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ACADEMY: Oxfordshire's Harrison Ward signs for Sussex Academy


Harrison Ward, Oxfordshire's promising 15 year-old opening batsman, has been awarded a two year, full place on the Sussex Academy.

Harrison, who turns sixteen in October, is a pupil at St Edward’s School, Oxford, first team player at Horspath Cricket Club, and made his debut for the Oxfordshire senior team this summer, sensationally making a Minor Counties Championship hundred on debut, thought to be the youngest on record.

The selection of Harrison for the Academy marks a significant step in the partnership between Sussex and Oxfordshire Cricket, which has seen Sussex coaches providing significant input into Oxfordshire’s Emerging Player Programme.

As a member of the Sussex Academy, Harrison will be one of a maximum of twelve young players selected for possessing the potential ability to play first class cricket and even for England. Harrison will receive an individual development programme for the next 24 months, which will largely be delivered in his home county of Oxfordshire. The programme will focus on five key areas: technical, tactical and physical development, alongside development of mental skills and personal lifestyle management. Harrison will also have a closely-managed and structured match programme with the correct level of cricket to develop him as a high class player.

Harrison Ward commented: “I have really enjoyed this summer and it has been my best yet. I've loved the challenges of starting to play Premier League and Minor Counties Cricket, but I also had the privilege of attending the ECB Bunbury Festival. I am really excited about the opportunity I now have with Sussex. Having met with the coaches and had a practice session down at Hove, I knew it was the right way to go.''

Harrison’s programme will be headed up by Keith Greenfield, Sussex's Cricket Performance Manager and Academy Director, who will be ably supported by professional coaching and sports medicine staff, both at Hove and in Oxfordshire, namely Mark Farmer, Oxfordshire Cricket's new Performance Cricket Manager and Alan Duncan, Sussex Cricket's resident Oxfordshire Coach.

Greenfield said, ''Harrison has done exceptionally well to earn this place on our Academy. This progression does come with the responsibility of being a flag bearer for the Oxfordshire/Sussex Partnership and the first player to join our programmes. This will hopefully show the way for many players in the future, demonstrating the value in our joint programmes with Oxfordshire.''

Farmer added, “Harrison receiving his Academy place is a huge leap forward for the relatively new partnership between Oxfordshire and Sussex, in only its second year. This progression will give everybody involved in Oxfordshire Cricket another real practical example of how a player in Oxfordshire can receive a first class development programme on his own doorstep, rather than having to travel to a first class county base”.

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