Alex Barrow, Josh Davey, James Regan and Max Waller have all signed new contracts, while Lewis Gregory has signed an extension to his existing contract.
Club Chief Executive Guy Lavender said: “We are delighted that so many talented young players have committed their futures to the club. All of them are tremendously important to our plans for next season.
“We place enormous importance on the development of young talent and it is wonderful to see all of their hard work and that of their coaches paying dividends. It bodes well for the long-term sustainment of an extremely talented and successful Somerset team.”
This is the second batch of contracts announced by the club this month. At the beginning of September Craig Meschede, Jack Leach, Tom Abell and Johann Myburgh were all rewarded with new contracts.
The players took to Twitter to tweet their delight at the prospect of an extended stay at the club.
Alex Barrow tweeted: “Very honoured to have signed a new contract at Somerset. Feel very proud to be able to wear this cap #childhooddream”
Waller, the Second XI captain, tweeted: “Very happy to be at Somerset for another year! Hopefully a lot more cricket for me personally and a trophy or two wouldn’t go a miss!”
Regan was also thrilled to sign a new contract, telling followers on Twitter: “Delighted to have signed for @SomersetCCC looking forward to pushing on and having a good year #wearesomerset”
Meanwhile Craig Kieswetter tweeted to congratulate his team mates, who he called “the future of Somerset”.
Born in Bath, Alex came through the Academy and was first awarded a contract in 2010. This season he got his chance of an extended run in the first team when Craig Kieswetter was injured. As well as proving to be a more than a useful replacement wicket-keeper, 22-year-old Alex has also scored vital runs for the first team, including his highest first-class score of 88 in this month’s championship game against Northamptonshire at Taunton.
Alex said: “I am delighted to sign a new contract with Somerset and although it has been a tough season for the club we have got exciting times ahead. I love playing for Somerset and I am very proud to do so.”
Josh was previously with Middlesex and spent the whole of last winter voluntary training at the County Ground. He was rewarded with a 2014 summer contract at the beginning of this season and has produced some good performances with both bat and ball for Somerset Seconds, hitting six half-centuries in seven Second XI championship games, including a highest score of 97. He also claimed 15 wickets at 17.93 in the championship for the Seconds with a best bowling performance of 5-42. Josh starred for Scotland during their recent three-match One Day International series against Ireland in Dublin.
Josh, who is, 23, said: “I am delighted to be staying with Somerset next season because it is something that I have worked very hard to achieve. It has been a difficult year for me so it’s nice to see things falling back into place for me. Somerset is a great cricket club and I have settled in very nicely here and I am very happy to be a part of it.”
James Regan’s new contract is just reward for a prolific 2014 with the bat.
Previously on a summer contract, James has enjoyed an excellent season with both the bat and behind the stumps for the Seconds and his league club Taunton St Andrews.
James, who like Alex Barrow, came through the Academy, said: “I am absolutely delighted to get my first full professional contract with Somerset. It’s another stepping stone in my development and I am looking forward to being here throughout the winter and a successful season next year.
“I have scored runs and kept wicket consistently this season with the Seconds so just need to work a little bit harder and hopefully push to get a first team place.”
James didn’t feature for the first XI this season, but showed just how far he has developed in the nine Second XI championship matches he played. His increasing maturity was very much in evidence in July during the Seconds’ two away trips to Essex and Northamptonshire respectively. On the third day of both games James spent four and a half hours at the crease, compiling unbeaten hundreds, but more importantly batting out most of the final day to ensure a draw and safety for his side.
|You can read how we reported those two centuries here: https://www.thein-cider.co.uk/another-unbeaten-century-for-regan-secures-a-draw-for-somerset-2nd-xi/|
In all James scored 481 Second XI championship runs and finished with an average of 40.08, also picking up 19 catches and making two stumpings.
With Craig Kieswetter’s injury there were many pushing for the 20-year-old Regan to get the nod over Alex Barrow for a place in the first-team or even alongside him as a specialist batsman.
James was also instrumental in Taunton St Andrew’s successful battle against relegation from the top flight of the West of England Premier League. James finished leading run scorer in Premier One, a fantastic achievement. In all forms of cricket for St Andrews he scored 915 runs this year at a hugely impressive average of 53.82 with three tons and six half-centuries.
James made his only first-class appearance – to date – for Somerset against Cardiff MCCU in 2012, but hasn’t yet been able to break back into the first XI with Kieswetter, Jos Buttler and now Barrow ahead of him. If he keeps up this impressive run of form with the bat, he may pushing for a place in the first XI as a batsman alone next season.
Leg spinner Waller who is 26 years old first played for Somerset’s first team in 2009 and this season he once again excelled in the T20 format in 2014.
He said: “I am very pleased to have signed a contract for another year and hopefully it will mean more cricket for me next season.”
Max’s first-team appearances this year have been limited to the T20 format where he has been a regular for the past few seasons. He has picked up key wickets at crucial moments, earning praise from some of the greats of the game, including Ian Chappell on commentary during the 2012 Champions League. Whippet like in the field, Max can be relied upon to save his team plenty of runs, which can be crucial in tight contests, as well as taking some spectacular catches.
This summer Max played in 12 of Somerset’s T20 fixtures, getting through 39 overs and taking 10 wickets at exactly 28 with a best bowling performance of 3-22 to help Somerset’s to an 18-run win in their opening fixture against Gloucestershire at Bristol.
Since his first-class debut in 2009, Max has found it harder to break into the championship side, with Somerset preferring George Dockrell and Murali Kartik – and more recently Jack Leach – ahead of him.
He has however been an ever present feature in the T20 team and until this year in the one-day side as well.
An ever popular member of the squad, Max has featured extensively for the Second XI this year, opening the batting and captaining the side, with a responsibility to help the younger players coming through.
He scored two half centuries in this season’s Second XI Championship and a further one in the Second XI one-day trophy where he also took eight wickets at just 14.62 with a best of 3-22. We look forward to seeing Max back in Somerset colours again next year and to continuing to enjoy his ongoing use of multi-hashtags in all his tweets!
Devon-born Lewis, who is another player who came through the Academy, is 22 years old and was under contract with Somerset until the end of 2015 which has now been extended to the end of 2016.
He has had an excellent season, making the shortlist for the LVCC Breakthrough Player of the year award. He has so far taken 43 wickets in the championship this year, despite missing several weeks through a hamstring injury.
Lewis said: “For me 2014 has been a really good year and a breakthrough season in terms of showing what I am capable of and allowing people to see what I can do on a cricket pitch.
“It’s a huge honour to be offered a year extension to my contract and to know that I will be with the club for at least another two years with hopefully a lot more success just around the corner.”