William Luxton: 18-year-old from Keighley catches eye as Yorkshire’s Royal London game with Northants at Scarborough is rained off

WILLIAM LUXTON sounds like the sort of name that you might find on the High Street, alongside Ted Baker, John Lewis and Paul Smith.

Remember the name: William Luxton walks off to the applause of the North Marine Road crowd after an eye-catching 68 on his Yorkshire debut. (Picture: Will Palmer/SWPix.com)

William Luxton, however, is the name of Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s latest debutant, who shone up the road from the High Street in Scarborough at the famous cricket ground at North Marine Road.

The 18-year-old top-scored with 68 on his first-team debut as Yorkshire totalled 222 after being sent in to bat, Northants reaching 2-0 before rain washed out this 50-over game.

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It was a fine display by the club’s Academy captain, who was born in Keighley and who was watched here by his family – “somewhere in the posh seats”, as he later quipped.

William Luxton of Yorkshire hits out against Northamptonshire at Scarborough (Picture: Will Palmer/SWpix.com)

Batting at No 7, after Yorkshire slipped to 60-5, which then became 69-6, Luxton first added 52 for the seventh wicket with Matthew Waite and then 93 for the eighth with Mathew Pillans before being bowled in the 48th over, trying to fiddle a full-length ball from Wayne Parnell into the offside.

There was no nicer touch, as Luxton left to a standing ovation from the 2,169 crowd, than when Parnell gave him a friendly pat of appreciation on the arm in the way that we do in Covid times, stopping just short of the conventional handshake.

“It was a pretty good feeling out there,” said Luxton, the fifth debutant that Yorkshire have fielded in this year’s competition after Harry Duke, George Hill, Matthew Revis and Jack Shutt.

“The crowd was class and all my team-mates were right behind me.

Play was abandoned at North Marine Road, Scarborough, on Wednesday (Picture: Will Palmer/SWPix.com)

“It was a tricky pitch at the start, and our start wasn’t great, but we fought back well and thought that we could have won with the bowling attack we had.

“It was great to contribute – I’ve been going all right in the Academy this year – and hopefully I can get a run in the side.”

Luxton’s innings, on a day when the rain blew in on a stiff coastal breeze, was rendered more impressive by what came before. As in their opening One-Day Cup game here against Surrey last week, Yorkshire’s batting let them down, with wickets falling to good balls but also careless shots.

Duke was bowled through the gate by one that nipped back. Gary Ballance – leading Yorkshire for the first time since 2018 in the absence of England’s Dom Bess – was caught behind attempting to leave. Hill drove back a return catch. Will Fraine pulled down deep square-leg’s throat, as if the fielder had swallowed a magnet. Jonny Tattersall was also caught behind after being drawn forward. The picture was familiar, the scorecard bleak.

Mathew Pillans of Yorkshire provided ample support to WIlliam Luxton against Northamptonshire (Picture: Will Palmer/SWpix.com)

Enter Luxton...

Northants were convinced that they had him with five to his name, left-arm spinner Graeme White celebrating what he and his team-mates thought was a nick behind, umpire Steve O’Shaughnessy adjuding otherwise.

There was no such doubt about Revis’s dismissal, though, caught behind as he pushed at a ball away from his body. Luxton, who had got off the mark first ball with a confident pull to deep backward-square leg for a single, attacked with the fearlessness of youth and the facility of a veteran.

Tom Taylor, the seamer, was pulled for four and then driven handsomely through mid-on. Jack White, another making his one-day debut, albeit at the grand old age of 29, was also pulled to the boundary by Luxton and then lofted imperiously to the mid-wicket rope, the pace bowler having unsettled Yorkshire early on with some nice shape away from the right-handers.

Waite fell for a well-played 29, yorked by White’s spin straight after a drinks break, but Luxton continued on his merry way, pulling Parnell to the boundary and reaching his half-century from 72 deliveries.

Tall and lean, with curly blond hair, Luxton also showed considerable power for his wiry frame, lofting Taylor for sixes over long-off and long-on into the Peasholm Park end off successive balls, sending spectators into evasive action.

Pillans, too, played a fine hand, keeping the young man company and taking his scoring opportunities when they arose.

The South African had advanced to 40, his highest one-day score, when he was last out skying into the offside, just as Steve Patterson – playing after Duanne Olivier was forced to pull out with a sore back – had done moments before.

White and Taylor each took three wickets, and an interesting contest appeared to be building.

But only five balls of the Northants reply were possible on what turned into one of those horribly miserable seaside afternoons, one when the beach gets deserted and everyone escapes into William Luxton or its High Street equivalent in search of shelter and a bargain.