SUSSEX Cricket and Oxfordshire Cricket have announced the extension of their partnership for a further five years until 2026.

The two clubs have been in partnership since 2013, and it has allowed young players a chance of fulfilling their ambitions of joining the Sussex Academy and professional staff.

There have been examples of this partnership producing good players, such as the introduction of Oxfordshire's pathway products, James Coles and Harrison Ward into Sussex's men's first team over the last two seasons.

A number of young Oxfordshire players have also been part of the Sussex Academy, with more expected in the next intake. The introduction of the ECB's dual registration process enabled Freddie Smith and Zach Lion-Cachet to play for Sussex's U18 and men's second teams.

Keith Greenfield, Sussex's Performance director, said: "We are so pleased that our partnership will be able to continue on its journey. There has been so much work put in over the last eight years and to know we have a further five years' work to do is great.

"The partnership doubles the size of our own playing pool but also means Oxfordshire Cricket receives the staff and resources for it to continue to be the best national county programme for players and staff.

"This is hugely important and a key priority in our strategy of producing quality first-class and international cricketers from within our own pathway systems. We are already seeing elite players joining the club like James Coles."

As part of the programme, Sussex coaches support their Oxfordshire colleagues with player development, attending Emerging Players Programme sessions and providing advice.

This aspect of the partnership was recently praised by Oxfordshire Men's head coach, Rupert Evans.

Sussex also provides financial support to help fund Oxfordshire's talent development programmes and the programme's coaching staff, led by Performance Director, Matthew Barnes and Partnership Support Coach, Alan Duncan.

Rob Andrew, Sussex's Chief Executive, said: "It's brilliant to be continuing what has been a very fruitful partnership.

"We're already seeing the impact our cooperation is having on cricket in both counties, with young cricketers in Oxfordshire benefitting from top-class development opportunities and us at Sussex Cricket reaping the benefits.

"I am confident we'll see more young Oxfordshire cricketers follow in their footsteps in the next few years."