Northamptonshire have awarded a first professional contract to young batsman Emilio Gay.

The 19-year-old left-hander – a product of NCCC’s Centre of Excellence, Emerging Player and Academy programmes – has been in prolific form for the club’s Second XI this season, scoring 457 runs in just four Championship matches with an average of 76.16 including a match-winning knock of 186 not out against Warwickshire.

A former pupil at Bedford School, he has been involved in the youth development set-up at Wantage Road since the Under-15s age-group and was named the Academy’s Player of the Year in 2018.

“I’m really pleased that one of our own has got his chance to become a professional.” Head Coach David Ripley said. “The system has worked, he’s done the EPP, moved from the EPP onto the academy and now onto the full professional staff.”

Gay was part of the Academy’s first-ever overseas trip to South Africa back in February and has also scored plenty of runs for Northampton Saints in the Northamptonshire League’s Premier Division.

“Emilio is batting very well at the moment,” said Northamptonshire’s Academy Director, Kevin Innes. “He’s a bit of a workaholic who trains very hard indeed and has strong self-belief which carries him through. Hopefully he has a bright future with the club.

“He has a drive to do well in his cricket career and this year he’s proved he can succeed at second-team level against good bowlers with first-class experience.”

Gay’s prolific season has included a few massive individual performances including 186 not out for the Second XI and double hundred in the NCL Premier Division.

 “You get a lot of young players who doubt themselves and think ‘am I good enough?’, but Emilio’s attitude is very good. He’s got a real desire to succeed, he’s very confident in his ability which is to be encouraged and welcomed.” David Ripley said.

“He’s deserved his opportunity and we’re really chuffed he’s going to be with us for the next couple of years.”

“I’m delighted to have come through the ranks at Northants to earn a contract,” Gay said.

“My goal is to play first-team cricket for Northamptonshire and it would be a great feeling to make my debut. But I’m not looking too far ahead – I just want to keep working hard and scoring as many runs as I can wherever I’m playing.”