OXFORDSHIRE youngsters Zach Lion-Cachet and Dylan Driscoll have joined Sussex’s academy.

The teenagers follow in the footsteps of the likes of James Coles and Harrison Ward in earning a place on the first-class county’s 2021/22 programme.

Both players came through the Oxfordshire pathway and have benefited from the partnership with Sussex, which was extended by a further five years in October.

They impressed for several age-group teams at both counties this summer, while Lion-Cachet represented Oxfordshire men.

He said: “I was delighted to be invited to join the Sussex Academy and it wasn’t a hard decision to accept the place.

“It is an amazing opportunity to be a part of such a special club and have the chance to progress my cricket in an environment where they are promoting young cricketers.”

Driscoll added: “I’m over the moon. It has been one of my goals for the past few years to get into the Sussex Academy, so I was very happy and can’t wait for it to kick on.”

Lion-Cachet’s journey began when he joined Oxfordshire’s Under 10s aged eight and scored 115 not out against Wiltshire at the Bryanston Under 11 Festival.

He helped South & West Under 15s win the 50-over and T20 competitions at the 2019 Bunbury Festival and had another successful summer in 2021.

The 17-year-old scored a century for Oxfordshire Under 18s against Sussex and hit 73 on his first XI debut against Wiltshire in August.

Lion-Cachet also played for the second XI, Sussex 2s and Sussex Under 18s.

Driscoll started on the pathway as a ten-year-old in the Under 10s, for whom he hit an unbeaten 135 against Norfolk.

This summer, the 16-year-old represented South & West Under 15s at Bunbury and scored 461 runs for Oxfordshire Under 15s, including three centuries.

He also played for the county’s second XI and hit a century for Sussex Under 15s on debut.

Both players will take part in indoor sessions over the winter, including at Hove during the school holidays.

Matthew Barnes, performance director at Oxfordshire Cricket, said: “Dylan and Zach are players of high potential whose dominant performances have deservedly been rewarded with a place on the Sussex Cricket Academy this year.

“Academy selection has been hard earned, and is an achievement that both they and their families should be very proud of.

“I take this opportunity on behalf of everyone at Oxfordshire Cricket in congratulating both Dylan and Zach on their academy selection and to wish them every success with their transition into the academy at Sussex Cricket.”