MORNE Morkel broke off from Surrey’s Specsavers County Championship title celebrations to give a ringing endorsement of Worcestershire paceman Dillon Pennington's potential.

The South African paceman was “blown away” by Morkel’s performance in the title-clinching match at Blackfinch New Road.

Pennington, part of Rapids' Vitality Blast-winning squad on Saturday, caused a few nerves in the Surrey dressing room with his fiery bowling on the final day before they secured a three-wicket success.

New Zealand batsman Kane Williamson also heaped praise on the County prospect after his bowling at Yorkshire.

The main ambition for Pennington, 19, at the start of the season was to play regular second-team cricket.

But the academy product, part of the England Under 19s World Cup squad in the winter, has seized his chance after injuries to skipper Joe Leach and Josh Tongue.

Now he turns his attention to the bottom-of-the-table County’s bid to pull off the great escape in the Championship, starting against Essex at Chelmsford from Tuesday (10.30am).

Morkel said: “It’s the first time I’ve seen or heard about him. I was sitting on the balcony and asked Vikram Solanki about him. He told me Dillon was only 19.

“I was blown away by him. He’s got a lot of potential, has a really bright future and in time he will pick up experience and all those sorts of things.

“He just needs to play cricket now and learn the skills of four-day cricket, the amount of overs, the work-load, those sort of things.”

County head coach Kevin Sharp said of Pennington: “He is a big, strong lad. He’s bowled two or three unbelievable spells.

“I look back at Scarborough, the way he bowled at Kane was like watching Test cricket for me.

“We all said that and he looked like getting him out all the time — one of the top players in the world.

“Then against Surrey on the final day you think ‘wow, this is a lad who has really got a really bright future'.

“He is going to be inconsistent as well. He is only young. Consistency often comes with experience so we can’t expect that every time he goes out and bowls.

"He won’t get it right at times so we have to be patient with that. But he is a handful. I’m glad I’m not batting against him! We are blessed with some of our bowling talent.”

The County bid to win their final two Championship matches and hope other results go favourably to climb out of the bottom two.

Sharp added: “Saturday was a wonderful day and occasion for us all. These things don’t come around very often.

“Sometimes in cricket you feel you are having more bad days than good.

“I can always remember something Saeed Ajmal said after we had lost a game. He made me laugh when he said ‘cricket — 70 per cent cry, 30 per cent happy’.

“I’ve never actually forgotten that. We’ve had a bit of that 30 per cent.

“You work so hard, everyone does right across the club, and everybody wants to win something and it doesn’t happen that often.

“For us to do that on Saturday, we have to treasure that, cherish it, always remember it.

“Yet Tuesday is another day. We’ve done that now and have got two Championship matches to play.

“We’ve got to win them both and the other results would have to go our way for us to stay up but we will give it our very best.

"It might be easier by winning on Saturday than if we had lost.

“I think there will be a lot of excitement. The lads will be bubbling and they know what they have to do.

“But in fairness although we are bottom of the Championship we have competed very well.

“There have been a few times where we just haven’t been able to get over the line and sometimes seize the key moments in games.

“We just had a game against Surrey where it’s gone toe-to-toe with the county champions so that shows what we can do.”