Worcestershire CCC have finalised their Academy intake for 2021-2022, and the 13 strong squad includes three newcomers.
Oliver Halion, Oliver Davidson and Ben Clarke are selected for the first time and will join forces with ten players retained from the previous 12 months.
They will be put through their paces in regular sessions during the winter months at Malvern College ahead of next summer’s programme of cricket.
Josh Baker, from the 2020-2021 intake, has demonstrated what is possible with his rapid rise into the professional ranks at New Road.
He played regularly in the LV=Insurance County Championship and Royal London Cup after his senior breakthrough.
Top-order batsman Halion, a pupil at Malvern Chase School, joins the Academy after a successful second half of 2021 on recovering from an ankle injury suffered during the early part of the season.
Left-arm spinner Davidson, who attends Bromsgrove School, was a member of the Pathway when aged 11-12 and, after a spell with Warwickshire, re-joined Worcestershire and has impressed for Scotland Under-19s.
Clarke, another left-arm spinner and middle-order batsman, has been part of the Pathway for many years and is a Malvern College pupil.
Academy Coach, Elliot Wilson, confirmed: “We’ve got 13 players on the Academy for these next 12 months, including three new starters.
“Oliver Halion has been on our Pathway all the way through since joining our Under-11s as an under-nine-year-old.
“He came into this season likely to play a lot of cricket but, in one of the first games, had quite a serious ankle injury and missed the first half of the summer.
“Second half of the summer, he came into the side and was our leading run-scorer in the ECB three-day competition with back to back hundreds against Warwickshire and Leicestershire and also a hundred during that period for Barnards Green.
“The century versus Leicestershire was against the oldest and strongest attack we faced with a lot of those guys having played second-team cricket.
“In both innings, we were in a poor position, and Oliver came through in both innings and got a score for us, a hundred and an 80, both not out.
“Oliver Davidson joined us during the winter on the request of Scotland Cricket and, through his involvement with Scotland Under-19s, he had elite player status.
“He was with us as a youngster, and Scotland got in touch and said, ‘could you provide him with some cricket time’, and the opportunities were there for him.
“He has played a lot of cricket for us and Scotland A and Under-19s this summer, and he has performed.
“He has just come back from the ICCC Under-19 World Cup qualifiers and had a really good competition, and his performances for us were outstanding.
“We wanted to recognise a young lad who had performed really well, who had the ability to get better and has been a pleasure to work with over the last 12 months.
“Ben Clarke has been on our Pathway all the way through. He is at Malvern College, has benefitted from the relationship between Malvern College and the County, and he also plays for Barnards Green.
He went to the Bunbury Festival this summer with the Midlands and did nicely.
“Ben achieved quite a feat in that in six trial games for the Bunbury’s in that he batted six times and was not dismissed and got scores in every game between 20 and 60.”
WORCESTERSHIRE CCC 2021-2022 ACADEMY INTAKE