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Essex recruit nine for academy

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Essex have confirmed they have invited a group of nine players to attend the county’s Graham Gooch Essex Cricket Academy in 2007/08.

Harry Beddows, 15, is the only new recruit among the collection of players whose ages range from 15 to 17.

Beddows, a wicketkeeper-batsman, has been awarded a one-year academy contract along with Michael Comber, Joanne Cook, Dominic Hurst, Alan Ison and Aaron West.

Meanwhile, 15-year-old leg-spinning all-rounder Rishabh Shah has been given a two-year academy contract.

17-year-olds Jaik Mickleburgh and Adam Wheater – both of whom made their first-team debuts in this year’s Twenty20 Floodlit Cup – have been handed two-year academy professional contracts.

Mickleburgh became the 10th player to represent the Essex first-team after being part of the academy set-up following on from the likes of Alastair Cook, Varun Chopra and Tony Palladino.

The forthcoming period represents the first in which Essex batting coach and club ambassador Graham Gooch will be providing funds of £30,000 a year to support the renamed academy.

Academy director John Childs said: “From the 2006/07 Academy, Tom Westley, Mervyn Westfield and Maurice Chambers are all now on full professional contracts.

“Theeban Tavarasa has finished with the academy but will continue to be involved with the development and second eleven sides in 2008.

“Finally, after four years on the academy, Chris Prowting has been not been retained in order that he can seek out further opportunities with other counties.”

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