of themselves and their games. We like to have a nice balance of more experienced young players and youngsters still looking to make their way in to the game. The help that the more experienced guys can give the younger ones in immense.”
Both Lewis Gregory and Ryan Davies were included in the 2017 intake for the Academy and Matt was impressed by both of his players whilst they were away. “Lewis and Ryan were fantastic,” he said. “I spoke to Lewis beforehand about leading the side in the various matches we play over there but he didn’t just lead on the field. He was a leader all week with his attitude to training, how he went about netting and the professionalism he showed throughout. The players will have picked up a lot from how he went about his work whilst we were together. He really impressed the players and the other coaches and I’m delighted by how he conducted himself. Ryan really played his part as well. He was originally looking at going to Sri Lanka but that fell through. A space then became available on Tom’s Academy and he took to it brilliantly. He did some great work with Mark Wallis on his keeping and batted really well. He got a 50 in the second match against Spain and played really nicely, so I’m delighted for him as well.”