SOMERSET pace bowler Steve Kirby spent his Sunday with the Academy and Emerging Players at the County Ground and gave one of the youngsters a batting experience that he is unlikely to forget.
Kirby who is due to fly out to South America next week as a member of the MCC touring party, bowled a number of overs as part of his preparations for the trip to Buenos Aires, as well as talking to some of the young bowlers.
At the other end was 16-year-old Academy batsman Will Sobczak, who after a slightly tentative start enjoyed the experience of facing a front line bowler for several overs as he explained.
He said: “It meant a lot to me to have the chance to bat against Steve Kirby. I must admit that I have been asking Jason Kerr if it was possible for me to face some of the professional bowlers so I could get an idea of the standard that they bowl at.
“I wanted to be able to test myself against that sort of bowling and see what it was like. I really enjoyed it and got so much out of facing Steve Kirby and then talking to him afterwards about what he was trying to do and how he was looking to get me out.
“It was a great experience for me and I didn’t get out either which I was very pleased about. It was a confidence thing for me and even though he might not have been bowling off his full run up I still feel that I can bat against that quality of bowling.
“I must admit that I was pretty nervous at the start to see him running in and especially when he dug a bit of a short one in, I was sort of on edge when he came up with that big stare, because it does send shivers up you, but I really enjoyed it and I’d like to thank him for the opportunity!”
Talking about his ‘Academy’ day, Kirby said: “I love the culture and what is being developed at the Academy and all credit must go to Jason Kerr and Greg Kennis and what they have developed over the last seven years or so.
“There is some real talent and ability coming through and I feel it is my duty being a senior player at the club to go along and help with these youngsters, both on and off the pitch.
"If I can help out in anyway I can then that is what I want to do, and I thoroughly enjoyed being there.”
Talking about bowling at the Academy batsman Kirby said: “As a youngster you have got to put yourself up against better opposition all the time and what I really liked about Will was his willingness to get into a scrap.
“His attitude was exemplary and all credit to him for the way that he batted. I thoroughly enjoyed it as well because its part of my preparation for the forthcoming tour.
“In bowling at him you could certainly see that he wanted to be there and in that battle, which I believe is important when you are looking at character and he certainly has got that, and I think he is a decent player.”