Nottinghamshire’s Academy Player of the Season Sam King is grateful for the unlikely opportunity to showcase his skills this season.
King hit 348 runs and took 15 wickets for the Notts Under 18 side, peppering his campaign with a number of match-winning performances.
After the uncertainty of March’s suspension of sport, the 17-year-old has relished his chance to shine.
“Having grown up locally to the club, I was really looking forward to having the opportunity to prove myself for the under 18s,” he said.
“When the first lockdown was announced I was really upset, but the opportunities that Matt Wood (Elite Pathway Manager) has been able to provide for the under 18s this year have been incredible.
“We all felt very lucky to be able to play, and have those experiences this year.
“I’m really grateful for that, and for the work the coaches at Notts and at Gedling CC have done to support me this season and over the years.”
King’s standout contribution in a season of strong performances came in Notts Under 18s’ final fixture of the season, against their counterparts from Worcestershire.
Batting at number six, his unbeaten 79 from 73 deliveries secured a one-wicket win – with King hitting a maximum to win the game.
"We all felt very lucky to be able to play, and have those experiences this year."
Throughout the season, the Nottingham High School student also displayed a nerveless temperament with the ball in the death overs – something he credits to the coaching he has received on the Nottinghamshire pathway.
“I worked a lot with Picky (Andy Pick) on my death bowling over the winter, and in most games I managed to execute my plans,” he explained.
“In the early part of this year, I was able to do a lot of my training in the tent at Lady Bay with the first team, and I think that really helped me to develop – particularly with my bowling, because the margin for error against the senior guys is so small.
“The tent was such a good environment to learn in – you can take so much on board from the pros, and see exactly what you need to do to get to that level.
“And when it comes to my batting, Woody and Tim Boon gave me a lot of support on the mental side of things, which I think showed this summer.”
King also served as skipper for a significant portion of the season – a position which allowed him to see the game from a different perspective.
“Captaining the side was a great experience,” he recalled.
“I knew most of the boys in the side quite well already, but as captain you look at the game from a different point of view.
“I found it really exciting to turn up at a game knowing I had that responsibility on my shoulders to get a result for the team.”
Restrictions permitting, King has no intention of resting on his laurels this winter.
The progression of the likes of Lyndon James, Liam Patterson-White and Joey Evison to the first team in recent years acts as a motivating factor for those in the Academy setup – but King knows there is work to do in order to reach that level.
“There are a lot of specific areas of my game – across my batting, my bowling and my fielding – that I want to work on this winter,” he said.
“The plan is simply to keep on developing this year and see where it can take me in the next 12 months.”
It’s our great pleasure to declare that membership of Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club for 2021 is well-and-truly on sale now, with top ticketing priority for our splendid international summer going to those who join our club.