HEAD coach Kevin Sharp says the contributions of Steve Rhodes and Damian D’Oliveira in laying the foundations for Worcestershire’s current success “should never be forgotten”.

Ex-director of cricket Rhodes and late academy director D’Oliveira were key figures in the County going down the route of producing home-grown players.

The roots are flourishing with the bulk of Saturday’s Vitality Blast finals day-winning squad consisting of academy graduates.

Blast skipper Moeen Ali stressed the impact of Rhodes in post-match interviews after leading Rapids to glory at Edgbaston and Sharp feels the same way.

The boss said: “It’s a great credit to the club and the foundations were laid many years ago here by Bumpy (Rhodes) and Damian with regards to the policy of bringing on its younger players.

“They must take credit for that. The lads who are doing it now, the Ben Coxes of this world, are lads who came through the academy many years ago under Bumpy and Damian’s guidance.

“We must never forget that. It is true and fact. The fruits are beginning to bear. They are coming to the party, developing, taking ownership and they are flying.

“Bumpy gave me the opportunity to come here and as it’s turned out I’ve ended up in the position of head coach which was unexpected.

“This year, as a group, with the other coaches Alex Gidman, Alan Richardson, Ryan D’Oliveira, Elliot Wilson and Andy Sutton, we’ve blended together and we must have done something right to help these lads continue to flourish in the way they have.”