Worcestershire bowling coach Matt Mason has been delighted with the progress made this winter by young paceman Josh Tongue who yesterday marked his first class debut with two wickets.
Academy product Tongue is in his first year as a full-time professional and was due this week to undergo a third training camp of the winter with the England Performance Programme.
But instead the 18-year-old has been handed his first class debut by Director Of Cricket Steve Rhodes in the current game with Oxford MCCU in The Parks.
And Tongue responded with two late wickets in a new ball spell of 2-12 from five overs that impressed Mason.
It follows on from some promising performances in the Second Eleven last summer, working with former New Road paceman Mason during the close season and being bloodied at senior level during the pre-season trip to Abu Dhabi.
In addition to Mason, Academy coach Elliot Wilson has also played a key role in seeing another of the County's conveyor belt of young talent take the first step on the ladder at first team level.
Mason said: "Josh bowled superbly yesterday, especially for a young man on debut.
"He produced a challenging line and length with steeping bounce. He showed such great control for a young bowler.
"Josh has been fantastic this winter. He has benefitted particularly from the strengthening and conditioning work (with Ross Dewar).
"He has done some good bowling sessions. He is very exciting.
"Josh is a big strapping lad who bowled well in the second team last summer. He had a fantastic season.
"He reminds me of a Andy Caddick type bowler.
"He gets horrible bounce off a good length and swing and good control which for a young lad is very encouraging.
"He is taller than me now, he is six feet, six already. He is a big lad."
Mason has been impressed with Tongue's fighting qualities to get to the current situation in his career.
He said: "To be fair to Josh, he has had some knockbacks. He has been in and out of that Academy programme.
"He has always fought back and done really well so I'm really impressed with Josh."