CHEERING and clapping could be heard emanating from the Yorkshire dressing room before the 257th Roses match.
It is normally the other way round – the cheering and clapping takes place after the match when Yorkshire have won.
But Saturday marked a break with tradition.
Andrew Gale, the Yorkshire captain, presented caps to three players – Jack Leaning, Azeem Rafiq and David Willey – amid warm applause from their county colleagues.
Gale quipped that he felt like Santa Claus as he dispensed his gifts in the bowels of Old Trafford.
There is no prouder moment for a Yorkshire cricketer than to receive his cap, the most prestigious honour that the club can bestow.
Usually, caps are given out at Scarborough, and the trio will be re-presented during the Festival later this month by John Hampshire, the Yorkshire president, for the benefit of the club’s members and supporters.
Anyone who thinks that the cap meant more in Hampshire’s day – the former England batsman received his own in 1963 – was not in the Yorkshire dressing room on Saturday, with director of cricket Martyn Moxon describing a passionate scene.
“It’s been a big day for the club, and we’ve just come out of a really emotional dressing room,” said Moxon.
“It’s a very proud day for any Yorkshire cricketer to receive their cap, and we had three very proud young men in there.
“It’s a huge tradition for the club, and there is a great value placed on receiving a cap.
“They’re hugely prestigious, and it means just as much to this generation as it did to those pulling on the jersey way back when.”