Following Essex’s tournament-winning draw on Sunday, the Bob Willis Trophy is over.
The unique red-ball competition offered up plenty of opportunities to youngsters up and down the country, so here is our under-24 team of the Bob Willis Trophy.
Qualification: players were under the age of 24 on August 1, 2020, the day the tournament began.
459 runs @ 51, HS: 116
The breakout star of the competition. The 20-year-old reeled off three first-class centuries in three consecutive matches, showing plenty of range across his innings too. Against Worcestershire, he carried his bat with a score of 107 in an innings total of 193 to help Somerset to the final. There he hit 116 off just 151 balls to help set Essex a total and keep his side’s hopes alive right till the dying embers. A special talent has emerged.
290 runs @ 36.25, HS: 80
More renowned for his white-ball exploits, Salt showed glimpses of his red-ball talent, striking two key and quick half-centuries at the top of the order in Sussex’s opening win over Hampshire. An eye-catching score evaded him in the tournament, but he has it in him to deliver in the long form.
324 runs @ 64.80, HS: 238 not out
The 19-year-old Kent batsman made his maiden first-class ton a big one, striking an unbeaten 238 not out against Sussex in a record-breaking 423-run partnership with Jack Leaning. Oddly enough, he missed his side’s next fixture; he was quickly in hot water for breaching social-distancing protocols after taking a picture with some young fans.
357 runs @ 44.62, HS: 115
Thurston entered this season with just two County Championship appearances to his name – both coming in 2018 – and with his one first-class ton having come against Northants for Loughborough MCCU back in 2017. It was therefore a significant campaign for Thurston, as he hit 96 against Warwickshire in the season opener before rounding off his season with scores of 115 and 64 against Glamorgan.
271 runs @ 24.63, HS: 117
Byrom struggled desperately for runs until reaching the showpiece final at Lord’s, where he reeled off an important 217-ball 117 in the first innings as the rest of his colleagues in the top six found life hard against a relentless Essex attack. When needed, he stepped up.
234 runs @ 39, HS: 63 | 17 wickets @ 26.88, BBI: 6-73
Leg-spinner Critchley’s season consisted of a number of handy cameos with the bat, while he thrived with the ball, the highlight being career-best figures of 6-73 in a nine-wicket win over Leicestershire.
Tom Moores (wk)
207 runs @ 29.57, HS: 106 | 15 dismissals
By no mean a stellar season for the son of coach Peter, but he did deliver an extravagant 106 against Yorkshire, top-scoring for his side courtesy of some audacious sweeps and powerful cross-batted swats.
15 wickets @ 16.40, BBI: 5-51 | 234 runs @ 46.80, HS: 98
An excellent campaign for the seam-bowling all-rounder included a number of key contributions. He finished his season with a maiden first-class five-for against Leicestershire, but he was most startling in the win over Notts, with 131 runs in the match followed by figures of 3-6 as he cleaned up the tail in the fourth innings of a 90-run win.
17 wickets @ 18.70, BBI: 5-76
Cook’s CV at 23 is something to marvel at: he now has the Bob Willis Trophy to go alongside two County Championship titles. He came to the fore in the final against Somerset, collecting figures of 5-76 from 32 overs in Somerset’s first innings, a key contribution as the title was decided on Essex’s 337 beating out the opposition’s 301.
14 wickets @ 25.92, BBI: 3-38
Still just 22, Tongue has an impressive tally of 124 first-class victims at an average of 24.49, and he was impressive in Worcestershire’s wins over Gloucestershire and Northamptonshire, taking four three-fors in four innings.
17 wickets @ 20.11, BBI: 6-70
Amar Virdi just misses out as his colleague made a startling impression in his maiden first-team campaign, following a five-for on first-class debut against Middlesex with 11 wickets in a win over Sussex over a month later.