They have been inseparable for much of Yorkshire’s County Championship-winning season so it was appropriate that White Rose opening batsmen Alex Lees and Adam Lyth both won Cricket Writers’ Club awards for 2014 on Tuesday.
Cricket Writers’ Club Young Cricketer of the Year: Alex Lees (Yorkshire)
Cricket Writers’ Club County Championship Player of the Year: Adam Lyth (Yorkshire)
Peter Smith Award: David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd.
Lees topped a poll of 15 candidates to be voted The Cricket Writers’ Club Young Player of the Year after scoring 971 Championship runs at an average of 44.13.
Resticted to England-qualified players under the age of 23 on 1st May and, by tradition, an award that can only be won once in a career, 21-year-old left-hander Lees became the fourth Yorkshire player in the past seven years and 11th in all after Fred Trueman (1952), Phil Sharpe (1962), Geoffrey Boycott (1963), Chris Old (1970), Ashley Metcalfe (a joint-winner in 1986), Richard Blakey (1987), Chris Silverwood (1996), Adil Rashid (2007), Jonathan Bairstow (2011) and Joe Root (2012) to be named Young Cricketer of the Year.
Lees succeeded Durham and England all-rounder Ben Stokes as the winner of an award dating back to 1950, making it one of the oldest such honours in cricket.
If Lees had a successful season, Lyth was truly prolific with a haul of 1,489 Championship runs, including six hundreds, at 67.68.
That return saw the 27-year-old chosen as the third winner of the Cricket Writers’ Club County Championship Player of the Year, in association with William Hill, after Somerset’s Nick Compton and Derbyshire’s Wayne Madsen, with the honour again restricted to England-qualified players but without an age limit.
Both awards were voted for by the more than 300 Full and Life Members of the Cricket Writers’ Club, with trophies presented at the organization’s Annual Lunch at London’s Plaisterers’ Hall on Tuesday.
Neither Lees nor Lyth has yet gained full representative honours for England, but the history suggests they will both be unlucky to remain uncapped, given former winners of the Young Cricketer of the Year award alone have amassed more than 2,000 Test appearances between them.
Meanwhile David Lloyd received the Peter Smith award for his outstanding contribution to the promotion of cricket following a lifetime involvement in the game where his career as a Lancashire batsman, England opener, umpire, Lancashire and England coach and, currently, a television broadcaster and newspaper columnist, has seen him become one of the sport’s best-loved advocates.
Lloyd follows another Lancastrian in 2013 recipient Jim Cumbes, a former seamer and latterly the county’s and chief executive, in being awarded a discretionary prize named in honour of the late Peter Smith, a former Cricket Correspondent of the Daily Mail and the first media liaison officer at what was then the Test and County Cricket Board.