Opening bowler Ben Coad was today presented with his First XI county cap at Emerald Headingley.
The Harrogate-born pace bowler becomes the 182nd player to be capped by the Club and will now proudly wear the 11-petalled badge instituted by the great Lord Hawke.
Coad was presented with the cap by Club captain Steven Patterson in the home changing rooms and, then as is tradition, in front of members and supporters ahead of the first day’s play between Yorkshire and Hampshire County Cricket Club – the Club’s final home Specsavers County Championship fixture of 2018. Fittingly, it was in this fixture last season – albeit in April – that Coad claimed a six-wicket haul in a home defeat against Hampshire and a total of 31 wickets in the first five four-day games.
The 24-year-old, who played through the Yorkshire age groups from U15s and is a product of the Club’s Academy, has been a shining light for the White Rose despite a recent side injury, highlighted by his second-innings five-for in last week’s home Roses win over Lancashire.
Coad, having sporadically played first-team cricket since debuting in 2013, finished a breakthrough summer of 2017 with 50 wickets in the County Championship and scooped three end of season awards, including Members’ and Players’ Player of the Year.
“It’s a massive honour to receive this,” said Coad, shortly after the presentation took place. “I wasn’t expecting it but apparently the family knew beforehand and didn’t tell me. I’m very honoured and privileged to have received it.
“I’ve always wanted to be capped but I didn’t expect to ever achieve it until the last couple of years. To get it now is massively pleasing.
“It’s a dream come true, I’ve always wanted to try and get to this stage of my life and the names you see on that board, just to join them is incredible and nobody can ever take it off me.
“It’s a huge milestone and you could say it’s a box ticked but we all know what the next one is now if we can get there; to try and get an England place. But to get this is massive for me and something I never thought I would achieve. This fixture last year was my breakthrough game in a breakthrough year. To be back here again a year-and-a-half later with a first-team cap is amazing.”
Since debuting in the Championship midway through 2016 against Durham at the Riverside – his only match that season – he has taken 91 wickets from 20 appearances at an average of 19.68.
“It’s a big moment in any cricketer’s career to receive his first-team cap and it’s a really emotional time,” said Director of Cricket Martyn Moxon. “It’s something he richly deserves after a couple of fantastic seasons in the first team. He’s worked hard at his game and got his rewards.
“He’s still got plenty of years ahead of him and last week he once again proved his value to this team. We’re all delighted and really proud of him.
“Ben just needs to keep on doing what he has been doing. He’s got accuracy and that little bit of extra pace now. He moves the ball both ways both off the pitch and in the air. He’s got all the skills now so I guess it’s just his body getting used to the rigors of county cricket so he can combine both one-day and four-day cricket throughout a long season. That is the challenge going forward.”