Swardeston leg-spinner Matthew Taylor has earned a place on the ECB’s England Elite Player Development programme.

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The 15-year-old Wymondham College student was one of nine players selected from the 56 youngsters competing at the Bunbury Youth Cricket Festival last week.

Taylor captained the London & East side and was named best captain of the week – but he admits his selection for the national training squad came as a surprise: “It’s incredible,” he said. “To be honest I didn’t think I bowled as well as I could have done at the festival, so I was just shocked when I opened the letter.”

Taylor can now look forward to working with some of the country’s leading coaches at the National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough and a three-week trip to South Africa in February.

Earlier this year he was chosen for the Northamptonshire Academy, where he starts in September.

The teenager admits that he thoroughly enjoyed the Bunbury event, where he was joined in the London & East squad by Swardeston team-mate Callum Taylor.

“The festival was just the best time of my life,” he said.

Callum scored 126 runs in the week, highlights being 47 against South & West and 28 against the North. Matthew bowled 38 overs throughout the week, taking five wickets for 128 runs. His best performance was against the North side, when he bowled 10 overs, taking two for 19.

London & East won two of their five matches, including a nine-wicket victory in a 20-over match against the Midlands at Derbyshire’s County Ground on the Wednesday.

The duo received their festival caps from England Test player Jonny Bairstow and Matthew was presented with the Bunbury Festival Best Captain award by ECB Chairman of Selectors Geoff Miller at the festival dinner, also held at the Derbyshire County Ground.

Matthew and Callum were two of only four Minor Counties players at the festival.

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