This year’s iteration of the Royal London One-Day Cup was marked by the absence of some of the competition’s best talent owing to its scheduling clash with the inaugural season of The Hundred.
While fans lamented the lack of established star power, there were plenty of fantastic young or lesser established players ready to show what they could do with this new-found opportunity.
Here are some of those to make a name for themselves this season:
Graham Clark (Durham)
606 runs @ 87.56, SR: 101.3
Clark has been around the Durham set-up for a while but never quite fulfilled the promise that he has previously show – this season changed that. Clark scored nearly half of his career List-A runs this season in his first eight matches, comfortably topping the run-scoring charts, second on the list is his more established Durham teammate Alex Lees. Clark began the season with 141 against Kent at Beckenham, his highest List-A score, as he and Lees laid the platform for Durham to plunder over 400 from their 50 overs. An assured 65 followed in the next game, and in the third match Gloucestershire were on the receiving end of a second 140-plus score in just three innings. Three scores in the twenties followed (his lowest of the entire season was 21) before yet another mammoth innings, this time an unbeaten 141 at home, Hampshire the victims this time. In leading Durham to the final with 46 against Surrey, Clark has had made the most of a disrupted tournament, defining ‘going big’ in the process. It may be a bit too late in the day for higher honours but given a new lease of life, Clark has flourished.
Tim David (Surrey)
340 runs @ 68.00, SR: 150
A relative unknown to county supporters before this season, Singapore international Tim David exploded onto the scene striking at 150 in this year’s competition. He showed his power and timing with an unbeaten 140 to chase Warwickshire’s 268 at a canter. David brutalised the Warwickshire bowling, with nine fours and 11 sixes. Picking up length early and pouncing on anything loose, David’s incredible power ensured any delivery that erred ended up in the stands. In his second century of the season, Gloucester the recipients this time, David marmalised a delivery from Jarred Warner over cover and into the top rows at the Oval. With his no-nonsense approach and power, fans will want to see more of Tim David around the shires next season.
Joe Cooke (Glamorgan)
18 wickets @ 12.72, ER: 4.25
Joe Cooke had not played a List A match until this season and his first-class numbers would not have inspired much confidence amongst the Glamorgan faithful but he has been a revelation in this year’s competition. Taking his wickets at an average of less than 13, striking every 17 deliveries and not conceding many runs, whilst batting at a strike-rate of 123 makes him a shoo-in for the team of the competition. In the semi-final Cooke cleaned up the Essex tail to finish with 5 wickets before hammering an unbeaten 66 to close the run chase out. Glamorgan fans will be hoping this is just the beginning for the 24-year-old as he looks to kick on in future competitions.
Ryan Patel (Surrey)
386 runs @ 55.14, SR: 113.9
Patel has been around the Surrey set-up for a while now, showing plenty of promise but largely performing on the fringes, an unbeaten century and a remarkable spell of 6 for 5 in the Championship have displayed his undoubted talent but few notable performances have followed. Patel has seized his opportunity in the Royal London One-Day Cup. An impressive average is backed up by a fantastic strike-rate, his early season 131 against Nottinghamshire in a rain-shortened match came from just 70 deliveries and included 10 sixes, impressive for a man with a first-class strike-rate of 38. Patel’s second century of the season was also unbeaten, 111 runs coming from 116 deliveries, a more circumspect effort in a low run chase. This adaptability will help Patel to finally make the jump he has threatened to make over the years.
Lewis Goldsworthy (Somerset)
381 runs @ 63.50, SR: 87.19
Another player debuting this season in List A cricket, Lewis Goldsworthy showed a real knack for game management and digging his team out of trouble. Goldsworthy hit 96 from Somerset’s 220 all-out against Surrey, having to contend with losing partners throughout the latter stages to marshal the tail to a defendable score. The game was later called off due to rain but Goldsworthy proved his credentials as a cool head and dependable middle-order player. Somerset were hammered by Northamptonshire in their very next game, with Goldsworthy again offering almost sole resistance amid a flurry of wickets, making a 61-ball 80 with just Josh Davey offering support. Promoted up the order, Goldsworthy impressed again, with 79 alongside James Hildreth as Somerset again failed to support him, their score chased with an over to spare by Warwickshire. Whilst having multiple big knocks in lost causes will hurt, Goldsworthy proved this season that, with able support, an innings can be built around him, and he can be just the man for a crisis. Goldsworthy – a former England Under-19 star – also bowls more serviceable left-arm spin.
George Hill (Yorkshire)
222 runs @ 37.00, 10 wickets @ 24.90
George Hill is another player to stand out in a team ravaged by Hundred absentees, given his chance this season he put in several impressive all-round performances and was one of Yorkshire’s most consistent performers with the ball. Early on in the season Hill struck a brilliant unbeaten 90 to lead Yorkshire home at a canter in their chase of 327 against Leicestershire and later scored a run-a-ball 64 and took three wickets as Yorkshire defended 320 comfortably against Warwickshire. Hill also ended the season strongly by taking six wickets across the final two matches of Yorkshire’s season, finishing second in both the side’s run-scoring and wicket-taking charts.
Sonny Baker (Somerset)
10 wickets @ 33.00, ER: 6.03
A strong action, high pace and prodigious swing have made Sonny Baker a highly touted prospect at Somerset and others across the county scene. Baker burst onto the scene in a pre-season game where he got the ball to swing round corners at a very good speed. With no first-team first-class or T20 cricket behind him, Baker found himself in the Trent Rockets Hundred squad after impressing in the One-Day Cup. His record is good, not spectacular, but the manner of his performances, his pace and X-factor will have been behind the decision to call him up as an injury replacement for Luke Wood. Baker may not be the finished product as of yet but is an exciting prospect to keep an eye on for his sophomore effort.