Harry Broderick has just turned 17 and, in an ideal world, would have been looking to celebrate his birthday with an eye-catching performance for the Hampshire Academy against Hook & Newnham Basics in the Southern Premier League last weekend.

But as we all know, these are not ideal times, far from it in fact, and due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic lockdown, the talented Hartley Wintney teenager hasn’t hit or bowled a cricket ball in anger since last August, ten months ago.

All-rounder Broderick is among a clutch of aspiring young cricketers in the Ageas Bowl academy who have been effectively mothballed since lockdown was imposed in late March.

But, like the rest of his Academy team-mates, Broderick hasn’t been putting his feet up during the past 14 weeks.

He explained: “Academically, I’ve just completed the first year of my NCFE Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport and Physical Activity course at the Hampshire Cricket College, which is based at the Ageas Bowl, so enables me to train and work alongside the pro’s.

“Insofar as the Academy is concerned, we have been given fitness programmes to follow to ensure we are fit and ready to return, strong and injury free, alongside psychology presentations so our mental health is looked after in this strange times.

“We’ve all been doing weights training. I’ve done a lot of cycling and running in and around Fleet in North Hampshire, where I live, and feel I’m in pretty good shape.

“Hampshire’s first team analyst Joe Maiden has put together a “race to 1000” of fielding challenges for the group which we have taken turns in making fielding challenges to try and beat our fellow team-mates at.

“This has enabled us to stay in touch with each other and have some banter at the same time, whilst also keeping the fielding skills sharp!

“Every few weeks we have had team meetings to stay updated on any changes the ECB have made and also to stay in touch with coaches and players.”

Broderick also let on that he’s been making himself useful around the house.

“My elder brother and I have been learning to cook and take it in turn to prepare dinner in the evenings, which I’m sure will come in useful later in life. I make a good spag-boll,” he laughed.

Basingstoke Gazette:

This summer was due to have been Broderick’s first as an established Academy cricketer, though he’s been making rapid progress through the county age groups.

“I first played for Hartley Wintney as a seven-year old and often played two years up. I was initially a medium-pace bowler, but in recent seasons my batting has matured to the extent that I now bat in the top six of most teams I play for,” he smiled.

A Hampshire age group regular since Under-14s, Broderick underlined his growing batting potential last summer, hitting 97 for Hartley Wintney against Langley Manor (who chased down 331-5 to win with a six off the last ball) and a maiden Premier Division fifty in the final Academy game of the season, a victory over Havant.

He also featured regularly as an all-rounder in the Hampshire Under-17 side which reached the semi-final of the ECB County Championships.

“In a normal season I would have played a lot of games by late June, but this summer is anything but normal and, in addition to the fitness training, I’ve just had to be content with net sessions with George Metzger at the nearby police college or at Basingstoke & North Hants,” he added.

“But they have been structured and enjoyable, which is the main thing.”

There will be no net practice on Harry’s 17th birthday – instead the chance to look forward to another new dimension in his life … learning to drive !

“That’s my birthday present from mum and dad. I would like to be on the road by the autumn so I can drive down from Fleet to college at the Ageas Bowl, so I’m keen to start learning as soon as I can. Hopefully, we’ll get some cricket in before then.”