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Kent Cricket and England under-19s wicketkeeper Ryan Davies signs three-year deal at Somerset

By Alex Hoad

Kent prospect Ryan Davies claims it would have been ‘silly’ for him to turn down the opportunity of a long-term contract to play first-team cricket at Somerset.

The 18-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman has agreed a three-year deal at Taunton after being promised a first-team role at the Division 1 side, an opportunity which Davies claimed was ‘too good to turn down.’

He said: “I was always happy at Kent, I was not looking to leave, it’s just that the opportunity given to me was hard to say no to."

Ryan Davies made a pair on his Kent debut in June. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Ryan Davies made a pair on his Kent debut in June. Picture: Barry Goodwin

He added: “I never really wanted to deal with all the off-field stuff so I got an agent this summer and he sorted everything out. I was more shocked that Somerset wanted me.”

The England under-19 ace - who studied at Sandwich Technology School and Canterbury Academy and has played for Kent since under-13 level - only made his first-team debut at Kent in June after Sam Billings’ call-up to the England set-up.

Davies admitted: “I do owe Kent a lot - the club has given me the opportunity to get where I am, but cricket can be a very short career and you have to look after yourself.

“I want to do what Sam has done and my ultimate goal is to get into the England Performance Programme and work my way up to that level.

"I have been given a great opportunity which would help me on the road to that and it would be almost silly to say no.”

He revealed: “I went into this year with fairly low expectations, I wanted to do as well as I could in the 2nds and see where it took me. Obviously with Sam doing so well and being called away with England it helped me massively and gave me the opportunity to play in the first-team.

“Now I’ve had a taste of it I want more. It’s given me the drive to go on.”

Davies made only 35 runs in six innings in the Championship, though he did take nine catches, and scored six runs in his only T20 innings, with four catches and a stumping in his three appearances combined.

Davies added: “I had my time in the first team, I didn’t score as many runs as I would like, but I would like to come back to Kent at some point and show everyone what I am capable of.”

Davies said this move was only the ‘current chapter’ of his career and did not rule out a return to the Spitfire Ground in future.

He said: “I have spoken to everyone at Kent and they all agree it is a good decision for me. Kent wanted to keep me - I’d have been disappointed if they hadn’t - but I’m hopefully leaving on good terms and who knows what the future holds.”

Davies also revealed he would stay loyal to Kent League side Sandwich Town, adding: “I’m not going to sign for a club down there, ideally I’ll try and get back up here whenever I have a free Saturday.”

Somerset Director of Cricket Matt Maynard - who also announced the signing of Australian Chris Rogers for 2016 on Wednesday morning - said: "These are great signings for the Club. Ryan is a great young talent. He has already represented England at age group level and I am excited about how we can help him develop in to the cricketer that we all think he can become.”

Kent's chairman of cricket Graham Johnson said: “We wish Ryan well with the next chapter as a professional cricketer. Ideally we would have liked to see him stay at Kent for longer, but understand the challenge he faces as a wicketkeeper to secure first team action.

“All at Kent Cricket continue to be extremely proud of our record of producing players from our Academy who go on to play first class cricket, Ryan is another example of that and we will follow his career with interest.”

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