JAMIE Porter is eager to make the most of his second chance with Essex.

The 21-year-old bowler has been the club’s stand out performer with the ball during pre-season.

But this time last year he seemed to be heading for a career away from cricket.

“I was working in recruitment last year and while I enjoyed doing that, it gave me a kick in the right direction,” said Porter.

“It made me realise I still had more to offer to cricket and that I was better than what I had already done.

“I had played a few age group games in the past for Essex and they gave me a call to ask if I wanted to come in to play for the second team.”

From there, Porter immediately started to impress.

And it was an easy decision for him to return to cricket on a full time basis.

“I played one game, bowled well and loved playing so it was a bit of a no-brainer to come back,” said Porter.

“I had the funds to get me through the summer, so even if it didn’t work out I would’ve been OK.

“People take gap years so I couldn’t see any difference in what I was doing but luckily it went well.”

Porter ended up breaking into the County Championships side towards the end of the season.

But he is now desperate to build on that achievement and has therefore worked tirelessly in the build up to the new campaign.

“I spent all winter in the indoor school which wasn’t really very fun in the cold, wet and dark,” said Porter.

“I’ve done a lot of gym stuff and I didn’t actually bowl a ball until January so I’m really excited that the season is about to start now.”

Porter also seems to be in good shape, taking six wickets against in a pre-season clash with Surrey.

But his feet will be remaining firmly on the ground.

“It was nice to see the hard work come together in pre-season but I’m trying to not get too carried away because they were only friendlies and it’s the Kent game that’s the big focus,” said Porter.

“That’s the one I want to get wickets in but it was good for my confidence.”

Porter wants to put that into good use against Kent.

And he has his sights set on becoming a regular this season.

“I want to cement my place in the side,” said Porter.

“I think I’ll get a chance to do that in four day cricket but it would nice to feature in 50 over matches and Twenty20 games too.

“I’m sure the opportunity will come up at some point and I’ll have to make sure I take it."