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Warwickshire players receive army training

Warwickshire first-team coach Jim Troughton.
Warwickshire first-team coach Jim Troughton.

FIRST-team coach Jim Troughton is delighted with how Warwickshire's players and coaches "rose to the challenges" they faced at Thorney Island Barracks last week, writes Brian Halford.

The Bears' first-team squad and management spent two and a half days at the army base in Hampshire.

The trip was designed to take them out of the cricket bubble - and right out of their comfort zone - in a series of tasks set out by the army officers to stretch the Bears' powers of fitness, endurance and adaptability.

And staff at the base were impressed by how the cricketers responded, reports Troughton.

"When we asked the regiment to design the programme we asked them not to spare us - and they didn't!" he coach said. "It was mentally and physically very tough and gruelling, with one exercise that lasted 24-hours, but the guys dealt with it really well and rose to the challenges.

"They were right out of their comfort zone with tasks like orienteering in the pitch darkness and guard duty and marching but they responded brilliantly. The officers admitted that they didn't expect professional cricketers to be this fit.

"The regiment laid some really tough challenges before us in the first half of the trip but were also excellent hosts and rounded off our stay with a great event in the officers' mess. I'd like to send a big thank you for them for making us so welcome and making the trip so worthwhile."

Attention now returns fully to cricket matters as Warwickshire prepare for their pre-season friendlies, starting next week.

They have two three-day games scheduled at Edgbaston, against Somerset starting next Monday and against Durham MCCU starting on Sunday April 1. Troughton also regards the 2nd XI three-day game against Derbyshire, starting at Derby on April 9, as a valuable part of the warm-up programme ahead of the championship opener at home to Sussex starting on April 13.

"These warm-up games are really important," he said. "With so much competition for places they give the players a real chance to put their hands up and stake a claim for a place in the side against Sussex.

"We have an idea of what the team might look like for that first championship game but there are places up for grabs. Hopefully the beast from the east will have relented once and for all to allow the Somerset game to go ahead.

"The weather hasn't done Gary Barwell and his team any favours but they have done loads of great work shifting the snow so they can work on the field and if anyone can get conditions playable for next Monday, they can."

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