If and when Fin Bean walks out to bat at Clifton Park for Yorkshire in next week’s pair of Metro Bank One-Day Cup games against Surrey and Hampshire on Tuesday and Thursday, it will be a proud moment for everyone connected with York Cricket Club.
Bean has come through the ranks from schoolboy to senior with the Yorkshire Premier League North club, most notably impressing at the start of last year and catching the eye of the Yorkshire coaches who offered him a route back into professional cricket.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Left-handed opener Bean, 21, is now making waves in Yorkshire’s first team.
He has established himself in the Championship side with three hundreds already in his first full season, and has been given the job of facing the new ball in the early stages of the MB50, in which two fixtures have already been rained off.
“We can’t wait to see Fin playing for Yorkshire here,” said York secretary Nick Kay.
“There will be plenty in the crowd who are very proud because he’s been with us since he was 11, 12 or 13 – I can’t remember exactly, it’s been that long.
“When he first joined, I was his captain in the second team.
“He’s always been a very talented lad, and it doesn’t surprise me where he’s got to.
“He always had a fantastic technique, but in the very early days he was quite a slight lad. He had all the shots but perhaps not the power. Now he’s a big 6ft strapping fella with that added to his game.
“We’re delighted for him because he obviously didn’t have a contract at the start of last season. He came and worked really hard with us here at York, and he scored a lot of runs.
“He was given another chance and obviously got that 441 for the second XI. He’s never looked back since.
“I’m not saying we take any credit because he’s done it all himself. But we provided with him a platform on a good pitch with good facilities. Thank goodness Yorkshire signed him because he’s been absolutely tremendous hasn’t he.”
Of course, York should take credit. League clubs all across the county who nurture talent play a major part in the success of our county club.
Alongside developing players, York have a long-standing history of success on the field.
They won a record 14 Yorkshire League titles between 1951 and 2015. Upon the formation of the Premier League structure within the Broad Acres, they have won the YPL North title twice in 2017 and 2018. They are two-time national club champions (1975 and 2012), added to winning three Black Sheep Trophy titles between 2009 and 2017.
“As a club, our ambition is always to challenge for the YPL North title,” said Kay. “We’ve been unsuccessful with that for the last four or five years, falling short – last year especially (second to Driffield Town).
“We had a strong start to this season and were top at halfway. But we’ve had a bit of a wobble with two or three defeats recently.
“We’ve dropped back a bit, but there’s still five games to go and we have to play a number of teams around us. There’s still plenty of time.”
York are currently fourth in a log-jammed table. Only 10 points – the maximum haul for a win – separate leaders Castleford (118) from fifth-placed Clifton Alliance (108). York have 110 points.
“We’re also in the Yorkshire League Cup final on September 3 against Castleford. That’s really pleasing,” continued Kay.
“It’s a competition we haven’t actually won since the leagues separated into the Premier League structure. That will be a tremendous afternoon at Beverley Town.
“We still thought it would be a season of progression and building, with two or three new players.
“We’re happy with our position. But it would be nice to finish off the season with some silverware.”
Having played host to a plethora of second-team, women’s and representative matches, York hosted their maiden Yorkshire first-team fixture at Clifton Park in June 2019 when Warwickshire won a thrilling County Championship fixture.
The club have since hosted four One-Day Cup games – two apiece in 2021 and 2022.
They have each been played in the space of three days in mini festival style occasions, including last season’s Roses clash with Lancashire when 4,500 visited on a blazing hot day.
“This is the biggest week of the year for us as a club,” said Kay.
“It’s the one which myself and the committee members look forward to the most. There’s a lot of hard work and some sleepless nights. But the rewards for the last three or four years have been there.
“The spectators come, the marquee’s always full, and touch wood we’ve managed to put on a good show. If we didn’t, Yorkshire wouldn’t come back. We must be doing something right.”
Kay believes crowds of 3,000 for each of the two games next week would be a success and has urged spectators to bring their own chairs to sit around the boundary: “That just alleviates a bit of space here and there,” he said.
So how does Kay compare hosting a Championship fixture to a couple of 50-over fixtures in a week. Which provides the greater challenge?
“That’s a really good question, and I was chatting to our chairman (Nigel Durham) about this and what we’d do if we were offered another four-day game,” he added.
“I don’t think it’s harder because we’ve gone through the same processes for both in the last few years.
“Turning the hospitality around in a four-day game is harder because you only have the night to do it. With the one-dayers, it’s quite helpful that there’s a day in between.
“Staging costs of a Championship game were significantly more, so there was that to consider.
“But I absolutely loved the fact we hosted a Championship game. From my point of view, it’s what county cricket’s all about. I would always accept a Championship game again.
“It is a little bit more intense. But, look, whatever we get offered by Yorkshire, we’ll accept. It’s as simple as that.”
Clearly, York has enjoyed a successful history. Though they have not been a club immune to heartbreak, especially recently.
In early 2020, their long-standing first-team captain Dan Woods lost his battle with cancer aged 32. Likewise, earlier this year, club scorer Kevin Hutchinson – he also scored within the Yorkshire women’s set-up since 2016 – passed away following a cancer battle.
Next week will clearly be time to celebrate the development of a young gun such as Bean, but it will also be a time to reflect on the immense contributions of two absent friends.