Young Market Rasen CC cricketer Jabari Darrell has been snapped up by Leicestershire CCC as he continues his rapid rise up the ranks.
Darrell will play for the first-class county’s development side next season after taking a route less travelled from Bermuda to Market Rasen.
The Bermudian arrived in North Lincolnshire two years ago to complete his GCSEs at De Aston School where Head of Boarding Andrew Quinlan wasted no time in integrating the exciting all-rounder into the town club.
Darrell played for Rasen’s First XI throughout the 2016 season, and last year Under 19 World Cup qualifiers with Bermuda were sandwiched between club duties.
That summer also brought his biggest score for Rasen, a knock of 140 for the Sunday XI, the highest score by a club senior for several seasons.
He also achieved the batsman’s holy grail that year, hitting six sixes in an over for De Aston.
A fast-bowler and destructive batsman, Darrell has played international cricket for Bermuda since he was 11 and aspires to represent them on the biggest limited overs stage, the ICC World Cup.
But as a British passport holder, England could one day benefit from his exciting all-round qualities, with his recruitment by Leicestershire a first step along the road to qualification.
If his aspirations are set high, it’s perhaps little wonder considering his roots.
Dad was an international-class boxer, and now trains out of Miami, while Darrell’s sister competes at a similar level in athletics.
This year he has played his Saturday cricket for Scunthorpe CC in the Lincs ECB Premier, mainly employed as a strike bowler, but he still turns out for Rasen in midweek and Sunday league.
But it was regular appearances for the Lincolnshire age group sides which ultimately led to his recruitment by the Foxes who spotted his potential during a three-day under 17s game earlier this season.
His Rasen roots will be loosened next year when his cricketing education takes him to Loughborough College and a leading club side in Leicestershire.
But Quinlan believes Rasen and the Lincs set-up will remain an important part of his legacy.
“The work of Market Rasen CC, De Aston, Scunthorpe CC and Lincolnshire CCC has been absolutely instrumental in getting him to where he wants to be,” he said.
In the meantime, his Lincs and Rasen team-mate Sancho Jackson will continue to represent Bermuda at both De Aston and Rasen this year.
Quinlan added: “Both boys have been remarkably successful at De Aston, both academically and in terms of cricket.
“They are also incredibly nice kids; very respectful and grateful for the support given to them.”
The town school and club are developing an enviable record as a springbord for young cricketing talent.
Ex-pupil and player Tom Keast (20) has blossomed into Nottinghamshire’s second-choice wicketkeeper this season behind Tom Moores, and is part of the England development pathway.
And his brothers James (20) and Nick (18) are heading for a similar level in first-class county Second XIs, having cut their teeth for town and school.
Quinlan’s daughter Megan has also represented Lincolnshire at every age group, from U13s to senior women, boasting the best strike rate of any bowler in the country in the Women’s U17 Championship last season.
Other local clubs have also benefitted from the influx of young talent among De Aston’s boarders, particularly Market Rasen Town FC, and Market Rasen and Louth Rugby Club.
Basketball is also particularly strong at De Aston who reached the national schools quarter-finals a few years ago, while current boarder Franck Kone, is set to move to the United States to take up a basketball scholarship.