Newark Academy's Toby Lambert is on the road to stardom thanks to Nottinghamshire’s Emerging Players Programme
A Newark secondary school pupil is part of an elite group of young cricketers making their first steps on a journey that could lead to them realising their sporting dreams.
Thirteen-year-old Toby Lambert, who goes to the Newark Academy, is one of just a handful of cricketers to be named on Nottinghamshire’s Emerging Players Programme (EPP).
There are currently only nine players in this elite group who the county believe could make the grade to be a professional cricketers and perhaps become the next Samit Patel, Stuart Broad or Luke Fletcher.
The youngsters have weekly sessions and play other EPP county sides from across the country.
Lambert, who was offered a spot prior to lockdown, represents the under-16 age group — playing three years above his own age.
The young wicket-keeper-batsman has already represented Notts at under-13 and under-15 level and recently scored his maiden century in the men’s game for Clifton Village Cricket Club.
“Playing for Notts is very enjoyable and they also offer lots of opportunities,” said Lambert.
“I got picked originally as just an under-13 but then in the winter, I got put onto the Emerging Players Programme.
“It’s basically players from 12 to 16 who the coaches want to push on and give more chances to play in higher age group teams.
“I have played a few games for the EPP team and a few for the under-15s/16s this season.
“A few weeks ago I was so proud to score my first century for Clifton in a men’s game.
“I was close twice before, scoring 96 and 82. When I got the 100 I was very happy as I knew that the hard work I put in had paid off.”
Mr Piper, Toby’s PE teacher, said: “Toby’s attitudes towards PE and school sport are exemplary.
“Despite his clear abilities within cricket, Toby approaches all sports and activities with a drive to succeed and learn.
“Toby is focused, motivated and a team player which helps not only his own skills to develop but also the skills of those around him.
“His attitudes and efforts within PE at Newark Academy display the self-motivation he has to get himself into the elite tier of cricket and we will support him every step of the way.”