SECOND SEASON syndrome is a common expression in the sporting lexicon.
Roughly translated, it means that a club or player struggles after a successful first year.
Going into the cricket season that ends this week, Yorkshire pace bowler Ben Coad was determined that it was not going to happen to him.
Coad was the biggest success story of the club’s 2017 campaign, capturing 50 County Championship wickets at an average of 20.86, and he was anxious to “back it up”.
Going into Monday’s final match away to Worcestershire, with Yorkshire needing a maximum of two points to guarantee their Division One survival (but only if Lancashire pocket a maximum of 24 points away to Hampshire), it is fair to say that it has been a case, for Coad, of job well done.
The 24-year-old has collected 42 Championship wickets this season at an average of 15.78, playing four games fewer than the 12 he appeared in last year due to a side injury.
Going into this year there was a lot of expectation on seeing whether I could do it again, and to back it up like I have done, I’m very pleased with how I’ve gone.Ben Coad
Now recovered, and second only to Jack Brooks (44 at 28.79) in the club’s wicket-taking charts, Coad can look back with pride on another strong year.
It was a year that was capped – quite literally – by the award of his county cap before last week’s match against Hampshire at Headingley, which he described as a “big surprise” and a “massive honour”.
Coad wears cap number 182 and he is up there on the honours board with the greats of the past, proving that he has been anything but a one-season wonder.
“Last year was a great breakthrough year for me,” he said.
“Going into this year there was a lot of expectation on seeing whether I could do it again, and to back it up like I have done, I’m very pleased with how I’ve gone.
“Obviously, I’ve got a long way to go overall, and there’s a big transition going on at the club at the minute, and a lot of youngsters coming through.
“Hopefully, I can help lead the attack and drag some of the younger lads with me and keep performing as I have done the last couple of years.”
There will be even more onus on Coad next summer with Brooks going to Somerset on a three-year deal.
It means that Coad and the likes of Matthew Fisher, along with old stagers such as Steve Patterson and Tim Bresnan, will be flying the pace bowling flag with a little help from new signing Mathew Pillans.
For Coad, it represents an exciting challenge, and he believes that Yorkshire will learn much from this year’s struggles – particularly the younger players in the squad.
“We know that we don’t want to be down at the wrong end of the table as we have been this year,” he said.
“We want to be challenging for the title again.
“But this period was always coming when you saw the lads that were leaving and the fact that the younger lads that are coming through, and we’ve bounced back really well in the last few weeks.
“Looking ahead, the young lads can learn a lot from this season – the likes of Harry Brook, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Matthew Fisher, Jonny Tattersall – there’s a lot of young players who will only benefit from the experience of this season.
“Hopefully, we will see some really good progress in the next couple of years.”
Yorkshire squad: Ballance, Bresnan, Brook, Brooks, Coad, Kohler-Cadmore, Leaning, Logan, Lyth, Patterson, Raval, Shaw, Tattersall, Waite.