Two winters ago Worcestershire CCC supporters viewed pace duo Dillon Pennington and Adam Finch sharing the new ball for England Under-19s during the ICC World Cup in New Zealand.
It was a great experience for the developing duo who are part of the crop of young bowling talent at New Road.
This summer the pair again joined forces when they played together for the first time for the County in Specsavers County Championship cricket against Gloucestershire at Cheltenham.
It was a proud moment for the coaches who had played a part in their climb up the ladder, the likes of Paul Pridgeon, Elliot Wilson and Alan Richardson.
Pennington and Finch also joined forces for the County in the return match with Gloucestershire at New Road in mid-September.
Finch played eight first class matches this summer after making his debut against Lancashire in June.
Pennington played a similar tally of games in 2018 only for foot and ankle injuries to rule him out of the first half of this season before he returned to action.
Bowling Coach Richardson said: “It was a really proud moment for themselves when they played in the same side for the first time at Cheltenham.
“A hell of a lot of work has been put into them by coaches well before me – Elliot Wilson, Paul Pridgeon who have seen them from a really young age.
“All the guys who have been involved in their development should be really proud and it was a proud moment for the club that two Academy products who have gone through the England system played a first class game together for the first time.
“I think there will be many more appearances to come.
“Can they eventually become fully fledged members of the team? You hope so. You hope that with all the young guys that come through.
“They’ve certainly got the work ethic and the physicality to say they’ve got a really good chance of doing that.
“They’ve shown some real promise. It is exciting times. We want to have competition for places throughout and in the seam department we certainly feel like we have that.
“In a couple of years time, the seam attack could look very different but it’s nice to have that. It’s the department where you get the most injuries and the days lost to cricket.
“We need a real good battery of guys who cover all aspects, we’ve got some experienced guys and the younger guys are the exciting ones in terms of we don’t know what we are going to get but we want to give them the opportunity to show us what they’ve got.”
On Pennington’s progress, Richardson said: “He made a big impact last year. We are seeing those inconsistencies but when he is good, he is very good.
“He troubled some of the world’s best like Kane Williamson at Scarborough who was very complimentary of him.
“The challenge for Dillon and Adam is how to try and really control those inconsistencies. That will last for a while. They are young and will have those ups and downs.
“But the guys that really kick on are the guys who make sure those up and downs are really small periods of time.
“That is going to be the challenge. We’ve got a bit of that with Dillon this year. It’s been a frustrating year for him this year with the injuries.
“To only really get into it in June would have been frustrating for all of us but especially him.
“Dill has been a little bit disappointed with this season in some respects. But he will learn a lot from this year, so much.
“He worked incredibly hard in the winter and then got innocuous injury with a bruised heel which took longer than we expected to heal and then he turned his ankle and was out for a long time.
“By the time he got back into it, everyone had been playing for three months so it makes it incredibly hard and I think an experienced cricketer would find that really hard.
“But to be someone in his second year as pro, that was incredibly tough and we challenged him a lot and put him in some really difficult situations at times.
“The red ball stuff was a bit stop-start for him and he probably didn’t ever quite get his rhythm but we saw some real good glimpses and, with Dill, his fire and hunger, he is an absolute beast physically and really stretches himself with that physicality and that will see him through.
“Again we’ve seen some real high class stuff again from him and he’s one where your best ball is going to be too good for all of the county players around. It’s just about reproducing that again and again.”
Finch has shown a willingness to learn quickly after being a late developer.
Richardson said: “That is one of the qualities Adam has. We take away the fact he is six foot plenty and can bowl at a decent pace and bounce.
“He has proven so far that he is a quick learner. He is a bit of a sponge. He asks lots of questions, he wants to do well, so all the things there point in the right direction.
“He needs to continue that but he needs to make sure that with that quick learning, this is now going onto the next step.
“It’s really exciting because he is really raw. We know that his best ball is going to be far too good for a lot of county players.
“It’s just about him getting used to producing that as often as he can and time and time again but it’s incredibly exciting. He’s just got to work out what he needs to do and he will get as much support as he can from us to do that.”