FORMER Colchester and East Essex youngster Josh Rymell thoroughly deserves his new contract with Essex County Cricket Club.

That is the view of Ben Stephens, who has spent plenty of time coaching the talented teenager over recent years at his PiriPiri Cricket academy.

Rymell has signed a rookie contract with Essex, running until the end of the 2020 season.

The 18-year-old from Colchester turned out for the Castle Park side's First XI for two seasons, before leaving last year.

He has also spent a good deal of time over recent years at the PiriPiri cricket coaching academy, where has worked hard on his technique and all-round batting skills.

PiriPiri cricket coaching director Stephens said: "Josh has always had a lot of potential and has always been a very talented lad.

"He's someone who's always known his own game from a young age but he also knows his own limits and his capabilities.

"The good thing is that he's always listened and he's like a sponge - he absorbs everything that you say to him.

"He goes away and really knuckles down.

"I've always had some really good, tough sessions with him."

Rymell will continue to go through his rehabilitation programme over the next few months after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury, last August.

The former Ipswich School pupil is set to join Essex's first team in Abu Dhabi for the pre-season tour, in March.

"Josh didn't have the best of summers, last year," said Colchester and East Essex bowler Stephens.

"He left Colchester to join Billericay but had his injury and then had an operation.

"He's had some knock backs but sometimes adversity can work in your favour and I think it's set him on the right pathway.

"He's bounced back really well and he's kept improving.

"He was in a bit of a bad way but Essex have had a lot of faith in him."

In addition to brushing up on his own skills, Rymell has also been trying his hand at coaching at the PiriPiri cricket coaching academy.

Stephens added: "He's doing some coaching with some of the lads and giving a little bit back."

Places are still available for PiriPiri Cricket’s February Half Term Coaching Camp at Castle Park, next month – visit for more information.