A promising young cricketer from Sutton has bowled over selectors to be chosen for a summer international squad – and has even had one-to-one coaching from a World Cup-winning local hero too.
Plantsbrook School pupil Felix Williams-Haines (16) has played for Sutton Coldfield Cricket Club since he was seven years old and was first spotted by Warwickshire at the age of 12.
The bowler is one of a handful of young stars to be nominated by Warwickshire for the Emerging Players Programme (EPP), a high-performance development scheme designed to be a stepping stone between county age group teams and First Class County Cricket Academies.
He said: “With international cricket, for the under 18s there is the EPP set up, where Warwickshire will put forward six or seven kids per age group that they think could play international cricket and then they get extra sessions every week, training with big coaches like Ian Bell.
“I recently made the finalised squad for the summer for the EPP, which was fantastic.
“I’m just addicted to cricket to be honest, and it’s my ambition to become a professional player.”
And Felix has even had special help from a local cricketing hero.
“I love Chris Woakes, who played at Walmley Cricket Club when he was a kid and went on to be part of England’s World Cup winning team in 2019,” he said.
“I was lucky enough to have a couple of one-to-one training sessions with him in the winter, before he went to play in the Indian Premiere League. It was brilliant – he helped me work on my bowling and batting.
“His knowledge of the game is so incredible, and it was a great experience.”
Felix said that his dedication to the sport meant lots of travelling, with mum Julie and dad Rob attending all of his matches.
“As a family, we try to make the most of the Christmas holidays and the October half term, because cricket is a summer sport and it’s hard for us to get away in the summer,” he said.
Plantsbrook headteacher Jason Farr said: “Felix is a very bright young man who has been given a huge opportunity, and he has always shown real determination and maturity in how he balances cricket and his education.
“He’s a lovely lad, who is quite modest and humble about his achievements but he’s very motivated to do the best that he can.
“Everyone knows he’s obsessed with his cricket, but it’s never at the expense of his studies – which is why we’re always happy to help when he needs time off to play.” Kidz in Focus
“I’m just addicted to cricket to be honest, and it’s my ambition to become a professional player,”
– Felix Williams-Haine