The County Championship season has come to a close and we’ve decided to take a look at the young players who impressed across the summer.
We’ve come up with an XI of youngsters – all of whom were under the age of 24 when the season began on April 8, 2021 – who thrived in the red-ball arena.
Tom Haines – Sussex
1,176 runs @ 47.04, 3 hundreds, 6 half-centuries
The 22-year-old opener took his game to another level in 2021, putting aside his side’s struggles to finish as the leading run-scorer in the competition.
Rob Yates – Warwickshire
793 runs @ 37.76. 4 hundreds, 2 half-centuries
It was boom or bust for the 22-year-old left-hander – four tons were joined by 14 single-figure scores. He closed the competition with a brisk unbeaten 132 against Somerset to help Warwickshire to their first County Championship title since 2012.
James Bracey – Gloucestershire (wk)
715 runs @ 37.63, 1 hundred, six half-centuries | 33 dismissals
His returns tailed off after he returned from England duty, but Bracey’s entry into the Test arena came after a stellar start to the season: his first five matches of the season included one century and four half-centuries as Gloucestershire secured four early wins. Managed the heavy workload of batting in the top three and keeping wicket too.
Ollie Pope – Surrey
861 runs @ 78.27, 3 hundreds
Lifeless surfaces at The Oval certainly helped Pope – all three of his hundreds came at the ground and his season-ending 274 was on a surface that produced 10 wickets across four days – but his numbers are just too good to ignore. His ruthlessness is particularly impressive: four of his 12 first-class centuries have been doubles.
Josh Bohannon – Lancashire
853 runs @ 53.31, 2 hundreds, 5 half-centuries
Bohannon was Lancashire’s leading run-scorer as they fell just short of a first County Championship title since 2011 and kicked off their Division One campaign with a knock of 170 from No.3 against eventual champions Warwickshire.
Dan Lawrence – Essex
640 runs @ 53.33, 1 hundred, 4 half-centuries
While he was unable to establish himself a permanent fixture in England’s Test line-up this summer, Lawrence still thrived for Essex, finishing as the county’s leading run-scorer in the Championship despite missing four fixtures.
Kiran Carlson – Glamorgan
928 runs @ 48.84, 3 hundreds, 5 half-centuries
It was a fine summer for the 23-year-old, who captained Glamorgan to one-day glory and discovered consistency against the red Dukes. After averaging just 14 in last year’s Bob Willis Trophy, Carlson began and ended this summer with first-class half-centuries and found time to hit two hundreds in one match against Sussex in April.
Dom Bess – Yorkshire
28 wickets @ 32.57, 2 five-fors
A solid if not spectacular first season at Yorkshire for the England off-spinner, who delivered career-best figures of 7-43 against Northants in July.
Ben Aitchison – Derbyshire
34 wickets @ 23.29, 1 five-for
After making his first-class debut last year, Aitchison finished this season as Derbyshire’s leading wicket-taker in the County Championship. Durham fell victim to his career-best figures of 6-28 in May.
Ethan Bamber – Middlesex
52 wickets @ 20.84, 1 five-for
A metronomic seamer not too dissimilar to his senior colleague, Tim Murtagh, Bamber claimed a half-century of first-class wickets in a summer for the first time in 2021.
Sam Cook – Essex
58 wickets @ 14.43, 3 five-fours, 1 10-wicket haul
An excellent campaign – only Luke Fletcher and Chris Rushworth took more wickets in the Championship – came to a staggering end: in an innings win over Northants inside four sessions, Cook followed up first-innings figures of 5-21 with a second-innings haul of 5-20.