COLCHESTER teenager Ben Allison has signed his first professional contract with Essex County Cricket Club.

Allison has penned a deal running until the end of the 2020 season, along with fellow youngster Will Buttleman.

The pair signed summer contracts back in April and have been heavily involved with the Second XI over the last few years.

Former Colchester and East Essex player Allison said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to sign my first professional contract with Essex.

“I’ve been at the club since I was eight years old and all I’ve ever been focused on is being a professional cricketer, so signing my first professional deal is a very special moment for myself and my family.”

llison, who has represented England at under-19 level, has been a long-time member of the Essex Academy.

He has previously played for Colchester’s first XI in the Shepherd Neame Essex League First XI premier division.

Allison has benefited from the mentoring of fellow Colchester and East Essex cricket Ben Stephens, who has been coaching him at his PiriPiri coaching events since he was ten years old.

He first signed an Essex Academy contract in 2015, after starring at the under-15 Bunbury festival for the South of England team.

Allison and Buttleman have both been heavily involved with Essex's second XI over the last few years and will be looking to break into the first team over the duration of the season.

Essex Head Coach Anthony McGrath said: “Both Will and Ben have shown huge potential and have been involved in the First Team set up since the beginning of the season.

"Everybody at the club has high hopes for them and we’re all eager to see how they develop as players.”