Hard work pays off for cricket star, 17, after earning pro academy deal
- Credit: Archant
A young cricketer hopes earning an academy place at one of England’s professional cricket clubs can be the start of a bright and fruitful career in the sport.
George Gowler won his spot in the Northamptonshire County Cricket Club Academy having impressed in the club’s Emerging Players Programme (EPP) around two years ago.
The 17-year-old from March, who plays for Wisbech, said he always thought he would remain on the EPP, but was not expecting the chance of playing at a higher level to crop up.
“I was playing for Cambridgeshire at under 12s and we played against Northants, and a Northants coach was there,” George said.
“I got scouted from there, got invited to one of their training sessions and from there, I got invited onto the EPP.
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“Because of the shortened season, I wasn’t expecting to get on the academy this year. To get that phone call from the academy director was really good.”
George, who has two brothers that also play at Wisbech and have represented Cambridgeshire, plans to feature for the Harecroft Road club on Saturdays while playing for Northants on Sunday.
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The fast bowler will also have a chance to build on other cricketing skills such as batting and fielding, something father Ed is confident he will develop.
“When he was on the EPP, he was asked along to academy sessions and some of the squad, but you’re always on the sidelines,” he said.
“To get the contract, the kit and everything that goes with it feels more important.
“They’ll be doing a lot of work on his fielding so at least he can bowl and field at a really good standard, and then his batting, he’ll have to work on himself.”
George can be buoyed by the amount of praise he has received following the announcement, including from his club.
“I’ve worked with George since he was 11 through Cambridgeshire and Wisbech and to see his progression to now is great to see,” James Williams, Wisbech’s first-team captain, said.
“He has put in a serious amount of work to get to where he is now, and all of us at Wisbech are really proud of his achievements and can’t wait to see what he can do for us and Northants in the coming years.”
George said he is confident he can manage expectations of appearing for both club and academy at the same time.
After helping his son progress throughout his junior years, Ed believes with hard work, one of the county’s sporting stars can shape his own destiny.
“I feel like I’ve helped him get to this stage and now it’s up to him to go on from here. He’s got to knuckle down, work hard, listen to his coaches and put a lot of his own time in, which will only come if he really wants to do it,” he added.
“I’ve lived every minute with him, so it’s really nice to see the amount of work he is putting in paying off.”