Leaving Yorkshire CCC was not an ‘easy decision’, admits Josh Shaw

THERE is perhaps no more difficult decision for a professional cricketer than to leave his native county.

Headingley exit: Yorkshire bowler Josh Shaw rejected a contract extension in favour of moving to Gloucestershire.

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Josh Shaw was not getting the number of first-team opportunities that he wanted at Yorkshire so, reluctantly, the 23-year-old pace bowler has opted to head for pastures new.

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Having already had several spells on loan at Gloucestershire, including two this season, Shaw has rejoined the County Championship Second Division side on loan until the end of the summer ahead of a three-year contract starting thereafter.

It may not be long before he is back playing at Emerald Headingley; Gloucestershire are third in the table, level on points with second-placed Glamorgan, as they target promotion back to a First Division in which Yorkshire are also third.

Born in Wakefield and a former England U19 cricketer, Shaw was offered a contract extension but turned it down.

Yorkshire are well stocked with seam bowlers so he has chosen to return to a club coached by Richard Dawson, the former Yorkshire and England off-spinner, and goes straight into Gloucestershire’s squad for tomorrow’s Championship match away to Derbyshire.

Shaw played eight first-class games for Yorkshire from 2016 and five times in T20 cricket.

“Being able to pull that White Rose on and play for Yorkshire has been a real honour,” Shaw said.

“I have been fortunate to achieve what all club cricketers in this county dream of, represent Yorkshire, and I have done so for the last 13 years: firstly at schoolboy level through to the Academy and then on to the professional ranks with the second and first eleven.

“I’ve had much help and encouragement from numerous coaches and administrators and would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved.

“It wasn’t an easy decision, but sometimes you’ve got to do these things to get the best out of yourself, and the main aim for me now will be to target playing regular first-team cricket in all three forms.”

Martyn Moxon, Yorkshire’s director of cricket, did not wish to see Shaw leave but understands the player’s decision.

“We offered Josh a contract extension but, ultimately, it’s his decision to accept Gloucestershire’s offer,” he said.

“The thinking for him is that, in the short-term, he’s probably got a better chance of playing first-team cricket there.

“We’re disappointed to lose him, but we understand Josh’s reasoning and wish him well for the future.”

Shaw said that one of his most memorable experiences with Yorkshire was representing the county in last year’s Abu Dhabi T20 tournament.

He played in the fixtures against Lahore Qalandars and Hobart Hurricanes in an event that took place just after the English season.

“The one experience that stands out for me was the Abu Dhabi tournament in October, which was a great experience to test myself against different players in different conditions,” he said.

“I will always look back on those four days and think that I did myself and the club proud.

“Overall, when I’ve played (for Yorkshire), I feel like I’ve done alright.

“I’ve had opportunities, but it’s been later down the line in competitions.”

Shaw is set to receive a warm welcome back at Nevil Road.

Gloucestershire chief executive Will Brown said: “It is great to see Josh sign for the next three seasons and we look forward to him helping us progress across all formats.

“Already well known to many of us, he is a firm favourite of the Gloucestershire supporters and all at the club.

“We also have to pay tribute to the coaching team and management of Yorkshire for being so supportive and helpful during Josh’s time on loan with Gloucestershire.

“It is great to see such camaraderie across the game.”

Yorkshire suffered their fourth no-result in 10 matches when their T20 Blast game against Durham at Headingley last night fell foul of the weather.

The fixture was abandoned two hours ahead of the scheduled 7pm start, with both teams taking a point apiece.

Yorkshire remain rooted to the foot of the North Group after just one win so far, to go with four defeats and a tie.

Their next T20 match is the return fixture at Durham on Friday.