It has been another fruitful year for the Club’s Second XI, and we caught up with Second XI coach Steve Watkin, to find out the secret to their success.
It was a successful season for the Second XI, how proud were you of their achievements?
It was another good year regarding team achievements. We finished 7th in the 18-team Championship table winning 5 and losing 4. In the T20 we played outstanding cricket throughout the competition to reach the final at Wormsley, narrowly losing to a Derbyshire team who had Luis De Ploy in their ranks. So yes, I think we can all be pleased and proud of the overall results. The main role of the second team however is to develop and produce players for first team cricket and we were happy to see Zain ul Hassan, Ben Kellaway, and Ben Morris all making their debuts in 2023.
The Second XI has been very impressive and successful for several years now, what do you put that down to?
The second team has been consistent the last few years, no doubt about it. We have won the T20 competition twice in 2019 and 2022, and were finalists in 2023. In addition, we have consistently finished high in the Second XI Championship with a best finish of second in 2022, when weather probably cost us the title on the last day of the season. There's no secret to that success but our philosophy is to do the basics as well as possible. We, of course, are always looking to expand a player's repertoire of shots (in the case of a batter) and deliveries (in the case of a bowler) but doing the fundamentals well remains at the top of our priority list. I think one of our main strengths is how we integrate players into the second team - we sometimes use as many as 40 players from various sources and the one thing players tell us is how welcome they feel – this is testament to the core of players who play regularly.
Asa Tribe won player of the year, how exciting a talent is he?
We have been keeping an eye on Asa since Mike Clayden, who runs UCCE Cardiff, told us about him. In his first couple of T20 games, he didn't do particularly well but this can happen in the shorter format. Once he got the opportunity in the longer format he grabbed it with both hands scoring 150 against Northamptonshire at Milton Keynes, he followed this up with another hundred against Gloucestershire. Apart from the obvious ability to score big, it was how easy and simple Asa made batting look that impressed, he showed the ability to play the ball on merit, make good decisions, and be very calm at the wicket. His hard work has paid off as he has been awarded a Rookie contract with Glamorgan.
We have seen lots of Welsh Youngsters get game time this season, how important is it to make sure that the talent we have is getting those opportunities?
Developing from our Pathway is very important to us and all our Academy have played in the second team, it is a very important part of their progression and is instrumental in creating a plan for them to improve. In an ideal world, it would be great to produce all the cricketers we need from within but realistically we are also aware that we need to keep searching every possible place to unearth talent, Asa Tribe is a good example of this.
Who are the ones to look out for going forward?
Apart from the players already mentioned in the article players to look out for are Asim Hameed- a fast bowler from Aberdare, Jack Hope Bell - a talented batter who plays for Newport, Henry Hurle – a wicket-keeper batter from Cardiff, Tom Norton – an all-rounder from Abergavenny. Henry has played for England under 19s and will hopefully be involved in the upcoming World Cup this winter!