A RECORD number of Gloucestershire clubs have produced players for the county’s winter youth squads.

In total 43 affiliated clubs provided players for the performance programme – which started on January 5.

Cheltenham, Cirencester, Thornbury and Winterbourne lead the way with eight players each.

Other clubs with a large number of representatives include Downend and Frocester, who both have six players in the squads, and Bristol YMCA, Charlton Kings and Dumbleton, who all have five.

Gloucestershire Cricket Board chief executive Steve Silk said: “It is fantastic to see so many of our clubs producing elite players for our performance programme. The wide range of clubs represented shows the quality of coaching and the strength of youth systems across the county.

“I would like to congratulate those clubs with a high number of players in the winter squads. However it is also pleasing to see that as a county we have many strong clubs and are not overly-reliant on one or two for our players.”

As well as coming from every corner of the county, players also came from clubs playing at a wide range of levels.

Cheltenham and Cotswolds was the top performing district with 44 players coming from their clubs. Stroud and South Gloucestershire clubs supplied 35 players, GCB affiliated clubs in Bristol accounted for 27 players, while six came from Gloucester and the Forest of Dean.

Seven players are from clubs outside the county but are eligible through school or home location.

Silk said: “It is interesting to see the spread of players geographically and it backs up what we already thought. Cheltenham and Cotswolds and Stroud and South Glos are clearly thriving at the moment while Bristol isn’t far behind.”

The analysis of this year’s squads also found that 39 of the 119 players selected didn’t play county cricket in 2013. Of these, 13 had moved up from district squads and 26 were new to the performance programme – although more than half of these were in the under 10 squad.

Silk added: “It is good to see that the system is working well and the players we have identified as having potential are remaining in the programme from one year to the next.

“It is also pleasing that there are a number of new faces as this shows that the county squads aren’t a “closed shop” and the trial system is providing opportunities for new players to impress.”