ARRON LILLEY is aiming to follow in the footsteps of Lancashire pal and former Micklehurst teammate Greg Buckley when Huddersfield take on North Yorkshire & South Durham in tomorrow’s White Rose Trophy final at Honley (1.30).
Twelve months ago, Buckley was the inspiration in Huddersfield’s 128-run win over the same opponents, when he took the man-of-the-match award after scoring a brilliant 123 at Great Ayton when his then Elland teammate Craig Fletcher was the skipper.
Tomorrow, Lilley – who also scored 45 in last year’s winning total of 328-7 – captains the Drakes team (as he did in the semi-final win over the Aire/Wharfe League) and once again fronts a pretty strong outfit.
Broad Oak wicketkeeper Chris Gill and Kirkburton’s Jonny Butterfield again spearhead the batting line-up following their brilliant double century opening stand against Aire/Wharfe which paved the way for a hefty 328-2 tally, which proved well out of reach of their semi-final opponents.
And manager Norman Clee has boosted the bowling attack by the inclusion of Scholes quickie Tom Brook, who had to miss the earlier round game because of injury.
Brook is now an integral part of the Chapelgate club’s pace attack, and he will be a welcome addition to the Huddersfield side alongside seamers Ben Potter, Jack Hargreaves and Danny Clee, who between them took out half of the Aire/Wharfe team.
The only other change is likely to be the call-up of another pace bowler, Shelley’s Sam Scott, who has returned from a rugby league tour ‘Down Under’ and who is not in action with Sheffield Eagles.
As with most representative sides, the problem for the manager and captain is this – where is everyone going to bat?
Looking at the order from the semi-final it’s obvious that very capable batsmen like Steve Brown of Lepton, Potter from Hoylandswaine, Zahid Ahmed from Paddock and Marsden’s Clee have all scored big runs at some point this season, and they were down the order at 8, 9, 10 and jack.
However, as England have demonstrated in the last few Test series, the ability to bat down to 11 can often prove crucial.
If Butterfield and Gill bat as well as they did in the semis, then there could be quite a few top-line batsmen sitting on the Honley balcony with ‘pad rash.’
It’s a great shame that with Huddersfield having had such a strong side for the last couple of years, interest in the tournament has dwindled to just four sides this time.
In 1998 there were a total of 17 League sides entered in what was then the Tetley Bitter White Rose Trophy, and as recently as 2008 there were still 14 teams involved in what had become the Heron White Rose Trophy.
Those who have fallen by the wayside include: Quaid-e-Azam, Central Yorkshire, Nidderdale, York Senior, Halifax, Doncaster, Bradford, Wetherby, West Riding, Yorkshire, Leeds, Sheffield, Pontefract and South Riding. Where are they now?
Some Leagues gave the excuse that it was cost prohibitive because of the travelling involved, but considering the outlay that some clubs in those of the above leagues (those still operating) shell out on players, it’s not really an excuse that holds water.
Perhaps the interest is still there, but maybe it’s the organisation that needs refreshing with someone responsible for ‘re-recruiting’ some of the former participants to once again make it a genuine competition for the best Under 21 cricketers in the county.
Huddersfield – Arron Lilley (capt), Chris Gill (wkt), Jonny Butterfield, Liam Wiles, Jack Hargreaves, Steve Brown, Tom Brook, Danny Clee, Ben Potter, Zahid Ahmed, Sam Scott. 12th man: Oliver Davidson.