Familiar name launches career as youthful Yorkshire stumble

FOR the first time since September 5, 1930, Yorkshire fielded a W. Rhodes in a competitive match.

Yorkshire's Will Rhodes (second right) is congratulated by Gary Ballance (right) on the wicket of Glamorgan's Jim Allenby. Picture: swpix.com

William Henry Michael Rhodes – Will to his friends – made his List A debut as Yorkshire lost by 28 runs against Glamorgan.

The 18-year-old all-rounder, who plays for the county’s Academy side, took 1-33 from five overs as Glamorgan scored 285-7 after winning the toss.

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Batting at No 8, he then struck 18 before being bowled by Will Owen as Yorkshire responded with 257, losing their opening game in the 40-over competition for the fifth time in six seasons.

If Rhodes – born in Nottingham and educated in East Yorkshire – goes on to build a career even a fraction as successful as his namesake Wilfred, what a wonderful career he would have enjoyed.

Wilfred Rhodes, one of the game’s greatest all-rounders, scored the small matter of 39,969 first-class runs and took a world record 4,204 wickets.

His final appearance for Yorkshire came at the grand old age of 52 at the 1930 Scarborough Festival.

He played two further games at that year’s festival, for Lord Hawke’s XI against MCC and for HDG Leveson-Gower’s XI against the touring Australians, to finish with 1,110 first-class appearances – another world record.

In exact contrast to Wilfred Rhodes, Will bats left-handed and bowls right, and he is a medium-pacer as opposed to a spinner.

In exact contrast to Wilfred also, he is not averse to throwing himself around in the field, and a couple of magnificent diving stops were complemented by a fine catch at deep mid-wicket to dismiss Murray Goodwin off Rich Pyrah in the latter stages of the Glamorgan innings.

Yet the fact that Rhodes was selected to play in this match, as Yorkshire undertook their first competitive game under their new nickname of Yorkshire Vikings, belied the fact that the county are treating this competition in a certain way.

They perceive it not only as a chance to blood youngsters such as Rhodes – who equipped himself well in challenging circumstances – but also to rest experienced players.

In sunny conditions at the Rhos-on-Sea ground, with a biting wind buffeting the 2,000-strong crowd, Yorkshire rested three of their front-line seam attack with an eye on tomorrow’s County Championship match against Somerset at Headingley.

Ryan Sidebottom, Jack Brooks and Liam Plunkett were therefore omitted, while Steve Patterson’s selection was a strong hint that he will be the one who makes way tomorrow for the returning Sidebottom, who was himself rotated for the county’s last Championship fixture.

It was not a makeshift Yorkshire side that succumbed at the seaside, however, but one bolstered by the presence of England stars Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow, who made their final appearances for the club before the international summer begins in earnest.

Root and Bairstow are playing this week for the England Lions against the New Zealanders, with whom they are then set to resume hostilities in the two-Test series at Lord’s and Headingley.

Although Root signed off with a second ball duck, pulling to deep mid-wicket as Yorkshire lost two wickets in the first four balls of their reply, Bairstow played a blistering innings that at one stage threatened an improbable win.

The wicketkeeper crashed 53 from 36 balls with seven fours and a six but his departure, which left Yorkshire 186-6 in the 31st over, effectively ended their challenge after they were stymied by that stuttering start, which also included the dismissal of Phil Jaques for a golden duck. Andrew Gale produced his first notable score of the season, making 65 from 67 deliveries, and Gary Ballance struck 50 from 65 balls, the pair sharing a third-wicket stand of 92 in 19 overs that did much to keep Yorkshire in the hunt.

But, although Rhodes and Adil Rashid huffed and puffed towards the end, Rashid striking an unbeaten 42 from 28 deliveries, Yorkshire fell short in an entertaining contest.

On a day when Iain Wardlaw, Moin Ashraf and Pyrah made their first appearances of the summer, Glamorgan began well against some fairly mixed bowling.

Patterson was generally good from the Embankment End, conceding 28 of the 69 runs swatted in the first 10 overs, and claiming the only wicket to fall during that period, that of wicketkeeper Mark Wallace, bowled for 10.

Will Bragg led the home side’s charge, reaching a fine half-century from 48 balls before giving it away next ball when he tried to thump Pyrah through mid-wicket and lost his off bail. Thus the tone was set for a match in which six players – three on either team – reached fifty but no-one made more than the 68 by Glamorgan captain Marcus North.

Chris Cooke struck 58 before he was third out, caught and bowled by Patterson, before Rhodes got in on the act when he had Jim Allenby caught by Root running in from long-on.

Rhodes would have had a second wicket had Wardlaw not dropped Goodwin at mid-off, Pyrah removing the former Sussex batsman in addition to having North caught and bowled and Graham Wagg lbw en route to figures of 4-43.