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Throwback Thursday: YCCC's Youngest List A Centurions

— 31 October 2019

When Harry Brook scored a century against Leicestershire in the Royal London Cup near the start of the 2019 season he became Yorkshire’s second-youngest player to pass three figures in a competitive List A match. Paul Dyson looks back at others who have achieved the feat at a young age.

When Harry Brook strode to the wicket at Headingley in Yorkshire’s first List A match if the 2019 season the scoreboard was showing 15 for two and this quickly became 17 for three, the county thus making a dismal start to its Royal London Cup campaign. However, Gary Ballance joined Brook and the pair scored 211 together to give the home side considerable control of the match. Ballance went on to score 156 but it was the 103 made by Brook which took the greater plaudits as, in only his eighth List A match, he had scored a century for the first time. As he had only recently celebrated his 20th birthday the feat posed the question as to whether he was Yorkshire’s youngest to do so. The following table provides the answer.

YOUNGEST YORKSHIRE PLAYERS TO SCORE A CENTURY IN A LIST A MATCH



Player Age Year List A Match Score Opponents Venue Result
SR Tendulkar 19 yrs, 100 days 1992 71st 107 Lancashire Headingley Lost
S McGrath 19 yrs, 332 days 1995 3rd 106 West Indians Scarborough Won
HC Brook 20 yrs, 54 days 2019 8th 103 Leicestershire Headingley Won
AA Metcalfe 20 yrs, 196 days 1984 7th 115* Gloucestershire Scarborough Won
CWJ Athey 20 yrs, 226 days 1978 22nd 118 Leicestershire Leicester Won
JA Leaning 20 yrs, 297 days 2014 12th 111* Essex Scarborough Lost
MJ Foster 20 yrs, 353 days 1993 9th 118 Leicestershire Leicester Won

It will come as no surprise to see Sachin Tendulkar at the top of the list. When he came to Yorkshire, as its first official overseas player, he had just celebrated his 19th birthday but so precocious were his talents that he had already played in 39 ODIs. The game outlined above, in which he scored his second List A century, was his 15th one-day match for Yorkshire.

More surprising is the appearance of Anthony McGrath in second place on the list. However the match in which he scored his maiden List A century was in the Scarborough Festival and it was not until two years later that he scored a century in a competitive List A match. This was against the Minor Counties and it was not until he reached the age of 25 when he would score a List A century against a first-class county. It is therefore the case that Brook is the second-youngest Yorkshire player to make three figures in a competitive List A game against another first-class county.

The most surprising name on the list is the last one – that of Michael Foster. His name is not as well-known as that of the other six and he was with Yorkshire for only two seasons – 1993 and 1994. Born in Leeds in 1972, he attended Pontefract High School and New College, Pontefract and represented the Yorkshire Cricket Association at U-19 level in three seasons from 1990. He toured Pakistan with England U-19, playing in three ‘Tests’ and two ODIs, scoring a total of 101 runs and taking three wickets.

Foster made his debut for Yorkshire in each of the two formats which were played at the time in the early part of 1993 as a genuine all-rounder; a very useful fast-meduim bowler, he was a powerful striker of the ball and in the innings mentioned above – in an Axa Equity and Law League game – he struck eight sixes and seven fours. Batting at number six, he came to the wicket with the scoreboard showing 106 for four but proceeded to tear the Leicestershire attack apart, sharing a stand of 190 with Richard Blakey and creating a fifth-wicket Yorkshire record which still stands today.

Sadly, this magnificent innings was never to be repeated. He batted in 13 more innings in List A cricket for Yorkshire but they produced a total of only 81 runs. In his 20 such games he took only six wickets. In five first-class matches for the county he scored 165 runs and took six wickets. After his release he had one season with Northamptonshire, for whom he appeared only in List A cricket, followed by four seasons with Durham but played for the first team in only the first three of these. His full 30-match first-class career ended with 1,128 runs, including one century, and 61 wickets. In 63 List A matches his figures were 962 runs, including the one century featured above, and 42 wickets. Following his departure from Durham he appears to have been lost to the game.

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