Stiff test for new Somerset paceman
Somerset have signed former England Under-19 fast bowler David Stiff on an initial two-month deal for the start of the coming season.
The 6ft 6in-tall Stiff began his career at his native Yorkshire before moving on to Kent and then Leicestershire. He was released by the Foxes in 2007 and has been playing league cricket in Yorkshire since.
The 24-year-old joins Mark Turner as the only specialist paceman at Somerset under the age of 30.
Somerset director of cricket Brian Rose said: “David Stiff fits the bill in terms of the modern idea of a fast bowler, with regard to his height and he bowls in the high 80s (mph).
“With both Kent and Leicestershire he has had difficulties getting on to the pitch because of his fitness.
“The key for him is to use the two months to get himself as fit as the rest of the Somerset players, then gearing up his approach to the game - which has got to be a lot tougher.
“He has an excellent opportunity because we have two or three bowlers in their mid-30s. Now David could come into a side with younger bowlers including Mark Turner.”
A product of the Yorkshire academy, Stiff came to greater prominence on the Under-19 tour of Australia.
He left Yorkshire in 2003 for Kent, where he played a number of first-team games, but struggled with his consistency and injuries. He went to Grace Road in 2006, but was gone by the end of the following season.
Stiff played three matches for Somerset second XI last season, taking 3-36 against Worcestershire at Kidderminster.
Stiff joins Somerset in March for pre-season training. He will stay until the end of May, with his situation reviewed in late April.