Will Sheffield has signed his first professional contract with Sussex Cricket.
The 18-year left-arm seamer becomes the tenth member of the men’s squad to have progressed from the club’s youth pathway programme, as well as the first graduate of the Aldridge Cricket Academy to join Sussex’s men’s playing staff.
Sussex Cricket works in partnership with the Aldridge Cricket Academy to allow male and female pupils at Brighton and Portslade Aldridge Community Academies to combine their academic studies with an intensive cricket development programme.
Sheffield is also the first contracted Sussex player to benefit from the support of the Matthew Hobden Trust.
This support is part of a new relationship between Sussex Cricket and the Trust, in memory of Sussex fast bowler Matthew Hobden.
Sheffield said: “I am over the moon to have signed my first contract. It’s such an amazing feeling to know that the hard work has paid off and I can’t wait to get going this summer.
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“I’ve had a lot of great help to get me to this point, both from the Sussex Cricket pathway and also the Aldridge Cricket Academy which was invaluable in helping me develop my skills through my time at college.
“I’m so grateful also to the Matthew Hobden Trust for their generosity and for helping me take this next step towards my goals.
“There’s still a lot of hard work to do from here, but I’m looking forward to getting stuck in alongside the rest of the squad.”
Sussex head coach Jason Gillespie added: “Sheff is a great kid who has worked extremely hard to get to this point in his career and he really deserves this opportunity.
“He has carried himself really well around the group both here at Hove and on last month’s tour to Cape Town.
“His performances out in South Africa were impressive and his approach was spot on. We’re all looking forward to working with Will over the coming season and helping him continue his development.”