Winning is important, but it’s not everything. Development is.

That is the message head coach Richard Damms is giving as the Yorkshire Academy prepare to begin their Premier League North campaign on a week on Saturday.

The Academy travel to Harrogate (12pm) to kick off a summer which will hopefully bring points and player progression.

Make no mistake, Damms knows winning games is of significant importance.

That was shown only last year by the White Rose under 17s – a team he also coaches – as they tasted national success.

But with that came a step up in level for a number of players.

“What is success measured as?” he questioned.

“I also run the under 17s, and we won the national three-day County Championship. We beat Surrey in the final.

“That’s fantastic and really rewarding for the lads, but we also got some lads moving up the levels.

“We had two lads in the England under 19s on the back of it (George Hill and Dom Leech).

“We also had James Wharton, who captained brilliantly and scored 800 runs – more than anyone else in the country, going to the seconds and getting 160 in his second game.

“That’s what it’s all about.

“I always say to the lads at the start of the summer, ‘I want to get you out of this team into the seconds, but we’ll only do that by developing together’.

“If we win games as a result, which is massively importantly as well because we want winning cricketers, that’s fantastic.

“That’s why we have an Academy team in the Yorkshire Premier League North.

“I think we’re actually the last county in England to be running a league side, but it works for us.”

The Academy have just spent the weekend in Kidderminster, where the played against their Worcestershire counterparts.

Batting all-rounder Tom Loten, aged 20, will captain the side this season.

Loten, from York, scored 790 runs and took 12 wickets in 20 appearances for the Academy in 2018 and has been playing second XI cricket for the last two seasons.

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