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Is Jack Hartley the lad Yorkshire have been waiting for?
Fresh from a successful first full season in the JCT600 Bradford League, 19-year-old strike bowler Jack Hartley has set his sights on playing first-class cricket.
The Bradford & Bingley youngster would like to follow in the footsteps of his father Neil Hartley, who played for Yorkshire from 1978 to 1992 and captained the second team in his last four years with the county.
Hartley, who captured 47 wickets, finishing ninth in the Division One averages with a strike rate of one wicket in just under 25 balls, which was equalled by only two other players in the division, played for the YCB under-19 team and one Academy game in the season just ended.
His performances led him to be invited to play two matches for Worcestershire Seconds at the end of the season, but, as a proud Yorkshireman, he would prefer to play for his native county.
“My ambition is to play first-class cricket, ideally with Yorkshire, so I have to see what opportunities arise,” he said.
The former Woodhouse Grove School student is maintaining his fitness playing for the Old Grovians rugby union team before Christmas, but in the new year he is returning to South Africa to further his cricket education in Durban, where his father Neil played.
He said: “I went to Durban last January and played for three months with Northwood Crusaders – a different team from where father played – he played down the road with Durban Collegians.
“David Miller, who helped Yorkshire to the Twenty20 final last year, is part of the club, and a lot of the Dolphins Provincial team play there as well.
“It is probably a better standard than the Bradford League in that there are more provincial (equivalent to English county cricket) players than there are in the Bradford League.
“It is a different type of cricket and a lot more aggressive. I had to learn how to bowl more consistently at an awkward length instead of bowling too full or too short.”
Hartley’s appearances with Bradford & Bingley were restricted up to this season because he was playing for school until midway through the season, but he has blossomed into one of the fastest bowlers in the league in his first full campaign.
He said: “I didn’t get off to a good start, but in the middle of the season I found my rhythm and consistency.”
His highlight was taking 6-24 in Bingley’s 80-run home win over Woodlands at the end of July, including capturing the wickets of the first four batsmen.
He is keen to be known as a bowler who can dismiss the early order rather than just ‘mopping’ up the tail, although he also sees that as part of his job.
His first six-wicket haul came early in the season against Saltaire, taking 6-45, and he is also proud of his 4-26 against the eventual champions Cleckheaton, when he dismissed four of their first five batsmen while his partner Matthew Simpson took five wickets.
“I enjoy bowling with him – he is quick and aggressive, and we support each other,” said Hartley, who is looking to do even better with Bingley next season.
ECB regulations restrict young quick bowlers up to 19 to only seven overs in any one spell, but from next year as a 20-year-old he will be able to bowl without these restrictions.
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