Bertie Foreman has signed his first professional contract at Sussex after an award-winning season in Australia – as he looks to enhance the family sporting tradition.

The 19-year-old spinner will see his existing rookie contract become a pro deal from May 1, running until the end of 2025. 

He played for Sussex 2nds as they had the better of a draw with Surrey at Guildford this week to build on his efforts Down Under.

Foreman was named joint winner of the O’Reilly Medal for player of the year in New South Wales first grade cricket as he helped Manly Waringah reach the state final.

He took 50 wickets at 17.16 apiece, including three five-fors and best figures of 7-38.

The grandson of former Albion and Sussex regular Denis Foreman earned high marks both on and off the field.

Denis was born in South Africa and, as a sporting all-rounder, brought his three cricket bats with him to England after being offered a trial by Albion.

“You do realise we are a football club?” Albion manager Billy Lane asked on greeting him at Southampton docks.

By contrast, Bertie has specialised at a younger age, although he enjoys football and the family have season tickets at the Amex.

His dad Michael said: “Bertie was a decent footballer but he has always been into cricket since he was eight.

“It takes up a lot of time, even during the off-season with indoor nets and training.”

Foreman junior was invited to Manly by Australia under-19 captain Joel Davis, against whom he played in age-group internationals, and was advised by Sussex coaches Paul Farbrace and Mike Yardy to jump at the chance.

Michael said: “He has loved the club, really bought into the culture with regard to coaching youngsters and things like that.

“I had a chat with the head coach and he said he is the best overseas they have had both on and off the pitch, which for me and his mum was really lovely to hear.

“It’s pretty tough out there if you are a 19-year-old Pom but he has got a bit of steel about him and he is quite sharp-witted, which helps.

“From what I understand, if you show a bit of weakness they will crucify you but, if you give them some back, they will show respect.

“And if your numbers are good they will back off.”

Previous winners of the O’Reilly Medal for NSW player of the year include Mason Crane, Mike Gatting, Geoff Boycott and Tony Greig.

There are a couple of Sussex connections there – and a family one with Greig.

Michael said: “When I was a kid, he was Uncle Tony to us.

“He used to stay at our place in Portslade and my dad mentored him for a while.

“Dad would help Bertie with the basics when he was younger.

“Dad died when Bertie had just turned 12 so he was still pretty young.

“Particularly if he had a problem, he’d say, ‘Grandad, I’m not getting any runs, can you help me?’.”

Michael opted to leave Bertie on his own in Australia this year, learning life lessons as well as cricket.

He will go next winter, should Bertie take up the offer of a second season.

But he said: “Playing for England under-19s at the Alan Border Oval on February 1 last year, Bertie got 58 not out and took five wickets playing against Australia.

“They won the game and that would have been Dad’s 90th birthday.

“I was really pleased to be out there for that.”