The first team weren’t the only ones to venture away from The County Ground for preseason training this year. Players from our Emerging Player Programme and Youth Academy squads enjoyed preseason tours off-site too.

Travelling to Framlingham College for a week long camp, EPP Head Coach Luke Swann was pleased to be able to take the squad away for the first time in a number of years.

“It’s a great opportunity to take the group away to add something different to our winter program as a means to combine cricket specific training and a great opportunity for team building.” he said.

Supported through the week by cricket coach Charles Harrison, the EPP camp made use of all the facilities on offer for a mixture of skillset practice, strength & conditioning and classroom work. However it wasn’t just cricket skills where the coaches saw changes.

“You really saw them gel as a group, they became a lot more comfortable in each other’s company and communicated more openly with each other and with the coaching staff.

Because you’re in each other’s pockets for four or five days the communication naturally becomes more open and they get more comfortable with the environment and as a result of that they become more open to asking more questions.” Swann said.

The Academy boys went slightly further afield, with 9 players heading to South Africa, the first ever overseas trip for the program. Academy Director Kevin Innes said taking the squad away gave them a better opportunity practice a wide range of skills and come together as a unit.

“We stayed in a house that accommodated all of us so it was really easy to talk to the players in a nice, relaxed atmosphere. Each player got to know each other, the coaches got to know the players.

Being outside we can get more fielding practice done, we can practice and bowl on grass surfaces and play against different opposition. We can test our skills out more, all the stuff we’ve been training for in the winter we can test and see if they’re working with a bit of time left to refine that.” he said.

Academy left arm spinner Conner Haddow also saw the difference an overseas tour can make for a squad.

“There were huge changes from the beginning of the tour to the end, I think all the players including the youngsters came out of their shell on and off the pitch. They’re all great lads so being around them 24/7 was great. But we can’t forget our coaches, we’re lucky as players to have had 3 brilliant coaches with us on the trip, even though one is a strength coach and loves to see us in pain.” he said.

The club’s junior programs now begin training outdoors at The County Ground before playing a series of friendly matches throughout the summer.