FOR A man with the initials “WAR”, it should come as no surprise that Will Fraine is a batsman who likes to wreak savagery and slaughter.
William Alan Richard Fraine, to give him his full name, visited chaos and carnage on Northamptonshire yesterday, the 26-year-old striking 143 from 107 balls with 12 fours and eight sixes in a brutal display of butchery and power.
It was the highest score of his professional career, beating his only previous century (106 in a County Championship match against Surrey at Scarborough in 2019), and it royally entertained a crowd of around 3,000 at the Clifton Park venue, which should really have turned up wearing tin hats.
More importantly for Yorkshire, it inspired a winning start to their 50-over tournament, the hosts prevailing by 33 runs.
On a day when morning rain reduced the match to 46 overs per side, before sunshine graced this delightful outground shaded by trees, it was by no means a one-man show as Fraine’s exploits were complemented by those of Harry Duke and Will Luxton as Yorkshire totalled 353-5 on a good pitch.
Duke, the 20-year-old wicketkeeper, scored 111 from 107 balls with 13 fours, sharing with Fraine an opening stand of 209 inside 30 overs, and Luxton, the 19-year-old, struck 84 from 53 balls with 10 fours and three sixes, the highest score of his fledgling career.
Although Fraine has been around for a while now (the Huddersfield-born right-hander played county age-group cricket for Yorkshire before joining his native county in late 2018 on a three-year deal from Notts), Duke and Luxton are very much at the beginning of their journeys.
On this evidence, the future is bright.
Another fine prospect is Ben Cliff, a 19-year-old pace bowler who was making his first-team debut along with Harry Sullivan, also 19, a left-arm spinner.
As Northants were dismissed for 320, Cliff struck with the fourth ball of the innings and of his Yorkshire career when Ricardo Vasconcelos got a leading edge to Dom Bess at mid-on.
Tall and strong, the right-armer Cliff has something about him - as does Sullivan, who was similarly pleased to take his first wicket for the club when Rob Keogh lofted to Bess at long-off.
It was a key scalp, Keogh’s departure for 59 leaving Northants 237-5 in the 34th over, and a second one followed when Sullivan bowled James Sales as he tried to hit through the offside.
After Northants chose to bowl beneath initially overcast skies, Fraine dominated the opening exchanges. Tall and lean, a batsman who combines butchery and elegance, the right-hander drove forcibly, pulled savagely and showed his silkiness in the shape of late-cuts that fair sped across the turf.
When he gave full rein to his primaeval strength, Fraine rained sixes on to the white marquee, into the tennis courts, over the pavilion and even towards the press box balcony, which almost prevented this match report from being compiled and due praise conferred on its swashbuckling hero.
On days such as these, when he looks in full control of himself and his game, Fraine is a great asset for Yorkshire, a player with the potential to develop further in all forms of the game.
Ditto Duke, who had 38 to his name when Fraine reached his century from 85 balls. Duke played something of a backseat role before going into the main driver’s chair, a player with more scoops in his armoury than the ice-cream van located on the ground.
After Fraine slashed to backward-point and departed to the strains of a standing ovation, Duke proceeded to his hundred from 97 balls and Luxton to his half-century from 35 deliveries, the pair adding 134 inside 15 overs to lead Yorkshire towards their imposing total.
Luxton holed out to long-off and Duke was caught behind trying to scoop, then Bess was bowled and Matthew Revis run-out in the final over.
Following Cliff’s early breakthrough in the Northants reply, Ben Coad had Emilio Gay steering to Fraine at slip.
Will Young, the New Zealand batsman, and Saif Zaib added 82 inside 13 overs before Zaib’s eyes lit up at a delivery from Bess, to which he came down the pitch, missed and was smartly stumped by Jonny Tattersall, the new Yorkshire captain.
Young went on to the top score of 91 from 64 balls with 12 fours and two sixes before pulling Coad to Sullivan at mid-on.
After Sullivan’s double strike, Bess had Tom Taylor caught-and-bowled and Buck caught at deep-square leg by Fraine.
Lewis McManus threatened a heist with a fine 82 from 63 balls with five fours and four sixes, but Tom Loten trapped him leg-before and then had Jack White pulling to mid-on.