Swardeston’s Matthew Taylor snapped up by Northamptonshire County Cricket Club Academy

Teenage leg-spinner Matthew Taylor has become the latest Norfolk youngster to be offered a place at a first class county academy.

The 15-year-old Wymondham College student, who plays for Swardeston, has been accepted into Northamptonshire's youth set-up after impressing at their centre of excellence sessions.

'He's absolutely delighted,' said his father, Neil, who is also the Norfolk Youth Cricket chairman. 'There are three other Norfolk boys at Northants – Olly Stone, Ryan Findlay and Rob Newton – and he's looking forward to following in their footsteps.'

Taylor has been working closely with Norfolk player/coach Chris Brown on the Emerging Players programme and Brown said: 'He's been on the programme for the past three years and this winter in particular he has shown massive improvement, not only with his leg spin but his batting and fielding as well.

'For someone of his age he bowls with quite a natural pace on the ball – a lot of young spinners tend to give the ball quite a loop, but Matthew bowls with a good weight on the ball and he has always done that, so he's quite unorthodox in that respect.

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'If he keeps progressing like he is at the moment, he's got a very bright future.'

Taylor, along with Swardeston clubmate Callum Taylor, has also been selected to play for the London & east region Under-15 side. From the original squad, both Taylors – they are not related – have made it through to the final 24, from which a squad of 16 will be selected to play at the Bunbury U15s Cricket Festival against other regions. The Bunbury event is used to select players for the ECB's national development programme.

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Newton, also a Swardeston player, and Stone, of Vauxhall Mallards, have both played for the Northants first team, while other players with Norfolk connections are making an impression at Essex.

Horsford's Jaik Mickleburgh and Tymal Mills, from Brandon, have both broken into the Essex first team, while Great Witchingham's Sam Arthurton has impressed for the second team after coming through the Essex Academy. Fakenham's Will Dunger is currently on the Essex Academy books.

Kieron Tuck, cricket development manager for the Norfolk Cricket Board, said: 'All connected with Norfolk Youth Cricket are delighted with the progress being made by several of our young players, such as Matthew Taylor, as they become involved with first class counties like Northamptonshire and Essex.

'Those connected with the NCB's youth programmes have been careful to cultivate excellent relationships with these counties in recent years as they are the necessary end product to our player pathway within the county.

'The pathway is such that talented players in Norfolk know definitively that they have the opportunity to progress and develop right through our set up from club to county age groups to minor county and first class county academy level.'

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