He was the big winner from Yorkshire’s end of season awards dinner at Elland Road last night, and now Ben Coad is relishing the challenge of trying to repeat his impressive displays of 2017.
Seam bowler Coad marked his first full summer of first-team cricket with 61 wickets in all competitions, including 50 in the County Championship.
As a result, he won the Players’ Player of the Year award, the Members’ equivalent as well as the Young Player of the Year award.
His first challenge is to find some room on his mantelpiece at home and his second is to back up his exploits in 2018 as Yorkshire bid for silverware.
“It’s exciting and will be a good challenge,” said the Harrogate-born quick.
“It will be tougher because the batsmen will be ready for me, but I’ve got to develop my game.
“I’m very confident ahead of next year.
“We always start aiming to win all three trophies. It didn’t work out this time, but it was a big learning curve for a lot of us.
“You’ve seen myself, Matthew Fisher, Matthew Waite all coming through, all young lads. We’ve learnt a lot, and we’ll put it into practice.”
Reflecting on his trio of awards and his personal exploits, which included 31 wickets in the first five Championship matches of the season, he said: “It’s massive.
“At the start of the season it was just about trying to play for Yorkshire. The start that I had, to carry it on throughout was amazing.
“To get the credit from the lads (Players’ Player award), it’s huge to know that they’re believing you. It can be tough with the crowd (Members’ Player award), but they are with you when you’re doing well.”
Coad’s rise from the second to the first team started in the winter and continued on pre-season tour to Dubai in March.
“The young fast bowling programme that was put in place in the winter was pivotal, but I managed to carry that on in Dubai with a few wickets,” said the 23-year-old, who spoke of timely progression.
“I’ve always been confident that I was good enough to come through. But with the bowlers we had, it was tough.
“I was in the last year of my contract, so it was always going to be a big year for me. I’m very happy I performed.
“The Hampshire game was massive for me because that was the first one to break through with that six-for. Then the Lancashire game, obviously because of the Roses, was memorable.
“I’d say Chanderpaul in the first innings at Headingley (was the wicket that stands out). That was very special.”
A lot has been spoken about Coad’s improvement and the reasons why. But the main one has been the added aggression to his game.
“That came from the coaches,” he explained.
“I was a natural swing bowler, but it was a case of adding a yard of pace. They said I might lose that swing, but I would still be more effective.”
While Coad’s breakthrough year was celebrated by the 400 strong audience last night, Ryan Sidebottom was also given a rousing send-off as he heads into retirement following his stunning 20-year career.
Coad added: “Ryan’s been an amazing bowler with all those wickets, so the experience he brings to the rest of the lads is immense. It’s sad to see him go.
“When you see him in the nets you’d think he could go on for another five years. But it’s a hard earned retirement, and he deserves it.”