Ian Dews has spoken of an encouraging and fruitful start to the summer for Yorkshire’s second-team and Academy sides.
The club’s Second XI coach and Academy director is delighted with the progression of a number of teenagers, who have been given their first taste of senior cricket.
Dews has also revealed how the ECB’s one-point penalty came about following Tom Loten’s bat not matching the required size in a one-day Trophy match against Durham last month.
He said: “We’ve gone really well considering the age profile, especially in the second team.
“With injuries and IPL stuff, from believing at the start of the season that I’d have a senior strong side, we’ve played three under 17s, which is good because they’ll all have benefitted.
“At the start of the season, I was thinking ‘I’m going to struggle to get some of these young lads in’. But, as we move on, they’ll have played major parts.
“Performances have been good. Without anybody standing out massively in terms of big hundreds or five-fors, they’ve all contributed. Hopefully that will stand these lads in good stead when they go back to their peer groups.
“We had done really well in the white ball competition, but unfortunately that one point docked was a blow in terms of semi-final qualification. That’s disappointing.
“But the way we’ve performed has been really good after losing the first game (against Leicestershire at Stamford Bridge). We’ve shown lot of character.”
Regarding the aforementioned trio of under 17s, Dews continued: “George Hill has come in and impressed everybody. He’s one of those lads where you are thinking ‘It might not be long before we’re looking to do a Harry Brook with him and push him through’.
“He’s not going to be available for three or four weeks until school finishes, which is a shame.
“We’ll see him on the odd Sunday we have a game, but he has to play for school because he’s on a scholarship. But he’s had a decent run in the side, so taking him out and giving him a chance to have a break might not be a bad thing either.
“James Wharton went to Warwickshire (three-day Championship game) and opened the batting with Leesy, which was a great experience for him.
“He made 37 in the first innings against (Boyd) Rankin, (Chris) Wright, (Will) Rhodes and (Henry) Brookes – basically a first-class attack – and looked the part.
“He’ll now go back to under 17s, and hopefully he will go and dominate. Maybe later in the season, when we get the opportunity, we can get him back in and see how he’s progressed.
“Josh Sullivan, the leg-spinner, has also played.
“He played in a game against Durham at Headingley and bowled at a time when they were looking to declare. They went hard at him, but he bowled well. It’s a lesson he will learn from.
“He’s bowled nicely without yet coming into his own on a Saturday (in the Academy). I’m really pleased with him.
“Hopefully he’ll get more opportunities.”
On the other hand, the likes of Adil Rashid, Jack Brooks, Alex Lees and Andrew Hodd have all played second-team cricket this summer.
“When Galey sends one to us to play, myself and Richard Damms urge the younger lads to tap into their knowledge and experience.
“Leesy spent quite a bit of time chatting to James Wharton about batting.
“James Logan has done really well, and we’ve asked him to tap into Hoddy and give him feedback on how he’s been going.
“We as coaches only see it from a distance, but lads can see it at the time and help them out. It’s the same situation with Matthew Taylor and Brooksy. You can’t buy that sort of experience.”
Unfortunately for Yorkshire, the seconds were docked one point in the one-day Trophy competition due to Loten’s oversized bat in a clash with Durham, something that Dews described as an honest mistake.
“It appears to have been extra tape and the face cover,” he explained.
“To be fair to ECB, they do say that bats have to pass through their testing equipment even with tape on.
“It had passed the test in the winter when we did all the Academy bats. But this bat needed tidying up since.
“It has to pass through without force, and it’s plastic (testing equipment) on a plastic face cover and tape. Unfortunately, it stuck.
“I think it’s going to be really difficult moving forward.
“Next year, it becomes law in the Premier Leagues.
“If the bat starts off ok and you get a big inside edge and it crushes the edge out a bit, then you could fail the test.
“Unfortunately, not all lads have four or five bats to choose from. They have to tape it up and make it last for the year.
“Technically, we should have checked it on the morning, but it wasn’t a case of us setting out to do anything wrong. It was just one of those horrible things, especially for Tom. The ECB understood that.
“Now he has two bats he can’t use because both his bats are older.
“We’ll be asking Gunn and Moore to get them replaced, but he’s not one of those players who gets bats on demand. He gets so many for the season and that’s it. It could be a case of ‘Go and buy your own, I’m afraid’.”
Moving on to the Academy, who are mid-table in the Yorkshire Premier League North.
“The first couple of games we played against York and Harrogate, two of the better sides you will face. And we were well beaten,” said Dews.
“But we’ve gone very young this time. It’s probably one of the least experienced sides we’ve had for many years. They’ve started to pick up, though.
“To begin with, we either had very comfortable wins or comfortable defeats. But in the cup last Sunday, we won a pressurised game (against Driffield Town).
“So we are seeing good signs.
“But we are hoping to keep them going through exam time at the moment.
“Lads have been revising while they weren’t batting or in the car on the way to games.
“Whatever we get at this time of the season is a bonus. We say to the lads ‘Let’s use it as a break from study. But when you are studying, forget cricket’.
“It’s something we see every year for two or three weeks in the middle of June and into July, and we try to keep it quite low key.
“We’ve had some very good individual performances.
“Tom Loten’s been outstanding in every innings he’s had, Billy Whitford came in and did well. We’ve also had a couple of lads getting scores in their first games. It’s very encouraging.”