It seems impossible to imagine an Essex first team squad without the engaging Nick Browne but he admits that he wondered if the opportunity to fulfil his ambition live his of playing professional cricket might elude him.

He made his debut for Essex in May 2013 but it might have been so different had not he received a stroke of good fortune towards the end of the previous season.

“I’d been told that I wasn’t going to get a contract at the end of the season although I’d still be able to play a few games in the seconds,” he said. “But then one of our openers decided he was going to leave, I’d started to score quite heavily at the right time in the second team. Suddenly things changed and I was taken on.

“It’s one of those cases of timing and being in the right place at the right time and getting that lucky break.

“Now I’ve played a 100 games and that seems incredible, I’d have probably been happy just to have played the one when I started out. I am living my dream of playing for Essex to be honest and also very lucky to be in a team that has been so successful.

“So I was very fortunate back then and now, being able to look back on so many special memories both on and off the field, is fantastic.”

The youngster who attended Trinity Catholic High school in Woodford Green spent much of his time outside school hours at South Woodford Cricket Club.

“They’ve been a huge part of my life and that of my family,” he acknowledged.

“Mum and Dad met at the club, as kids my brothers and I were always down there and we are still a part of the club now, it’s really ingrained in our family.

"It’s our second home and I owe everything I’ve done to that club really, the people down there, the person I’ve become is because of that club and the wonderful people.”

Now an established member of the first team squad, he recently marked his 100th first-class appearance for Essex with a half-century against Derbyshire helping his side complete a comfortable innings victory that took them to the top of Group One in the LV=County Championship.

And the Derbyshire club holds a place dear to the 30 year-old’s heart. He has faced the Midlanders attack on 7 occasions during his first-class career and, thus far, has scored 853 runs averaging an incredible 213.25. Those figures include two double-centuries, two centuries and two half-centuries.

It all started when he recorded his maiden first-class century was recorded against Derbyshire back in 2014 when playing only his eighth Championship match.

He carried his bat for 132 at Chesterfield having spent more than seven hours at the crease to become the first Essex batsman since John Stephenson at Taunton in 1992 to bat through a completed innings.

He was the tenth Essex batsman in history to carry his bat although it was the fourteenth occasion that had been achieved for the county.

Then in the same match, he again proved a thorn in the side of the Derbyshire attack with 100 not out as Essex went on to draw the match.

“It was a very special time for me and a very emotional innings for me, it finally proved that I could compete at this level and repay a few people for their faith in me,” he said.

“My family were there to see the game and I got the bat framed and gave it to my Dad and we all cherish the memory of that match,” he said.

Two years later, he again showed no mercy on the Derbyshire bowlers leaving them feeling well and truly ‘browned-off’. In the match at Chelmsford, he struck a career-best 255.

His marathon effort spanned 9 hours and 12 minutes during which he faced 445 balls embracing 34 fours and one six.

He followed-up with an unbeaten 229 in the return at Derby, this time batting for 9 hours and twenty-two minutes facing 417 balls with 24 boundaries, two of which cleared the ropes.

Little surprise that such an achievement saw his name entered into the record books as he became only the fourth batsman in Championship history to post a double century twice in one season against the same opposition.

That second of his virtuoso performances that summer allowed the left-hander to join an Elite list of only three other batsmen who scored double-centuries in one match including the legendary W.G.Grace.

And the bad news for the Derbyshire bowlers is that it is likely that they might be more “browned-off” before the end of the season.

The teams are due to meet in July at Chesterfield in the return Championship fixture and with such a phenomenal record against them, it would be understandable if the Derbyshire attack regard the prospect of bowling to the formidable opener with more than a degree of trepidation.