Matt Milnes couldn’t hide his delight at returning to action following an incredibly tough 13 months.
The England Lions fast bowling all-rounder has shown incredible strength to recover from successive back stress fractures, one at the end of his Kent career and the other at the start of his time with Yorkshire.
Milnes, 29, played only his second match of the summer today, returning figures of 0-46 from 14 overs bowled across three spells on day one against Worcestershire at Headingley. The Pears recovered from 67-4 to close on 280-5.
Assessing the day’s play first of all, Milnes said: “We spoke at tea and said that we could have bowled better in that period just before tea.
“After tea, I don’t think we did a lot wrong. I thought Bessy bowled exceptionally well to allow the seamers to share the workload. I’m really happy for him.
“The pitch hasn’t got a huge amount in it. In the last session, it was just a case of hammering away. There were some good balls going for four at the end of the day.
“Tomorrow, we have to work hard and make the new ball count.”
Milnes bowled six overs for 15 with the new ball once play started at 12.40pm, and he deserved more reward for his endeavour.
On his recovery and his return to action, he said: “It’s very good to be back.
“It’s been a long six months or so and a lot of mental challenges. To be back out there before the end of the season was one of my goals.
“The last three weeks (in the second team) have felt really good. I didn’t get that chance in April for obvious reasons. Having this last three weeks in the bank will hopefully stand me in good stead.
“It’s had phases to the recovery. The first phase is not too much and then the last month I’ve been playing in the twos. The month before that I was in the nets and before that it was a big progression.
“A few wickets would be nice, but I said at the start of the game, ‘I’m just going to enjoy it’. I’ve been waiting for this moment for ages.
“From a personal point of view, it doesn’t matter what happens. I hopefully bowl well and what will be will. I’m just buzzing to be out there.
“I felt very good to be fair. I started a bit slowly. I needed to trust my action a bit more. Once I got that after over two I think, I think my next 10 overs were real good. I then bowled a tough spell at the end of the day with not a lot of help.”