A quick glance of the county scores this morning and a few names caught my attention.
James Killer Weighell, surprisingly underplayed then released by Durham, is turning out for Leicestershire. Meanwhile another all-rounder, Yorkshire’s Ed Barnes, is making his professional debut as a loanee at Derbyshire. Barnes was actually loaned out to Sussex last season but didn’t make it onto the field. Wicketkeeper Brooke Guest is also on loan at Derbyshire but his move will become permanent next season.
Tom Loten, George Hill and Jared Warner are among the reasons that the aforementioned Barnes has had to go out on loan. All are playing for Yorkshire, alongside more established young players such as Jordon Thompson and Harry Brook. Dawid Malan, fresh from a double ton but only just back from injury, joins Zimbabwe born Gary Ballance on the sidelines.
Fellow Zimbabwe born player Nathan Gilchrist is making his premier professional outing for Kent on loan from Somerset. Meanwhile Blake Cullen and Will Sheffield are also registering their professional debuts as Middlesex host Sussex.
Spinner Simon Kerrigan, infamously once capped at Test level for England, is representing Northamptonshire and the very best of luck to him and all the players mentioned above.
Isn’t it great to have some First Class county cricket to follow?
My third season in charge of my native Yorkshire followed a familiar pattern. We made a reasonable start to the County Championship before plummeting into the relegation zone. Last season’s star performer Nathan Ellis earning international (Australian) recognition didn’t help! We fought back however to stave off relegation and preserve our first division status once again.
We failed to buck the trend in white-ball cricket too. As usual we were stripped of nearly an entire playing XI come the One-Day competition as players sauntered off to The Hundred. We made an horrific start and genuinely looked like we’d struggle to win a single game. We did however as a number of young players displayed glimpses of quality and even hinted at consistency. Sadly though, we finished bottom of our group.
It was a similar story in the T20 format where, despite a few wins, we were left to dine using a wooden spoon!
Despite our white-ball travails, there were some hugely encouraging signs of progress from a number of our less experienced players. Our batting unit isn’t getting any younger (Lyth, Ballance, Malan) but we’ve already begun the transition phase and I’m confident that some players (Jon Baldwin & Jon Francis among them) can really push on next season.
Among this season’s highlights were match figures of 10-169 for rejuvenated off-spinner Jack Shutt who also notched a maiden First Class ton. All-rounder Ed Barnes scored a second County Championship century and claimed a maiden five-wicket haul in the same game while opener James Wharton produced a knock of 135 in a One-Day game.
We had to make some really tough decisions at the end of the season and I’m sorry to say that the following players have not had their contracts renewed: Will Fraine, Tom Loten, Adil Rashid, David Willey, Duanne Olivier, Matthew Pillans and Josh Poysden
We have however recruited Feroze Khushi, Sam Cook, Brett Hutton and Brett D’Oliveira who bring a strong skillset to compliment what we already have. Roll on 2023!