On Friday night, the Yorkshire Vikings started their T20 campaign against reigning champions the Northamptonshire Steelbacks at Headingley under blue skies. However, the 22 players taking the pitch weren’t the only ones feeling big match nerves; in the belly of the East Stand, warming up in the nets for their moment in the limelight were 4 young fast bowlers who had qualified for the regional finals of the inaugural Top Gun competition run by the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation in their quest to find the fastest club bowler in Yorkshire.
Friday’s contestants were from clubs based in West Yorkshire; Andrew Cadd (Delph and Dobcross CC), Elliot Richardson (Woodlands CC), Syed Badar-Shah (Paddock CC) and Abdal Zafar (Mirfield CC). Each bowler had registered to take part in the competition, attended a regional heat and qualified to bowl at Headingley as one of the 4 fastest contenders from their region.
The second round of deliveries saw Abdal Zafar fire one down at 73mph, however it was the youngster from the Bradford League who shone with an improvement on his first round pace clocking 76mph to win and secure his place in the County Final in September.
“It was a fantastic spectacle and an unbelievable experience for the bowlers to perform in front of thousands of supporters. Elliot is a deserved winner and I’m looking forward to watching him bowl in the final” said Nick Robinson, Yorkshire Cricket Foundation Project Officer.
The next Top Gun regional final will take place on the 2nd July where 4 more club bowlers will take the field to battle it out for their chance to appear at the international match in September.