COLCHESTER and East Essex Cricket Club had extra reason to celebrate Ben Foakes’ magnificent century for England on his Test debut in Sri Lanka.

Foakes, who scored 107 in his first appearance for his country, spent three years at Castle Park as a teenager.

But amazingly, the Colchester-born player is not the club’s only former wicket-keeper to have hit a ton on Test debut, over the last 12 months.

Tom Blundell, who played alongside Foakes for the club in the 2012-13 season, achieved the same feat on his New Zealand Test bow against West Indies last December.

Colchester chairman Andrew Kennedy said: “It was a massive coincidence in that I don’t think either Ben or Tom had been in the frame to play in either of those games.

“Tom was catapulted in for New Zealand at the time and Ben has been around the team but was not expected to play.

“Maybe one of the reason they did so well on debut was because they didn’t have too much time to think about it.

“Ben kept wicket for us when Tom was an off spinner.

“They actually played a few games together at Colchester.

“Funnily enough, Reece Topley and Graham Napier were in the same team, too!"

Foakes played for Colchester as a teenager, before turning out for Essex and then joining Surrey.

“Ben had three seasons at Colchester and played one full season as an adult, having previously played at Clacton,” added Kennedy.

“We have been a very small part of what he has achieved – most of the benefit he’s had has been through Essex and then Surrey - but it’s great to see him do so well.

“Ben didn’t get too many chances with Essex because he had James Foster in front of him.

“He showed a lot of maturity when he was with us. He played some immensely mature innings at that age and nothing fazed him.

“Anyone that has played with Ben will know that he has the best hands that anyone has ever seen and it seemed so natural for him to catch a ball.

“We knew that he was a natural and that he had a lot of talent.

“At Colchester, he was a very friendly, down-to-earth player.

“He wasn’t arrogant in any way and it made it easy for him to be in the team.

“He was playing in the same team as adults from a young age and that background was probably beneficial in him going in with the likes of Joe Root for England."