Last month, the Under 13 Boys and Under 13 Girls squads of Devon, Somerset and Cornwall joined forces at Blundell's School for the first-ever South West Development Camps.

The rationale for the South West Development Camps is simple: to provide a substantial player development opportunity where players' learning and being challenged is paramount.

During the camps the players were challenged, with the emphasis being on skill development and decision-making; with all three counties having the opportunity to shape the camps.

The pathway leads of each county gave their verdict on the camps:

Sandy Allen, Pathway Manager at Devon Cricket

"We have long held strong working relationships with Somerset and Cornwall, and it has been great to see all of these years of collaboration come together to create this unique development camp experience for players across the South West.

"The first year of the camps has been really successful and we are looking forward to continuing them in the years to come."

Andrew Griffiths, Pathway Coaching Lead at Somerset CCC

"We couldn’t be happier with how the first South West Development Camp went and it was incredibly exciting to be involved in the delivery of something not seen before anywhere in the country. 

"The collaborative approach from a coaching and playing perspective was something we have never done before and we saw huge benefit in generating an aligned understanding of our content across the camp.

"Not only did this facilitate more intentional development opportunities for players and coaches alike but, from a Somerset perspective, it was fantastic to increase our awareness of the young cricketers across the region who may go on to receive more support within our environment in the future."

"Many of the coaches delivering the Camp have been involved in the South West Coaching Programme over the past eight months, a coach development programme we have delivered to numerous pathway coaches across the three counties. This Development Camp therefore served as a fantastic opportunity to bring to life many areas covered on the course and support each other as coaches with their delivery. 

"Besides dryer weather, we couldn’t have wished for much more from the first year and I can’t wait to see where we can take it in the future."

Chris Hunkin, Performance Manager at Cornwall Cricket

"The development camp at Blundell's has been one of the most exciting concepts within pathway cricket I have seen, the development opportunities it creates for players and coaches alike are extensive. 

"The collaborative nature of it extends the benefits beyond just extra playing and training time into a wide-ranging experience that creates huge growth potential in the players and coaches involved."

Dean Headley, Director of Cricket at Blundell's School

"Congratulations to Somerset, Devon and Cornwall's cricket pathways. Blundell's School was delighted to host the first Under 13 South West Development Camps, an innovative and collaborative initiative for county pathway cricket.

"The three-day, two-night camp brought together Somerset, Devon and Cornwall for both girls and boys with a focus on more than just the matches played. Talks about captaincy, field setting plus Q&As with professionals, specialist experts in their field and team dynamics made this event such a learning environment.

"48 players at each camp also experimented in mixing up all players away from their county badge. This tested their characters to show adaptability and how to build relationships in new teams, certainly a skill they will need if they do go on to the modern day professional game.

Lets not leave out the collaboration experience for the coaches, three days sharing ideas, challenging themselves and others, focusing on pure cricket at its core and the chance to hear a different approach. This for me was inspiring to see, watching the whole concept convert to reality was fantastic.

"I haven't heard of this happening elsewhere and much more effective than just playing competitive matches. Why do one thing when you can have it all?"

We would like to extend our gratitude to Blundell's School for lending us their outstanding facilities and we would like to pass on our sincere thank you, particularly to the Grounds Staff and all those involved from the school who helped make the camps a success.