By Jake Needham
The Derbyshire Academy had its first intake of young cricketers back in 2003, and since then players like Dan Redfern, Ross Whitleley and Paul Borrington have played a significant amount of first team cricket.
But a name that is starting to garner increased attention around the county is that of aspiring all-rounder Alex Hughes.
Alex’s brother Liam was also an academy hopeful and Derbyshire 2nd XI player a few years back, but the younger Hughes has gone onto even greater achievements with the club, having already played six limited overs matches for the first XI while still studying at Worcester University.
‘The last year has been incredible really. To have made my debut for the first team last summer, and then to have Krikk award me a summer contract, felt like a huge achievement.’ The young all-rounder said.
Hughes also feels the achievement is made extra special considering he has been involved at the County Ground throughout his junior career.
‘I remember Krikk would be taking academy sessions on a Monday evening after school, and now he’s the Head Coach at the club.
‘It makes it such a more inviting place to play your cricket when you have a coach that you know so well. Guys like Knighty, Burgy have also come through the system with me, and I think it’s great for us to see people like Ross and Redders performing so well.’
In the off season Hughes made the bold move of moving league sides to play in the Derbyshire Premier League, and he feels it has made a big difference.
‘When you play in other leagues, your scores aren’t perhaps that well known to the other players and coaches, but when we play league cricket against another member of the playing staff, it is always nice to try and get one over on them and show them what you can do.’
That is certainly what Hughes has achieved this year. So much so that his performances with bat and ball for his club side have made him currently the league’s most successful player.
Hughes does not see the season as an unequivocal success just yet though, and still has ambitions to play more regularly for Wayne Madsen’s men.
‘I would love to get a prolonged run in the first team’ Hughes said, ‘I know I can only do that by being consistent whenever I take the field in whatever format.
‘The LV=County Championship side is very settled I think, and I believe at present my game is more suited to the one day format, but I’d just love to play whenever possible.’
Hughes is a popular member of the playing staff, and has always shown intelligence and aptitude whenever called upon, and few would bet against him showcasing those talents more in the months to come.
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