While the Somerset First and Second XIs have been away playing red ball cricket, Will Smeed has been back at the Cooper Associates Ground training hard ready for the start of his season, which gets underway for him this weekend when he plays for Bridgwater in West of England Premier One, writes Richard Walsh.

“My first game will be for Bridgwater this Saturday, which I’m really looking forward to now and then the Somerset games start pretty soon after that. We have got a fair few Seconds T20 games before the Blast. I will be playing in them, hopefully score some runs and get the feeling ready for the start from the competition, so it’s worked out pretty nicely for me.”

The big hitting 22 year-old also talked about how he has spent the winter.

“Pre-Christmas, I was based locally here and did a lot of training and then went away to the UAE at the start of January with my Emirates team and, although I didn’t get to play much, we trained most days, I got a lot of practice in and we won the competition.

“I went from there straight to Pakistan, where I got to work a lot with Shane Watson, which I really enjoyed and feel like I’ve taken a lot from that and hopefully use some of those learnings to win some matches for Somerset this year.”

Reflecting on last year’s Vitality Blast success. Will said: “The aim is always to win and I think that last year has shown that if we play well we can beat anyone, so we can take a lot of confidence from that. You get a lot of experience from winning close games. We are always looking to improve, so it’s pretty exciting to see what we can do this year.”

What did it mean to Will, who is a Somerset boy, to be part of that trophy winning team?

To win the T20 for Somerset last summer was the best feeling I have had playing cricket ever- that’s why I play - to win trophies with a group of people that I care about.

“You could see just what it means to the players and the fans and to everyone involved at the club, to win a trophy was awesome and leaves us now wanting more.

“I have been in training back here with the squad and everyone seems to be in a pretty good place and really excited about the start of the cricket season, feeling confident and some of the guys are doing really well in the red ball stuff, so hopefully they can take some of that form into the Blast with them.

“There’s just a really good vibe about the place and we will get to feel it more as the T20 comp gets closer and we start to have training sessions altogether but everyone is in a good place.”

Regarding Somersets fans Will said: “I go all round the world playing cricket but the crowd we have here at Taunton is definitely the most passionate and it’s my favourite place to play. It’s home for me and it’s great to have the opportunity to carry on playing for Somerset. The crowd is awesome and I wouldn’t want to be an away team playing at Taunton. The crowd definitely get behind us and hopefully we can perform well again in front of them.”

Before that Will starts the season with Bridgwater CC, who this weekend travel to Bristol to play Bishopston.

“We have got a great group of lads at Bridgwater, everyone is really close and there is a proper family feel about the club. My Grandma lives about 100 metres from the ground, so I’m sure she will be down watching and excited to see Carlos Brathwaite play. They are probably one of the best supported clubs in the league.”

Will added: “The goal at Bridgy is to win the league, which we haven’t managed for the last few years, but there is definitely a strong enough squad there to do it this year.”