HARRISON Ward has become the latest Oxfordshire product to sign a professional contract with Sussex.

The 22-year-old has agreed a deal for the 2022 and 2023 seasons, which will see him play mainly white-ball cricket while he completes his studies at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

The Oxford-born batsman and part-time off-spinner follows fellow Oxon graduate James Coles into the professional squad at Hove.

Both are products of the talent development partnership between the two counties, which was recently extended until 2026.

Ward made his first-team debut for Sussex this summer and appeared in several games, including Sussex Sharks’ Vitality Blast semi-final against Kent Spitfires at Edgbaston.

The former St Edward’s School pupil said: “I’m delighted to have signed my first professional contract with the club that I’ve been involved with since the age of 15.

“I want to thank the club for giving me this opportunity and, with a winter behind me, hopefully I can contribute to winning games of cricket for Sussex next season.

“We have a good group of young players and, if we work hard, hopefully we can build something special at the club.

“I would also like to thank my family for supporting me through the various lockdowns when I wasn’t contracted, and also Oxfordshire cricket for their support with the partnership with Sussex.”

The former Horspath player also starred for England in T10 format at the European Cricket Championship in Spain this autumn, alongside his exploits in county cricket.

Sussex Championship and one-day head coach, Ian Salisbury said: “Harrison was around the squad a couple of years ago and things didn’t quite work out for him, but since then he’s shown real determination and worked extremely hard to earn another opportunity.

“We saw glimpses of what he could be capable of last season, and he’s made it clear through his approach that he is absolutely committed to building on those and making it as a pro cricketer.

“We want to build a squad of multi-format players, but there’s more than one way of achieving that.

“Harrison’s skills currently lean towards the white-ball game, but you just have to look at a player like David Warner to see that that’s no barrier to ultimately achieving success in the longer form.

“Our aim as coaches is to help Harrison do that.”