Academy Director John Stanworth looks back over the first ten years of the Lancashire Academy
The first Lancashire Academy intake (above)
Back: Stephen Titchard (Academy Coach), Nick Woods, Tom Smith, John Daniels, Warren Goodwin, Andrew Miller, John Stanworth (Academy Director).
Front: Steven Croft, Chris Ashling, Jack Kelliher, Steven Mullaney, John Simpson, Karl Brown.
Do you remember what you were doing a decade ago?
There will be things you do recall doing, possibly at work, with friends or as a family. Then when someone mentions an event that you remember it can often feel like a lifetime ago or strangely with another event it feels more recent.
These following three events involving sportsmen took place 10 years ago. They are picked randomly from the internet and when you read them see if they might trigger some thoughts.
Hanse Cronje died in an air crash, Lennox Lewis defeated Mike Tyson in eight rounds to retain his Heavyweight Boxing Crown; Manchester United signed Rio Ferdinand from Leeds for £29.1 million.
At Lancashire, the winter of 2002 saw the launching of our Academy and the emergence of young players such as Steven Croft, Tom Smith, Karl Brown, Steven Mullaney (now Nottinghamshire) and John Simpson (now Middlesex). The twelve players that we selected then were a strong, talented group of cricketers and were announced to an invited audience at Old Trafford like personalities on a TV show. If they felt like they had stepped up into a different environment, well they had. Were they in the spotlight? Definitely. Was there pressure to deliver? There always is - even if we now don't induct our Academy players with the same pomp and ceremony.
As I get older and time appears to pass with increasing pace, I do find myself saying, (about cricketers in particular) 'that it only seems five minutes ago since'…………….
And I do recall with real clarity how those young players with us in the first couple of years of the Academy developed from adolescents into adult professional sportsmen.
Of the original twelve players selected, we added three the following year and from this number ten have since made it to the professional ranks. The other players are Jonathan Clare (Derbyshire), Stephen Parry, Chris Ashling (Glamorgan), Vishal Tripathi (Northamptonshire) and Andrew Miller (Warwickshire).
Of the five that didn't progress to professional status, Warren Goodwin was with us as a Scholarship player, Daniel Berry represents Cheshire in the Minor Counties and Nick Woods played first-class cricket for Oxford University.
Thinking back I doubt any of us involved expected this sort of progression; it was difficult to assess and compare straightaway.
What has been evident is that subsequent cohorts of Academy squads have not had the same depth of quality. However Simon Kerrigan, Jordan Clark and Luke Procter have been the stand out players of more recent times, and at the end of last year the Club signed four players from the Academy Programme: Alex Davies, Gavin Griffiths, Luis Reece and Arron Lilley.
The current crop of players that have been selected with us emerged last year with some excellent performances. Although some of these lads are only 15/16 years old, their potential is exciting. This has been further recognised with four of our current Academy – Harry Dearden, Haseeb Hameed, Rob Jones and Saqib Mahmood - being invited to be part of the England Development Programme, which is our largest number since 2002.
Our task is now to make sure this group progress to the next levels in much the same way as their peers started to do a decade earlier.
Photo (c) John Dawson
LCCC Academy players in county cricket (year joined Academy)
2003: Chris Ashling (Glamorgan), Karl Brown, Steven Croft, Andrew Miller (Warwicks), Steven Mullaney (now Notts), John Simpson (Middlesex), Tom Smith.
2004: Jon Clare (Derbyshire), Stephen Parry, Vishal Tripathi (Northants).
2005: Steven Cheetham.
2007: Ian Cockbain (Gloucs), Luke Procter.
2008: Jordan Clark, Simon Kerrigan, Luis Reece
2011: Tom Bailey, Alex Davies, Arron Lilley.