At the beginning of 2022, I was looking at how to take SJM Properties to the next level and gain more exposure in the hope of attracting more landlords and subsequent business. I explored several advertising options and soon came across the idea of sponsoring a player at Somerset County Cricket. Initially, I had assumed this would be far too costly for a small business like us but with the help of the Cricket Club and some of my ‘cricket enthusiast’ friends, I decided Sonny Baker, a future up and coming star, would be the perfect match for us! Quickly, I seized the opportunity to go ahead with the sponsorship and we have since loved keeping up to date with Sonny’s antics at Somerset Cricket by attending games, networking events, and meeting the team. Of course, the bonus of a signed shirt at the end of the season is also lovely for my occasional days off!

So, when it later came to deciding whether I wanted to renew my sponsorship for another year, there was no doubt in my mind, and I immediately said I would 100% snap it up and very much look forward to what the new year brings!

Most recently, I have been lucky enough to meet Sonny and get some insights from him as to how his journey began which I would love to share with you, he says:

“I started cricket in Year 4/5 and wasn't exactly the popular kid in Primary School, I was very average at football (I still am and get plenty of reminding from the rest of the lads!) and rugby at that age so ended up playing cricket. As I got older, I progressed through Devon pathway and in 2018 was put on a program at Somerset called the PSPP (Potential Somerset Players Program) for a while which was effectively a 'not quite good enough for the academy' program for players outside of Somerset.

At 17 I had a stress fracture in my back and was released from Somerset when the PSPP was disbanded due to a change in the structure of Devon's pathway. At that point, I was pretty convinced that I was going to be a biology teacher somewhere and coach alongside. During that time, I applied to Oxford for Biology and worked very hard on my cricket during lockdown with huge help from Griff (Andrew Griffiths at Somerset). Later that year, I ended up getting a late call up to an England U19s trial at 18. It was a late drop out from one of the North's players, so in the North vs South match I (as the most southern player there) opened the bowling for the North. I was signed on to Somerset's prestigious academy off the back of that. 9 months after that; I had signed my first professional contract, was Somerset's highest wicket taker in the Royal London One Day Cup (RLODC) in my List A debut season and had been pulled into the Trent Rockets camp for the Hundred as an injury replacement.
Last year, I travelled out to the West Indies with England U19s for the World Cup. In the first over of the first warm up game I suffered a stress fracture in my back and 4 days later was on a plane home by myself.

My first game back was in the RLODC and was hit for 38 off 2 overs in a thumping defeat to Notts. Next game I took my maiden fifer against Durham and was lucky enough to be called in by the Southern Brave as an injury replacement for Tymal Mills, making my T20 debut (kind of), playing on Sky sports for the first time and playing in 3 of the 4 games I was there for.”

What an inspiring story! I am also pleased to report Sonny then went on to say: 

“I am really thankful to have been sponsored by a great team of people at SJM Properties and have spoken to Steven to explore ways in which to get more involved this year from a sponsor’s point of view. I really appreciate SJM giving me the opportunity to explore that and look forward to working with them this year.”

It really has been a pleasure to sponsor Sonny and work closely with those at Somerset Cricket Club, I can’t wait to see what you get up to this year - Bring on 2023!