Worcestershire CCC have boosted their Academy intake by adding batsman Callum Lea and pace duo Riecko Parker-Cole and Mitchell Stanley for the remainder of the 2017-2018 programme.
The trio have been awarded Academy places in mid stream after impressing Academy Coach Elliot Wilson with their performances and work ethic during the first part of the winter.
Lea and Parker-Cole have secured places after a successful probationary period and, along with Stanley, boost the number of players on the full Academy to 11 for 2017-2018.
Wilson said: “We don’t tend to bring them in mid term but, with having only a small intake for 2017-2018 (eight), I thought these guys were worthwhile bringing onto the programme.
“We all felt that here, all the coaches. We are all excited by all three of them.
“Our profile of the squad is a bit younger this year so we had some scope at Under-17s, Under-18s – and these three guys fit the bill nicely.
“Callum and Riecko have enjoyed a successful probationary period with us and Mitchell has impressed so much since he joined us as part of our Elite Player Group that the coaching team and I primarily thought it was worthwhile him coming onto the Academy.
“It is very exciting for the three of them and we are really pleased to boost our numbers from eight to 11 of formally recognised Academy players.
“It will be exciting to see how they travel over the remainder of the winter into what is a very exciting summer for us.
“Riecko and Callum are Under-18s and in their last year at school and Mitchell is Under-17s and in his first year at college.”
Here Elliot Wilson gives a rundown on the quality of the new Academy trio.
Elliot Wilson said: “Callum has been with the club all the way through from Under-10s and has been a player of high potential over that period of time but probably has not quite scored the weight of runs his potential justified or suggested it would.
“But last season he managed to string a load of consistent performances together, not only for our Under-17s, the highlight being his 200 against Hampshire which grabbed a bit of attention, but also his performances for Himley (in the Birmingham League).
“He struggled a little bit in the full Academy stuff against, I suppose, the County Second Eleven sides and Minor Counties Second Eleven sides.
“But his Under-17s performances were prolific and he scored just about more runs than anyone in the whole competition across the whole country.
“He did very well and the challenges we set him at the end of the season, and the period to February 1, he has met with a smile on his face and real enthusiasm and we are really pleased to have brought him onto the programme.”
Elliot Wilson said: “He is a left arm pace bowler. Riecko has been with Nottinghamshire all the way through his journey and also attends Worksop College.
“But at the end of last summer he was seeking a change and we were interested in supporting him. He started to train with us from early November and we’ve been really been able to untap some really exciting stuff with Riecko.
“It was felt in mid January by all the coaching staff that this guy needed to be formally brought onto the Academy so his probation period was signed off by myself and the other coaching staff.
“He has now formally joined us from February 1 and it makes him eligible to play Academy cricket, second team cricket and, as an Under-18, we can play a couple of those guys in Under-17 cricket.
“Around his commitments to Worksop College, it will be exciting to see where his journey goes over the next nine months.
“He is in the last year of his three A levels and fingers crossed he will be able to make a decent commitment to our cricket over the summer.
“What has impressed people the most is he lives over two hours away and he gets himself up and down the motorways to train with us every Sunday and will stay with us when he can during various weeks to do extra cricket.
“He played last year for the Notts Academy in the Nottinghamshire League but he also played for Radcliffe with David Lucas, a fellow left arm seamer and ex Worcestershire player.
“David Lucas became one of his mentors, role models, and has really helped him over the last 12 months.”
Elliot Wilson said: “Mitchell Stanley is a Shropshire lad, from Shifnal Cricket Club, a fast bowler, a guy I first came across probably two years ago.
“I wasn’t initially excited by him in terms of where he might go in the future but I really enjoyed his character, his attitude, and thought ‘we will give him a little bit of support.’
“He spent most of last season injured with a stress related back injury but then he grew over a period of time and became quite an exciting, physical specimen as a right arm over fast bowler.
“He sort of fits in the mould of Dillon Pennington and Adam Finch and that group of guys. He is six feet, three inches plus, bowls at good pace and he is quite exciting.
“We brought him onto our Fast Bowling Programme for this winter and he has just impressed the hell out of everybody and we felt it was the right thing to offer him a place on the Academy.
“He was the most pleased young man ever when I told him so.”