George Hill, Matthew Waite, Harry Duke and the rest of Pyrah’s Pups did Yorkshire CCC and themselves proud
The young team coached by Rich Pyrah did Yorkshire proud in the Royal London Cup, even if it will be 20 years since the club last won a one-day trophy when they take to the field in the tournament next summer.
Considering the tools at Pyrah’s disposal, with Yorkshire missing an entire complement of players due to The Hundred and also international cricket, the interim coach did a fine job.
So too his young charges, with a side that featured six debutants at various stages finishing third in their group – actually joint-top on points behind Glamorgan and Surrey – before defeat in the quarter-final eliminator at Essex.
Although Yorkshire were comfortably beaten at Chelmsford, where a 129-run setback provided something of a flat finish for “Pyrah’s Pups”, Yorkshire’s answer to “Ben’s Babes”, indeed, as Ben Stokes’s emergency ODI squad was called earlier this year, it did not mask the positives of their 50-over campaign.
We saw the emergence of the debutants mentioned – Messrs Harry Duke, George Hill, Will Luxton, Matthew Revis, Jack Shutt and Josh Sullivan, along with splendid contributions from slightly more established although still young players.
Matthew Waite, for example, the 25-year-old all-rounder who took his chance after so many injuries.
Waite topped the batting averages with 39.75 and was leading wicket-taker with 12 at 26.66; he also thumped the most sixes (eight) after a winter spent working on his rope-clearing talents.
It was great to see Waite back on the park – ever-present, in fact – and clearly relishing his cricket again. Like Jordan Thompson, who is away at The Hundred, Waite has the knack of making things happen.
Another 25-year-old, Will Fraine, was Yorkshire’s leading run-scorer in the One-Day Cup, with 227 at 32.42.
Although Fraine felt frustrated that he sometimes got starts without going on, he showed enough during those starts – and specifically during a magnificent unbeaten 69 against Derbyshire at Chesterfield – that he is as good a ball-striker as the club possesses, hitting more boundaries, in fact, than anybody else (34).
If Fraine, whose 19-ball half-century at Chesterfield was the fastest in Yorkshire’s one-day history, can add a little more permanence to the flashes of flair, he can shine for the club in all formats of the game.
Hill, the 20-year-old all-rounder, was particularly impressive to these eyes of the clutch of youngsters who broke through, with all enhancing their reputations during the tournament.
Not only was he the second-highest run-scorer with 222 at 37.00, but also the second-highest wicket-taker with 10 at 24.90.
Along with Duke, the 19-year-old wicketkeeper/batsman, Hill masterminded the highlight of the competition when Yorkshire chased 328 to beat Leicestershire at Grace Road, the third-highest successful chase in their history. Duke hit 125, his maiden hundred, and Hill was left just 10 shy of his as he finished unbeaten on 90. Yorkshire have a couple of good ‘uns in Hill and Duke, both of whom have played Championship cricket this season and looked the part.
It is almost two years since Revis’s solitary first-class appearance, in the ill-fated game against Kent at Headingley, when the club fell to a record 433-run defeat and a man at the opposite end of the career spectrum, Darren Stevens, hit a double century and took seven wickets in the match.
Revis, now 19, impressed with his batting and also his bowling in the RLC. He had three scores of 40-plus and, encouraged by Pyrah to be more aggressive, put in some useful shifts with the ball. Once again, a bright future awaits.
Ditto for Luxton, an 18-year-old who announced himself with 68 on debut against Northamptonshire at Scarborough.
Fraine paid him a nice compliment when interviewed after his fifty at Chesterfield – “Will Luxton, what a player he’s going to be,” he said. “He’s only 18, and yet he’s looking so comfortable out there, so natural.”
Another who impressed was leg-spinner Sullivan, 21, who will challenge the likes of Shutt, the 24-year-old off-spin bowler. Sullivan took three wickets in four balls in the victory at Chesterfield to show his potential.
One could go on, but you already know about the likes of Gary Ballance, Mat Pillans and Jonny Tattersall, all of whom chipped in at various stages.
The biggest plusses were the young lads who perhaps you had never heard of prior to the competition, but who you may well be hearing plenty more about in the months and years to come.