George Bartlett hopes for successful Royal London Cup after frustrating season
George Bartlett is hoping a successful Royal London Cup will provide the salvation of a frustrating season.
The 24-year-old Somerset player is out of contract at the end of the summer and, while expected to sign a new deal soon, is on a mission to make up for lost time.
Hopes of a regular place in the LV= Insurance County Championship and Vitality Blast teams were wrecked by an early-season shoulder problem.
Bartlett had been pencilled in to play in the opening red-ball fixture against Hampshire last April, but had to surrender his place when injured in practice on the eve of the match.
He was out for several weeks and by the time he returned others had risen above him in the batting pecking order.
A timely reminder of the former England Under-19 batsman’s talent came in only his second championship appearance of the season against Yorkshire at Taunton last month when he made 46 in the first innings and 88 not out in the second.
But, with Tom Kohler-Cadmore having already been signed to boost Somerset’s batting line-up for next season, Bartlett is under no illusions about how much a good Royal London campaign could mean to his career.
He said: “I’m really looking forward to the competition. We will have a strong squad, with a good mix of experienced players and talented youngsters, so we should be really competitive.
“It’s a very big time in the season for me. There are times as a professional sportsman when you come under pressure and have to react.
“The championship game against Yorkshire was a boost. It was important I backed up my first innings score with another major contribution in the second innings and I managed to do that.
“But the Royal London Cup is still going to be huge for me. The shoulder injury set me back and I had to be very patient in awaiting a chance to get back into the team.
“It came against Lancashire in the championship a few games ago. Now I have a couple of scores under my belt and feel ready to push on.”
A graduate of Somerset’s Academy, Surrey-born Bartlett already has five first-class hundreds to his name, the first having come against Lancashire at Old Trafford back in 2018.
The following summer brought scores of 133 against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge and 137, his career-best, against Surrey at Guildford.
An unbeaten 100 against Gloucestershire at Taunton in the 2020 Bob Willis Trophy and another score of exactly 100 in a championship home game with Hampshire last year provided further evidence of his potential.
Last year’s Royal London Cup, meanwhile, brought a century against Leicestershire at Taunton. What Bartlett would give for another three-figure score in this season’s 50-over competition, which begins for Somerset with a home game against Nottinghamshire Outlaws on Thursday (August 4).
With head coach Jason Kerr working with Welsh Fire in The Hundred, Somerset’s Royal London campaign will again see Paul Tweddle at the helm and Ben Green as captain.
Tom Abell, Lewis Gregory, Craig Overton, Roelof van der Merwe, Tom Banton, Tom Lammonby, Jack Leach, Marchant de Lange and Rilee Roussow have all been signed by teams in The Hundred.
But Somerset will still be able to call on a wealth of experience in the likes of Matt Renshaw, James Hildreth, Peter Siddle, Steve Davies, Jack Brooks and Max Waller.
Recent signing Andrew Umeed is expected to open the batting and the squad will also feature Lewis Goldsworthy along with talented youngsters James Rew, Kasey Aldridge, Sonny Baker and George Thomas.