Jamie Atkins has an extra incentive to keep his place in the Sussex team.

His family want to get down to Hove to see him play.

The 18-year-old fast bowler from Horsham crowned his senior debut by taking the wicket of Lancashire skipper Dane Vilas, clean bowled for nought.

He had visualised bowling at Lancs’ top men throughout the 24 hours before he was handed the new ball.

And his cricket-loving family and friends were following from a safe distance.

Atkins was called in as Ollie Robinson was rested and had to wait a day to bowl as Sussex batted first.

Former Sussex and England fast bowler James Kirtley, now coach at Hove, has played a huge role in his career.

Atkins said: “I spoke to Kirts. On the first day, once I knew we were batting, I was just imagining my first spell to (Alex) Davies and (Keaton) Jennings.

“Just try to make sure I hit the top of off stump as often as possible with a bit of movement and hopefully the wickets would come.

“Unfortunately I didn’t get one with my first spell but I put them under as much pressure as possible. I really enjoyed it.

“It’s pretty surreal to share a changing room and you see Stuart Meaker, who has played for England.

“Jof (Archer) is around at the moment and Rig (Robinson) is putting in ten-out-of-ten performances every week.

“I am learning every day from these guys, especially Kirts as well. He has been massive for me.

“I have been working with him since I was 13.

“It was almost a surreal moment to get that first-class debut from when I was a scrawny little 13-year-old.

“He has been amazing. So have all the coaching staff.”

Skipper Ben Brown has kept a close eye on Atkins and saw enough from his debut to be very encouraged.

Brown said: “I thought he was absolutely brilliant. It was an amazing debut.

“I was really excited for him to play.

“I think a lot of us at the club have been looking forward to Jamie playing for a good year or so now.

“He is a really exciting bowler - pace and bounce, he can swing the ball.

“I thought he did fantastically well. Just the attitude. No nerves.

“I think he actually stepped up his game if anything, from what I have seen of him in the second team and round the nets.

“I’m really delighted for him.

“Obviously the wicket of Dave Vilas was probably the moment of the game for him.

“It was a huge wicket for him and a fantastic one for him to take away.”

Sussex have one more Championship fixture at Hove before the gates re-open.

That May 17 cut-off is being eyed eagerly by the Atkins family and his mates at Roffey Cricket Club. Hence the motivation to stay in the team.

Atkins said: “They will definitely be down whenever crowds are allowed.

“My dad was saying, ‘Can you get me in, can you stick me in your suitcase?’.

“My whole family will be there.

“My mates were texting me, even those who don’t have a clue about cricket.

“They were all like, ‘We’ll be down there’.

“They will be probably be on the beers more than actually watching the cricket!

“But they will be here.”