This is the first in an occasional series on some Yorkshire players who have represented their country at U-19 level. In this piece Paul Dyson looks at a crucial match which had no fewer than four Yorkshire players in the England team but whose career-paths have since been somewhat different.
There were 23 balls remaining and 34 runs still required when Matthew Fisher, batting at number 11, joined his county colleague Josh Shaw. It was not expected that the last two batsmen in the order would knock off the runs (most of the earlier batsmen had struggled) and, surely, Australia U-19 would win the third-place play-off in the 2013/14 U-19 World Cup, held in the UAE. The 16-year-old Fisher, however, took charge, smote 20 from 12 balls and his team had achieved more than any other comparable England age-group team for 16 years.
Earlier in the game Shaw and Fisher had opened the bowling together and the England team was led by Yorkshire’s Will Rhodes; he took two for 35 in eight overs and was his team’s most economical bowler although Worcestershire’s Ed Barnard (three for 22) was the most penetrative. At the top of the batting order was a certain Jonny Tattersall but it was Joe Clarke (then of Worcestershire, now of Nottinghamshire) who kept wicket. In chasing 247 no batsman made more than 28 except for Ben Duckett (Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire) who scored exactly 100. It was only this innings which made victory at all possible and led to Fisher’s opportunity to seize the moment and drive it home. Unlike many U-19 England teams of previous eras, this one can boast that all 11 players are now established first-class cricketers.
Fisher had made his England U-19 debut during the previous summer when he was still only 15 years old, although two months previously he had made his Yorkshire debut in a List A match at Scarborough against Leicestershire to become the youngest cricketer to play in any competitive inter-county match. In what was the summer of 2013 he took 10 wickets in five England U-19 ODI matches and in the team’s World Cup tournament during the succeeding winter was England’s leading bowler with ten wickets in six matches at an average of 19.70 and an economy rate of 4.0. Promising indeed.