Somerset strengthen squad with three new summer signings.

Somerset looked to strengthen their depth in bowling for 2014 by signing three 23-year-old players on summer contracts this week.

Fans may remember James Burke, Josh Davey and Callum Stewart turning out for the Second XI last season. All three made an impression, putting in good performances which have ultimately been rewarded with their contracts for 2014.

Moreover, all three seem to have impressed the club with their attitude; Nos speaking warmly of their potential.

Josh Davey is an all rounder who was released by Middlesex towards the end of the 2013 season after three years with the county. He has spent the whole winter training with the Somerset squad, without payment, determined to have another crack at first class cricket.

Somerset v Yorkshire Day 3.
Josh Davey celebrates a wicket on Wednesday Photo:AlexanderDavidson/TheInCider

He told the club website in November: “I was told in August that it was unlikely that I was going to be offered a new contract, so I felt I had to do something about it. I phoned up a number of clubs but thankfully Dave Nosworthy responded and said Somerset had some Second XI games so I came down and played in two.

“I enjoyed the atmosphere and Somerset are a successful club who have been in the running for trophies and I felt that I wanted to be a part of it here.

“There is not much opportunity out there for me as a 23 year old and this is the best offer I had. I approached Dave and he said that I could train with Somerset through the winter with no guarantees and without cash commitment from Somerset – to which I agreed and here I am.”

That dedication has clearly paid off.

Born in Scotland, before growing up in East Anglia, Josh has represented the Saltires in 11 ODI’s with a useful batting average of 25.40 and a very decent bowling average of 21.33. He has appeared in seven first class matches, scoring 307 runs at an average of 25.58 and taking seven wickets at 25.57. In his 43 List A matches, he has notched up 891 runs at an average of 24.75 and taken 39 wickets at 30.38. He has also played in one T20I for Scotland and 13 T20 matches in which he has a batting average of 14.40 and a bowling average of 26.

Josh, of course, took five wickets for Somerset against his old county Middlesex in our warm-up game at Taunton last month and fielded as 12th man on the final day of Somerset’s championship match against Yorkshire this week, picking up a catch to give a grateful James Hildreth a rare first class wicket!

James Burke is a right-handed all rounder who bowls medium pace and first played for the Somerset Second XI in 2008 and the following season was awarded a contract. However he left the club at the end of the 2011 season without making a first team appearance. After enjoying a successful return with Somerset Seconds in 2013 he played club cricket in South Africa during the winter.

James Burke bowling for the Second Xi last year. Photo: Alexander Davidson
James Burke bowling for the Second Xi last year. Photo: Alexander Davidson

Callum Stewart is a fast bowler and lower order batsman who has played for Herefordshire. Last summer the right-hander appeared in seven of Somerset’s Second XI matches, picking up 18 wickets at a very respectable average of 19.50, with a best return of 7 for 33. Callum was then called into the Somerset squad for our pre-season trip to South Africa after Nick Compton withdrew through injury.

Nos told the club website: “All three young men have potential and so we have decided to give them the opportunity to train within a world class environment under highly experienced people and coaching staff. I look forward to see how they respond and hope that they grab every opportunity.”

All of us at the InCider wish Josh, Callum and James all the very best for the season and look forward to seeing them in action at the County Ground.

With injuries to a number of bowlers already this season, many fans have expressed concerns about a lack of depth in our bowling reserves. While all three of our new signings are still young and relatively inexperienced, the lads will undoubtedly give us more options during 2014. And that has to be a good thing.