Yorkshire’s second team are chasing a second title in as many seasons when they tackle T20 Finals Day at Wormsley in Buckinghamshire tomorrow.
County Championship winners last season, Tom Smith’s side will face Derbyshire in the morning semi-final (10.30am) and either Hampshire or Glamorgan in the 5pm final if they win.
If triumphant, Yorkshire will have won the Championship, the T20 and the one-day Trophy (2017) in the last seven seasons.
The Vikings head into Finals Day having won the North Group with eight wins from 10 games. Those eight wins all came in a row before two campaign-ending defeats.
Seamer Ben Coad said: “I’ve played the majority of the seconds T20 stuff, and it’s really impressive to see the young lads coming through.”
Coad is unlikely to feature at Wormsley tomorrow given the ongoing first-team Championship game against Derbyshire at Chesterfield has gone into a fourth day.
But he continued: “We’ve performed really well in both disciplines and backed each other up.
“When we haven’t bowled well, the batters will come in take over and make it look like a really good total you’ve kept them too. Then, when we don’t bat very well, we’ll put pressure on with the ball.
“Through the whole line-up, everyone has stood up.
“Will Luxton, he’s got a chance with the ones on the back of his form. James Wharton, you saw what he did last week. Will Fraine got back-to-back hundreds, Ben Cliff with the ball, Jack Shutt, Dom Leech.
“They’ve all been brilliant when they’ve played, and hopefully we go all the way.”
It has been quite the turnaround in T20 from last year for the seconds. In 2022, they finished bottom of the North Group win only one win from 10 games.
So what does Coad attribute the turnaround to?
“From a batting side of things, certainly, the guys just seem really clear on their game-plans,” he said. “They’ve matured that extra year and know what they can do. They know how to manage an innings, and the talent coming through is so impressive.
“It didn’t surprise me at all that Wharts got that hundred in the Blast (last Friday).
“I spoke to him pre-season and told him, ‘You don’t realise how good you’re going to be’. He hasn’t necessarily believed it in the past. That hundred’s just the start of things for him, and I’m sure you’ll see him go on from here.”
For coach Smith, it has been a highly successful start to his time at Headingley. To lead a side to back-to-back titles would be some achievement for the former all-rounder.
“Smudge has set a great environment,” added Coad. “It’s just about having fun. There’s so much freedom to go out and play how you want, and it’s working really well. He’s been brilliant.”