Glamorgan v Yorkshire CCC – Debutant Harry Duke settles quickly on mixed day for visitors
IT IS not only policemen who seem to be getting younger.
Cricketers, too, appear more youthful by the day, and certainly more confident than they ever used to be.
There were certainly no outward signs of nerves or butterflies in the young man keeping wicket for Yorkshire yesterday.
His name was Harry Duke and the 19-year-old approached his first-class debut with all the surety of a veteran who had made several hundred appearances.
The first sign was in the voice, which reverberated around Sophia Gardens as he shouted all manner of encouragement to his more experienced colleagues.
“Good start here, boys. Good start here, fellas,” yelled Duke, after Glamorgan had been sent into bat as the game finally got going after the first day washout, the hosts totalling 149 before Yorkshire reached 69-4.
Granted, such pronouncements nowadays are par for the course, but they betrayed a certain chutzpah and ease with his surroundings. The only pity was that Duke did not take a catch that his glovework merited; short and slim, he kept every bit as tidily as he appeared physically, his white gloves immaculate, his pads pristine, the peak of his dark blue Yorkshire Academy cap glinting in the intermittent sunshine.
To watch the young man go about his work – brought in as a replacement for the out-of-sorts Jonny Tattersall – was to be put in mind of a duracell bunny.
Duke spent much of his time standing up to the stumps against the quicker bowlers, bringing lbw into play against batsmen thus compelled to stay in the crease, Yorkshire winning four such decisions on a green-tinged, two-paced pitch with variable bounce.
The overriding impression, though, was of a confident cricketer who looked as if he belonged – just as Martyn Moxon, the Yorkshire director of cricket, had predicted.
“I was nervous inside,” laughed Duke, who did his county and his family back home watching the coverage proud. “It’s a childhood dream to play for Yorkshire at this level, so I want to try and enjoy every moment.
“I’m sure mum, dad and probably granddad were watching back home with a few cups of tea, although dad was probably walking up and down the living room, barely able to watch.
“I sort of said to myself that once I got the first ball in the gloves I’ll be alright, and I kicked on from there, and the lads bowled outstandingly well.”
Such had been the extent and severity of the rain in Cardiff during the previous 36 hours, which had left puddles on the outfield and the adjacent parkland muddy and forlorn, it was a testament to the quick-drying nature of the ground that play was able to start on time in much fairer weather.
There was a spring freshness in the air and birdsong on the breeze as Ben Coad and Jordan Thompson took the new ball beneath initially overcast skies, both men striking during their opening spells: Coad trapping the Australian batsman Marnus Labuschagne as he defended with a bat that was pointing towards mid-on, and Thompson having Joe Cooke lbw as he played around his front pad.
David Lloyd – no, not that one –was dropped twice off Coad, with Joe Root unable to hold a tough opportunity high above his head at fourth slip and Harry Brook shelling a much easier chance at third, moving to his right.
But when Lloyd left a ball from Steve Patterson that hit his off stump, Glamorgan collapsed from 69-2 to 73-6 in a dramatic period just before lunch, Kiran Carlson edging Patterson to first slip before Billy Root chipped back a return catch to Brook, who then trapped Dan Douthwaite for no score.
Brook won another lbw decision shortly after lunch, Chris Cooke the victim as the Yorkshire batsman captured a career-best 3-15 with his medium pace, and although Michael Neser and Andrew Salter struck useful 24s, the recovery was shortlived.
Thompson had Neser caught low down at second slip, Patterson had Timm van der Gugten taken low down at first (the Yorkshire captain’s 400th Championship wicket), and Michael Hogan chipped David Willey to mid-off.
The clatter of wickets did not stop there – in fact, it initially accelerated.
Lyth fell to the sixth ball of the reply, brilliantly caught by a diving Carlson at mid-wicket off Neser. Kohler-Cadmore had his off stump uprooted leaving one from Hogan, and Yorkshire were 10-3 at tea when Gary Ballance uppercut Neser to third man.
In the final session, which began after Billy Root received his Glamorgan cap on the boundary edge as his elder brother Joe walked past applauding to resume his innings, Brook was pinned deep in the crease by Neser.
As the light closed in and more rain threatened, causing the groundstaff to loiter like teenagers on a street corner, Root senior batted well in company with Dom Bess.
Root had reached 34 and Bess 16 when the umpires took the players from the field at 5.35pm with 23 overs left, the official call-off arriving an hour later.
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