ALEX Mellor says his inclusion in the Unicorns squad can help fulfil his ambition of forging a professional cricket career.
The 21-year-old Leek wicketkeeper and batsman worked his way through a rigorous selection process to be named in the final pool of players for the new season.
Unicorns also run an A team, which plays in Second XI Trophy matches, leaving Mellor with ample opportunity to impress.
“I applied last year to be considered.
I sent off my CV and my previous three years’ scores, but heard nothing,” he said.
“I did the same this year and was invited to a trial day at Malvern College in January.
“There were more than 20 of us involved, and we did fitness work and played a few match scenarios.
“They also observed our performances and, thankfully, I managed to get into the squad.” Rubbing shoulders with the professionals won’t be a new experience for Mellor, who is currently in his final year studying sports development and coaching at Staffordshire University.
He played one and three-day matches for Somerset and Northamptonshire’s second strings last season, and is due to have a trial at Leicestershire in the coming weeks.
He will link up with the Unicorns next month for net sessions, ahead of three practice matches against Oxford University, Gloucestershire and Middlesex.
“Being part of the Unicorns squad is a massive opportunity for me,” added Mellor, who lives in Leek.
“I’m hoping to get runs in the warm-up and A team matches, and hopefully get a few games in the Pro 40.
“It is all about gaining experience and hopefully it will help me become a professional cricketer.
“A lot of the squad have sampled first-class cricket and want to get back in, while Wes Durston impressed for the Unicorns a few years ago and was signed by Derbyshire.” Mellor was one of the outstanding performers as Leek won the North Staffs and South Cheshire League Premier Division title last season.
He weighed in with 769 runs and also claimed 54 victims behind the stumps to help the Moorlanders to a first top-flight championship crown since 2001.
His club skipper, Greg Willott, says Mellor will be given all the support he needs to impress on the firstclass scene.
Willott added: “It’s excellent for Alex – he’s a great kid and has bundles of ability and enthusiasm.
“We’ll give him a helping hand along the way to make sure he has the best chance of succeeding.
“It will be a fantastic experience for him to be part of the side.”