Shropshire lad Dillon’s England call

Dillon Pennington is on track to become the first Shropshire-born cricketer to play for England in more than four decades.

The 25-year-old pace bowler has been named in the England Test squad for the upcoming series against the West Indies which starts at Lord’s on Wednesday (July 10).

If he gets the chance during the series, he will follow in the footsteps of Whittington’s Andy Lloyd who played one Test and three One Day Internationals against the mighty West Indies side of 1984.

Dillon is part of the squad which will see the final curtain of the brilliant Test career of 41-year-old James Anderson who is retiring after the match.

The series then sees England play further Tests against the West Indies at Trent Bridge and Edgbaston.

The Nottinghamshire ace heard about his call up when he received a phone call from England coach Brendan McCullum when he was on the team coach heading to Lancashire to play in the recent Championship fixture at Southport.

Shortly after he received a welcoming call from skipper Ben Stokes.

He said: “I’ve still not come down to earth and it hasn’t yet really sunk. 

“I been busy thanking all the people who had played a part in my success – from the invaluable support of my family to all the coaches and friends who have supported me on this journey to England selection.”

Despite his initial nerves, Dillon has settled in to what he describes as a welcoming and relaxed England camp over the weekend, and enjoyed bowling in the nets alongside Anderson and playing a couple of games of golf with his team-mates.

Dillon, whose father Clive played Age Group cricket for Somerset, began his education at Oxon Primary School in Shrewsbury following in the footsteps of Joe Hart and Ed & Rob Foster.

He continued his education at Wrekin College where he was awarded a cricket scholarship. At Wrekin, his cricket thrived where he was given the opportunity to play and train on a regular basis. 

By this time, Dillon was beginning to make a name for himself as a genuine all-rounder in the Shropshire Age Group teams. 

His success for the County led to his selection for Cricket Shropshire’s Emerging Player Programme where he came under the watchful eye of former Worcester opening bowler & Shrewsbury School coach Paul Pridgeon. 

Dillon spent several hours weekly learning and developing the skills of his trade from Pridgeon and the benefits were soon evident in his performances for the Shropshire teams. 

This in turn led to his invitation for Midlands Under 15 trials by his coach at Wrekin and Midlands U15 manager Steve Aston. 

However, this turned out to be the first ‘bump’ in his career as he failed to make the 14-man squad for that year’s Bunbury Festival, but was named as reserve pace bowler. 

Despite that disappointment, he continued to work hard and two years later he was strongly tipped for selection for the Midlands U17 team, but this time injury intervened. 

By now, Dillon was a member of the Worcestershire CCC Academy and his cricket performances continued to improve leading to his selection for the Shrewsbury CC 1st Xl and the 2018 U19 World Cup in New Zealand. 

There he really made a name for himself as one of the leading pace bowlers at the tournament.

Worcester then sponsored him to do a degree course at Worcester University where he could combine his cricket career with his studies which he completed successfully, and during this period he also made his debut for the Shropshire Minor Counties side.

Despite occasional injuries, Dillon’s star continued to rise working with Elliott Wilson, Alex Gidman & Alan Richardson at New Road.

He became a regular member of the Worcestershire side culminating last season in their promotion to Division One of the Count championship. 

In August last year, Dillon decided a move to Nottinghamshire would further advance his career under the guidance of former England coach Peter Moores and Kevin Shine who for many years was England’s pace bowling lead coach. 

During last winter, Shine made a slight change to Dillon’s bowling action which has enabled him to bowl a crucial yard quicker and subsequently catch the eye of ECB boss Rob Key and his England scouts resulting in his call up.

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