Worcestershire CCC Under-17s are returning to St. Lucia next month for a 10 day trip which will include two matches under floodlights at the Darren Sammy National Stadium.
The winter trip to the Caribbean has become a regular part of the County calendar for more than a decade and this year they will fly out on February 14.
It has been of immense benefit for Worcestershire’s crop of young talent in playing in different conditions and experiencing a different culture as part of their development.
Current first team squad players Brett D’Oliveira, Josh Tongue, Alex Milton and Ollie Westbury are amongst those who went to St. Lucia with the Under-17s on previous trips.
David Banks and David Manning, Worcestershire’s Lead Under-17 and Under-15 coaches respectively, will again oversee the trip.
Academy Coach Elliot Wilson said: “Over the last 12 years, we’ve been very lucky to be able to send a group of our Under-17 players to St. Lucia to play against St. Lucia Under-17s in a five or six game series.
“On February 14, a couple of days before half-term, David Banks and David Manning, our lead Under-17 and lead Under-15 coaches, will take a group of players out to St. Lucia for nine to 10 days.
“The cricket will be good, the experience will be amazing for the lads, to experience cricket in a different culture, a different environment, different personalities playing it as opposed to what they see on a day to day basis in Worcestershire with their peers, friends and people they know.
“It massively takes them out of the bubble they are accustomed to. Cricket in the West Indies is still a big part of culture and life and there will be people there for whom it is a major thing in their life.
“There will be kids they are playing against who will show them a different level of desire and desperation and determination to want to succeed.
“That’s not to say cricketers in England don’t have that desire and don’t want to make it but it is seen in the West Indies in a different way.
“It will be good for our lads to see some of these kids who are probably less fortunate, to show what it really means to them.”
Wilson added: “We will be playing a mixture of 20 over, 30 over, 45 over and 50 over cricket and they get to play a couple of games at the Darren Sammy Stadium under lights at the Test match venue.
“The lads come back every year saying what an experience it has been, that they have loved it and the cricket has been great.
“A decent number of the current squad have benefitted from the experience in St. Lucia, people like Brett D’Oliveira, Josh Tongue, Alex Milton and Ollie Westbury.”
Gabriel De Souza