Worcestershire Seconds will be seeking to build on last summer’s achievements during the 2018 season – but always with the number one priority of trying to ensure players are ready for first team cricket if called upon.
The County finished third in the Second Eleven Championship and came within a whisker of qualifying for the semi-finals in the 50 over competition as well as improving their record in T20.
A new coach will be at the helm and will have the opportunity to work with up and coming talent.
New Head Coach Kevin Sharp, who was in charge of the Seconds last season, was full of praise for the efforts of the players.
He said: “The white ball stuff definitely improved and developed. We were unfortunate not to reach the semi-final of the 50 over competition after some excellent performances.
“The T20 was not as good yet we still managed to win some games which we didn’t really do the previous season.
“You saw some of the younger lads who have played for a year or two developing in that and learning the skills required to play in that format of the game.
“There definitely was some development,
“In red ball cricket, certainly the Second Eleven Championship, finishing third, was a good performance and there were good performances in that all-round from a number of players.
“We were not as strong in the friendly games. We didn’t do as well in those. I don’t think there was any particularl reason for that. It was just the way it worked out really.
“You don’t approach these games any differently to a Championship match. They are all competitive games.”
Worcestershire may have come even closer to Championship title glory but for a complete wash-out against Durham at Burnopfield – something champions Yorkshire and runners-up Warwickshire did not encounter all season.
But Sharp said: “You can’t control those sort of things. It is cricket isn’t it. It is determined a lot of the time by the weather and not just performances.
“You don’t worry about that. You just play and do your very best and as long as we see improvement and development from the group.
“The key thing in second eleven cricket is to prepare guys to play first team cricket and have guys who are ready to play first team cricket. That is the key.”
Sharp was always willing to gamble on winning or losing in red ball cricket by trying to set up a competitive game on the final day.
He said: “The performances are very important but it is also important to make sure you play competitively in second team cricket.
“Sometimes in three day games, you might set things up if it is not taking its natural cause and you have to be prepared to lose to win.
“That in turn prepares guys for playing competitively at this level.
“It is our philosophy of playing it. Some clubs tend to look at three day cricket slightly differently. Some tend to play it with a little bit more of a four-day mentality.
“We tend to do that for the first two days and then have a look where the game sits.
“What we don’t want is to have dead cricket for the last two or three hours where there is not to play for apart from an early declaration and an early finish.
“We would always try and get the game into a position where we could play a real competitive three or four hours cricket on the last day if at all possible.”