Ben Allison became the latest player to progress from the famed and envied Essex Academy when he made his Championship debut in the recent drawn match with Worcestershire.

The 21-year-old right-arm fast-medium bowler, who plays his club cricket for Brentwood, has been with the county since the age of eight playing for the various age groups before moving into the Academy and the Second XI.

Allison realised his dream of representing the county in red-ball cricket when selected for the opening game of the season at Chelmsford although conditions were far from favourable with arctic-like temperatures and a pitch becoming increasingly benign for bowlers as the match progressed.

Despite that backcloth, Allison revelled in the experience, by saying: “I can’t lie, I was really chuffed when I got the nod to play on the morning of the game.

"I didn't have much to do on the first couple of days then, when I got handed the ball on the Saturday, the adrenalin was really flowing. It was a tough introduction but I loved it.

"I’m thrilled to bits to have made my Essex debut and hopefully, I can go on and get a few more games under my belt.

“My target at the start of the season was to get into the first team and take things from there but the competition for bowling places is really tough and I know it will get even more difficult to get into this Essex side when we have ‘Sidds’ (Peter Siddle) back.”

The Colchester-born player made a favourable impression and returned commendable figures of 1 for 67 from 25 overs as Worcestershire posted 475 all out on a batsman-friendly track in response to their opponents 490 for 9 declared.

“To get that wicket was a huge relief, it probably wasn't my best ball, but you take any wicket that you're given,” added Allison.

And head coach Anthony McGrath was delighted with Allison’s efforts, adding: “It was a really good start for him. He’s deserved his chance; he’s done everything we’ve asked of him and he’s only young so he is still obviously growing.

“But on a flat track, where there were a lot of runs around, I thought he stuck to his task really well. No bowler from either side really got a lot of assistance overall but I liked the way he controlled the run-rate and he did himself no harm at all with the way he went about his game.

“He’s had to be a little bit patient but he’s a young guy and hopefully, we’ll see him playing for Essex for a number of years.”

The confident youngster with the bubbly personality started his club cricket career with Colchester & East Essex before switching to Brentwood in 2018 whilst all the time progressing through the Essex ranks and earning England representation at Under-19 level.

East London Advertiser: Ben Allison of Brentwood during Harold Wood CC (batting) vs Brentwood CC, Essex Cricket League Cricket at Harold Wood Park on 8th August 2020Ben Allison of Brentwood during Harold Wood CC (batting) vs Brentwood CC, Essex Cricket League Cricket at Harold Wood Park on 8th August 2020 (Image: ©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468)

Although the match with Worcestershire was his Championship debut for his native county, Allison had already made his first-class debut when he was loaned out in 2019 to play for Gloucestershire against Derbyshire and picked up three wickets.

It was always a temporary arrangement and Essex backed their belief in the emerging bowler by offering him a two-year extension to his contract last year.

“The club have shown good faith in me and I was very grateful for that contract extension, so I need to show that in my performances,” he said.

“Hopefully, I’ll get a few more opportunities this season to show what I can do.”