Essex have given first professional contracts to two of their Academy players, Michael Comber and Max Osborne.
Comber, a 19-year-old all-rounder has been given a one-year deal while fast-medium bowler Osborne has been handed a two year deal.
Comber told Essex's website (www.essexcricket.org.uk): “I am obviously really pleased to be on board. I am really happy that the coaches have kept faith in me. This has been a real confidence booster. I now have a hard rehabilitation programme during the winter months. The focus will be on strength and conditioning and getting fitter and stronger. I will then try and push my way into the First XI during the 2010 season."
Osborne, 20, added: “I have had this ambition for a number of years to earn a full professional contract. So to achieve that is a great feeling. The hard work now begins to earn a place in the team. I would like to thank the Academy Coaches here at Essex for the support."
John Childs, Academy Director and Essex Second XI Coach commented: “Max is a local and talented individual who has come through all of our age groups. He joined our Academy in 2008 and has made fast progress. As a right-hand medium-paced bowler he had played a full part in the Second XI this season in both Championship and one-day cricket. We are pleased to see the reward; he will spend the winter months with the Academy in the build up to the 2010 season.
“Michael has been involved with the Academy over the last four years. Unfortunately his opportunities with the Second XI have been limited this season owing to injuries, but he has shown enough potential to earn a 1-year contract. We hope that this will kick-start his career with Essex for many years to come."
Paul Grayson, Essex First XI Coach added: “Max has done well with the Second XI and is an excellent prospect. He has earnt a two-year contract, and we hope this will lead to a long and successful career at Essex. Michael is a local boy that has come through the age groups. He has deserved his 1-year professional contract. He has a natural ability; we hope he can establish himself in 1st class cricket."
© Cricket World 2009