Brace yourself for a promising career
Andy Stockhausen meets a successful graduate of Gloucestershire’s thriving youth academy
Bracey has good reason to be thankful for Gloucestershire’s continued policy of promoting young English-qualified cricketers. Despite the demands of studying for a sports science and management degree at Loughborough University and only being available for a small part of the county season, the 20-year-old Bristolian has made the most of the opportunities that have come his way this summer.
Handed a first-class debut against Sussex in September 2016, Bracey has since built upon that foundation, establishing himself in Gloucestershire’s top order during the final month of the current Championship campaign.
He has handsomely repaid the faith shown in him by head coach Richard Dawson, announcing himself with a half century at Leicester, following up with a maiden first-class hundred in a match against Glamorgan at Cardiff and then making another meaningful contribution at the expense of Derbyshire.
“It’s so important to be given the chance,” acknowledged the 20-year-old left hander, who learned the game at Winterbourne CC in north Bristol before joining the Gloucestershire academy as a teenager.
“It’s all about scoring runs and taking wickets. Providing you do that at Gloucestershire, you will get an opportunity. The coach is very evenhanded when it comes to selection and it doesn’t matter who you are or what your name is.
“It’s based on merit not reputation and you know that. If you score runs, you will get an opportunity at some point.
“I had a little taste of first-class cricket at the end of last season and it's been good to string a few games together this time around.
“I’ve played for a couple of months and now it’s back to Loughborough for the start of a new term.”
Recalling his recent performance in Cardiff, Bracey added: “It was good to get that maiden hundred, because you always want to establish yourself, no matter what level you are at.
“If you look to bat time, you will always score runs and that's how I like to play. There will be times when you chew up a lot of dot balls, but if you are patient and disciplined, then runs will come in the end.”
Top talent: James Bracey has been in impressive form for Gloucestershire