CRAIG and Jamie Overton were back training at the County Ground last week after working at Loughborough with the rest of the ECB Potential Emerging Players Programme squad.
The 18-year-old twins, who signed full time contracts with Somerset after graduating from the Academy last summer, have made pretty rapid progress over the last 12 months, having played for England Under 19s and made their first team debuts for the County during the summer.
Since reporting back in November as full time professional cricketers, the Overtons have been dividing their time between the County Ground and Loughborough.
Shortly both Craig and Jamie will be exchanging the wintery conditions of the Taunton and the East Midlands for Potchefstroom when they fly out to South Africa with the rest of the PEPP squad on February 3 where they stay for the rest of the month.
Meanwhile it was very much business as usual for the twins as they were put through their paces at the County Ground.
Jamie said: “We have just come back from three days at Loughborough where we also spent three days last week so it has been a pretty tough time. We have been doing more fitness work, but since Christmas it has gone up a gear.
“This is getting us ready to go out to ‘Potch’ where we will be getting our bowling up to 100%, ready for the start of pre-season when we get back and also some more fitness work.”
Looking back over the last 12 months Jamie said: “I think that the Academy has done a lot to help us prepare for what has happened to us.
I am most of the way there now and its just fine tuning before our first full season playing first class cricket.
“This is a very exciting time and I am really looking forward to it and hope that I get to play in a few more games than I did in 2012.
"I’m hoping that having been on the bowling programme at Loughborough I will be able to be more consistent, hopefully get quicker and be stronger to be able to bowl more overs.”
Craig said: “It is been going well up at Loughborough and we have been gradually increasing the workloads on the things that we have been doing.
"It’s getting harder and harder but I’m enjoying it as much as possible and it couldn’t be better really.”
Darren Veness, the strength and conditioning coach at Somerset, is also in charge of the training programme at Loughborough, so there is not let up for the boys.
Craig went on: “Daz is a pretty hard taskmaster so there is not let up. But it has always been the same for us and we have been working with him since we started on the Academy.
“We have mainly been concentrating on our fitness at Loughborough but when we get to South Africa next month there will be much more bowling and I will be working on developing my weaker areas when we are in Potch. Then when we come back here we will be ready to go for pre-season.”
“It has all really happened very quickly and I haven’t really had time to think about it. At the start of last summer I didn’t think I'd play any games, then all of a sudden Somerset had some injuries and I was playing in the first team and then there was the World Cup, so its just been a crazy year really.”
“Now I’m looking forward to the coming season and taking some wickets and scoring a few runs for Somerset as well.”
Veness will also accompany the six strong PEPP squad on their trip to South Africa along with Rob Leather, the physio and bowling coach Neil Killeen.
He said “We fly out on February 3 and return on the 28th. The boys will spend the first week acclimatizing and addressing certain aspects of the programme as well as working on some of the cricketing skills.
“The second week we increase the intensity of the workload and later in the tour they will play several one day games against the EDP Under 17s who are also out in Potchefstroom, and whose bowling coach is Richard Johnson.”