Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

Wilson Pays Tribute To Role Of Pridgeon And Manning In Academy Set-Up

Wilson Pays Tribute To Role Of Pridgeon And Manning In Academy Set-Up

Worcestershire Academy coach Elliot Wilson has paid tribute to the key roles played by former New Road paceman Paul Pridgeon and Dave Manning with the county's two satellite academies and said: "without these guys, we would be poorer for it."

Sixty-one-year-old Pridgeon, who was a member of three County Championship winning squads and is now cricket professional at Shrewsbury School, runs the Shropshire satellite academy.

Highly respected coach and successful club cricketer Manning, aged 52, is in charge of the academy which encompasses the Black Country, North Worcestershire and Staffordshire areas.

The duo have passed on their skills and experience to the County's most promising youngsters in their respective regions in the 13-17 age bracket two-three times a week for the past decade and also do their share of work with the main academy programme.

Their efforts save many youngsters from having to make the trip several times a week to the County's main winter base at Malvern College.

But they also have the talent to spot and identify a budding youngster who may eventually blossom into a first team player with Worcestershire.

Wilson said: "When Dolly (Damian D'Oliveira) set up the academy, he thought it was important we had some satellite academies.

"One was formed here in Worcester, which looked after our younger players of an EPP age which is 14-16 years old, and they thought it was prevalent to do one on the borders of Shropshire and one on the borders of Staffordshire.

"Paul Pridgeon was approached to run the one up at Shropshire, obviously with his links with Shrewsbury School and working for Shrewsbury School.

"Dave Manning has run the other satellite academy with links to Staffordshire and links to Wolverhampton CC and the Black Country region.

"That satellite academy looks after players from North Worcestershire into Staffordshire and it just helps us to support more players and also to support players better who don't live this end of the county near to Malvern to where we do a lot of the work.

"The pair do a hell of a lot of work on those programmes on our behalf, with a lot of success, and they spend a lot of time working on the satellite academy or the academy programme itself and they are busy people.

"They work with age groups from about 13 through to 17-18. Generally 17 is the cut off point."

The current first team squad at New Road includes several players who have benefited from working with Pridgeon, who finished his career with 530 first class wickets, or Manning who played for the Worcestershire Board against Worcestershire CCC in the 2003 NatWest Trophy.

Wilson said: "Pridge has looked after the likes of Ed Barnard and Joe Clarke and now Joe's younger brother, Xavi Clarke, a very exciting player who hopefully will play some representative cricket for Worcestershire this year.

"They have produced some good cricketers. Tom Fell worked with Dave Manning on the satelite academy before he came to the full academy.

"It is a productive area and, even away from the top end of the guys, the work they have done with very good cricketers who now play in the Birmingham League has been excellent.

"The pair of them put in so much time which is really appreciated. Without these guys, we would be poorer for it and we are better for having these guys on the programme.

"I'm incredibly grateful for what they do and the regular communication I get with them about how the lads they are working with are performing.

"Without their input and the satellite academies, the lads otherwise would have to make three or four trips a week down to Malvern and that is not very easy for some of these guys.

"Parents have got jobs to do, they finish at five, a session starts at six and they couldn't get to them sometimes."

Wilson has much respect for the opinions of Pridgeon and Manning when it comes to spotting budding talent.

He said: "They've both got a track record of identifying good players and they've done it well for a period of time.

"So, if Pridge comes to me, and talks to me about a player, we listen because he only speaks to us about about players he thinks have got a real chance of progressing.

"For example, he approached us at the back end of last summer about George Newton and I am really chuffed to have him on the academy this year and he has fitted in really well and by no means looks out of place as a batter and has impressed the coaches.

"We look forward to having him with us for a week during February half-term when all the academy lads are working with the pros and we look forward to having him over the summer when he has finished at Shrewsbury School to chuck him into some good cricket."

Wilson says Manning is ideal with his background for working with the County's potential stars of the future in their formative years.

He said: "Dave was a good Birmingham League cricketer, played for a number of clubs. Wolverhampton is where he currently works as club coach. He played at Old Hill, won the Birmingham League with Halesowen.

"He has done some good things in club cricket in terms of co-ordinating and bringing recreational players together and pointing them in the right direction. He also captained the Worcestershire Cricket Board side.

"We are lucky to have him around. His business background, he is a performance manager so what he does is manage groups of people to be better at what they do so that is very transferrable into managing young players to be better cricketers.

"He has got a wonderful background and adds value to the lads he works with on the programme."