Meet Benji (Merchants, Year 12)
We were excited to sit down and speak with current sport scholar Benji (Merchants, Year 12) about his cricket career to date, his aspirations and how Ashford School has helped with his personal development.
Tell us about your career as a cricket player. What age did you get into the sport and how did you progress?
- I started playing club cricket at the age of 9 for Hythe Cricket Club. However, I had been playing cricket in the garden with my dad and brothers from a much younger age. I played age group cricket for around 3 years at Hythe before moving to Folkestone Cricket Club, who were in a higher league. I continued to play age group cricket for the next few years alongside playing low level men’s cricket. At the age of 13 I made it into the Kent squad and had a great first season, and have continued to play for Kent ever since.
What has been your most rewarding and challenging moment so far?
- I have spent the last few years working my way up through the Folkestone men’s teams and this year was my first year playing for their First Team.
- This summer has been my most successful year playing for Kent, but unfortunately ended with a broken finger.
- Despite the success of playing for higher ranked men’s teams, I have also found this year to be my most challenging due to the significant standard increase from U15 to U18.
How has Ashford School helped with your progress and supported your development?
- Throughout the years, Ashford School has allowed me lots of time to practice my cricket and to improve, constantly providing early morning and after School sessions, in addition to our regular games lesson.
Where is the best place you have travelled to with your cricket?
- I went to La Manga in Spain on the School Sports Tour. They had amazing facilities there and it was a great experience!
Is there a particular teacher that has inspired you? And how?
- I have been Captain of my year group cricket teams throughout School and this year Mr Cook (Teacher of PE) has given me captaincy of the First Team. This new leadership role challenges me to make decisions and stay alert for the duration of the game, all while continuing to play at a high level myself. This added responsibility has allowed me to develop both as a leader and as a player.
Which sports person inspires you most and have you trained with any notable cricketers over the years?
- I have played and been coached by a few pros at Kent and have also been lucky enough to have played with former England international, James Tredwell.
- As for inspiration, Virat Kohli inspires me as he constantly performs at a level above and beyond everyone else and is 100% dedicated to do what it takes to improve.
What are your long-term sporting ambitions?
- I would like to be a professional cricketer and represent both my county and country.
Find out more about our highly sought after scholarship programme here.