FORMER Devon one-day skipper Rob Woodman is the new head of cricket at King’s College, Taunton.
Woodman, who was 31 in August, takes over from Phil Lewis following his promotion to director of sport.
King’s is a hotbed of cricket with a reputation for grooming players for the First Class game.
England one-day star Jos Buttler is an old boy, as are Tom Banton and Eddie Bryom, who made their Somerset debut’s last season.
Winter training is already under way at Kings and Woodman is hard at work in the indoor nets doing a job he clearly enjoys.
“I am really delighted to have been appointed cricket professional/head of cricket at King’s as it gives me the opportunity to spend more contact time with the players and improve the quality of the sessions we are delivering,” said Woodman.
“King’s cricket is in a good place and has been for some time now. I joined after Jos Buttler had left, but the school has always taken their sport seriously but always aiming to retain that fun aspect as well.
“Cricket is now becoming almost an all-year round sport, so this appointment is timely as the pupils need to maintain that contact time over the winter in preparation for the summer.”
Banton and Byrom may have moved on from the college, but there are more young cricketers eager to follow them.
“This year King’s have a strong representation on the Somerset Pathway with eight players involved in the Academy, the Emerging Player or the Potential Somerset Player Programmes,” said Woodman.
“These are very exciting times for cricket at King’s with lots of highly talented players, so I am really looking forward to getting going.”
Lewis said Woodman’s appointment would ensure continuity in what the college views as a key role
“We know just how good Rob is, so we’re over the moon with his appointment,” said Lewis.
“We know what we do works and we want that to continue into the future with Rob in charge.
“Things are moving forward here at King’s and we have the new indoor cricket centre almost finished.
“To help us cope with those demands we have got Rob coming on board full-time.
“This will enable us to give more time to the pupils and develop the cricket programme even further.”
Lewis said the college is proud of its links with Somerset through the Pathway programme.
“We pride ourselves on helping Somerset achieve their goals and have really strong links with the club, making sure that our players develop quickly so by the time they are leaving school they are already in the mix to play first-class cricket.”
It is not just Somerset who benefit from the King’s cricket culture. Torquay's Kazi Szymanski and former Exeter player Lorenzo Machado are both in Glamorgan’s academy and played in their 2nd XI last season.
North Devon's Jack Gibbs played 2nd XI cricket for Gloucestershire last season and is also on the ECB Elite Player programme.
Woodman, who was 31 in August, played for Somerset between 2005-2007 after leaving the Academy, then spent a year on the MCC Young Cricketers scheme.
He was an England under-19 international and played in the 2006 World Cup in Sri Lanka.
Woodman joined Gloucestershire after leaving the Young Cricketers programme, staying until 2010. Since then he has played WEPL cricket for Bridgwater and Taunton Deane as well as Minor Counties games for Devon. He was one-day captain in 2015 and 2016