Test Match Sofa
Academy quartet win Lancashire contracts
By Graham Hardcastle
Lancashire have handed a quartet of Academy players their first professional contracts. Wicketkeeper Alex Davies, all-rounder Luis Reece, fast bowler Gavin Griffiths and off-spinner Arron Lilley have all signed terms at Old Trafford.
Davies and Griffiths have have both played for England Under-19s inside the last 18 months, with 18-year-old Davies featuring in the recent World Cup in Australia before making his LV= County Championship debut in last week’s draw against Surrey at Liverpool.
He is the club’s number two gloveman behind Gareth Cross, who returned a mixed summer of 2012. Davies, who opened for his country, could also play as a specialist batsman.
Griffiths has not yet played first team cricket. Although Lilley was named in the team for a Clydesdale Bank 40 match against Worcestershire at New Road in late August, he did not take to the field due to rain.
Reece is arguably the most high profile player to have been signed by the Red Rose county. Born in Taunton, the 22-year-old has hit the headlines this summer with his performances for Leeds-Bradford MCCU.
He hit 40 and 60 in the first-class match against Yorkshire at Headingley in April and took 3 for 25 from 12 overs with his medium pace. He then took 7 for 21 in a non first-class win over Sussex in May, and at one stage had incredible figures of five for nought from five overs as the men from Hove were bowled out for 58 in their first innings.
Reece, who played for the Unicorns in the Clydesdale Bank 40 this summer, also took three wickets in the second innings to finish with 10 in the match.
While Davies was playing in the Championship at Liverpool last week, the other three were helping Lancashire win the Second XI one-day Trophy against Durham at nearby Crosby.
Lancashire's cricket director Mike Watkinson said: “We are pleased to offer professional contracts to these lads who have come up through the player pathway at Lancashire. We have watched them grow as players over the years, with Alex and Gavin also being recognised by the England selectors at youth level.
“They have all performed well in the second team, and we are hopeful that they will be able to make the transition and play first-class cricket for Lancashire in the coming years.”
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