As the country celebrates world cup victory, we are also rejoicing after one of our Old Bedfordians secures a first professional contract with a neighbouring county cricket club.
Emilio Gay, 19, who joined the school in 2012 on a sports scholarship, only completed his studies at Bedford School in July 2018, but has already been snatched up by Northamptonshire County Cricket Club.
Emilio’s cricket achievement follows in the footsteps of former England captain, Sir Alastair Cook CBE who was a boarder at the school from 1998 until 2003.
Alongside his time at school, Emilio worked his way up the ranks at Northamptonshire, starting within their Centre of Excellence, Emerging Player and Academy programme (EEP) and then making his way into the club’s Second XI. So far this season, the all-rounder has scored 457 runs in four championship matches, with an average of 76.16, including a match-winning knock of 186 not out against Warwickshire.
Emilio told us, “I’m delighted to have been able to turn professional so soon after finishing my studies. Cricket is a big part of my life and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to turn it into my career. I feel at home at Northamptonshire and couldn’t have imagined starting my professional career anywhere else.”
“Getting to this point has taken many years of continuous training. The trigger for me was not being picked to take part in the Bunbury festival at the age of 15. This really spurred me on to rigorously train and spend as much time as I can at the nets and work on my technique. My parents have been a vital part of my journey and I could never underestimate what they have done.”
Northamptonshire’s Second XI is currently in the Second Eleven Championship North Division.
On his time at Bedford School, Emilio said, “I’m very thankful to the school for their support. Their sporting staff are outstanding, and I truly enjoyed my time at the school. Especially because I was able to find a good balance between focussing on cricket and my academic studies.”
While at school, Emilio was coached by former professional Northamptonshire County Cricketer and the school’s First XI head cricket coach, Mr Tom Brett.
Mr Brett said, “I am absolutely delighted for Emilio. I had the pleasure of coaching him when he joined the under 15s team and continued to work with him through to the First XI.”
“Nobody works harder. If he has practice scheduled and it’s supposed to rain, he’ll set his alarm at 5.00 am and plan another training session in beforehand. He has a winning mentality and an inner drive that will hold him in good stead.”
“His self-belief makes him stand out. He’s not afraid of taking on the pressure at pivotal moments in the game and actively wants to get involved when it comes down to the wire.”
“I have no doubt that he’s certainly got what it takes to make it as a professional.”
Mr Brett has recently had his own sporting success against Hertfordshire as Bedfordshire County Cricket Club’s slow left-arm spinner during their latest three-day fixture. Mr Brett, 29, bowled a total of 47.5 overs taking 12 wickets for 108 runs including 10 maidens, over two innings.
On his most recent cricketing success, Mr Brett said: “This was a momentous day for the club and marks the first home win in nine years. The conditions were perfect for our bowling attack. This is the start we have worked for. We have a really good team and the change in culture this year is already paying off. We’re definitely hopeful for the season ahead.”
Sports scholarships are offered to students who demonstrate the ability to succeed at the highest level in cricket, rowing, rugby and hockey.
James Hodgson, Head Master at Bedford School, said: “We’re very proud of our sporting prowess and do our upmost to nurture and develop the sporting and academic talent of our boys. Emilio’s success is testament to his hard work and determination, and we are absolutely thrilled for him. We will continue to be watching his journey as he turns professional and wish him all the very best in his cricketing career.”
Boys wishing to be considered for a scholarship starting in September 2020 must submit a completed application form to the admissions office together with any supporting references, no later than 1 December 2019. For more information visit our scholarships area of the website.