Finding the best young talent - part one

For any team to be successful, it’s vital that the best young local talent is nurtured and developed.

For Western Storm, that is the responsibility of Tom Jenkinson and Ethan Harris, the team’s Regional Talent Managers.

Tom is tasked with managing the north of the region, and we caught up with him this week to discuss, amongst other things, how he’s settling into the role.

He began by explaining that he’s no stranger to the region.

“I grew up in the South West before moving away to Leeds to go to university,” he said. “When I was living up North, I coached on the Yorkshire Pathway and when I saw the role advertised, I felt that I would be well suited to it. It’s been great to be able to return to my West Country roots. It’s a sport that I love, and I’ve been playing cricket for a long time and coaching for about 12 years.”

What does the role consist of?

“I’m looking after the EPP players and coach them weekly in their hubs. I work with counties to try and identify any new talent that is coming into the system, so I’ll visit Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Wales to see the top players who could step up to the EPP or Academy. We see the counties a few times during the winter and help coach on their Pathways so that we can get involved with their best players. This enables us to make good connections with the counties, the Pathway Leads and the players. If the Pathway Leads highlight a player of interest, we can then work out a plan to ensure that we see what the player has to offer. Those connections are key.

“The goal is for us to see as many players as possible get onto the Academy and beyond. We see a lot of players across the EPP hubs, and we want to see these players progress to the next level.”

How important is it that there is connectivity between the Pathway and the professional set up?

“The connection that we have with the senior team is really important. The Pathway and the pros have a great relationship, and the young players can see how the more experienced professionals go about things, and we regularly speak with the coaches. We are certainly a Pathway that’s well connected, and the rewards are already being seen with the players that are getting recognition with the full England squad and also at Under 19 level.”

How important are good working relationships across the counties within the region?

“The partnerships are vital because of the number of girls coming into the system and developing now. We really need to be working well together to make sure that we’re seeing all the very best of the talent that’s out there.

“I’ve already seen how strong these partnerships are in the region and I’ve seen some very good players. It’s a system that’s working well, and I’m looking forward to continuing the process. Hopefully, I can bring some new ideas and processes to the role to help make sure that the region continues to thrive.”

Has Tom been impressed by the standard since taking on the role?

“The standard of players and coaches is very impressive,” he said. “The number of girls in the region means that there are a lot of opportunities for them to compete against each other and therefore improve their skills in a good environment. To have a couple of the Academy girls in the England set up just goes to show that the system is working.”