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Noah Kelly aims for ‘next level’ after Yorkshire 2nd XI debut

Driffield cricketer Noah Kelly has said he is ready for more opportunities ‘at the next level’ after making his Yorkshire 2nd XI debut.

The 16-year-old received his maiden call-up to Yorkshire’s second string for the four-day Roses clash against Lancashire in Blackpool.

And whilst he only made single figures in the first innings, the Driffield Town batter impressed in the second innings, making 36 and helping Yorkshire to a 160-run victory.

It’s the latest landmark in Kelly’s burgeoning career which also recently saw him play for a side representing the North of England.

He was joined in the Yorkshire XI by England Test player Matthew Fisher, who was playing his first game as he recovers from a serious injury that has kept him out for most of the season.

Kelly said that having a senior pro such as Fisher, as well as several other players with first XI experience, helped ease the debut nerves.

“There was a bit of discussion between me and James Lowe, the academy director, that he was pushing me to play second team to gain some more experience going into the winter and with the hope of pushing for second team honours in the beginning of next year,” he said.

“Then about three or four days before the game, it came through from Tom Smith (Yorkshire 2nd XI coach) that I had been selected for the Roses game, which I was absolutely thrilled about.

“Obviously with it being my first game, there were some nerves there, but the group I came into had a wealth of knowledge, with guys like James Wharton and Harry Duke who have played a decent amount of first-class cricket and obviously Matty Fisher with Test cricket experience for England.

“They couldn’t have been more helpful as I had good chats with them about my game and their views on how I could move forward which will prove to be valuable moving into the coming winter.”

Batting at number five in the first innings, Kelly reached six before he was bowled by Charlie Barnard.

However, he showed why he is so well-regarded at Headingley during the second innings when he scored 36 in a 50-run stand with Wharton.

“In the first innings, the pitch began to deteriorate very quickly and the ball was spinning a long way which, with first game nerves too, made it an uncomfortable period to bat,” he said.

“In particular left arm spinner Barney, (Charlie Barnard), my former North of England teammate, was causing me quite a few problems which ended with him getting me out with a ball turning out of the foot holes.

“In the field, in the first innings in particular, the intensity was extremely high as we only had just over an hour at them to go hard and try get as many wickets as we could before close of play.

“The standard in the field was that touch higher than under 18s cricket, with the ball being hit harder and faster, but it was amazing to be a part of the atmosphere created.

“After Barney had taken six wickets in the first innings, there were a lot of discussions amongst the group on how we were going to play him the second time around.

“With this in mind I looked to try take him on as best I could and not let him settle in his spell.

“I made 36 which I was pleased with, however, I feel like I could have gone on to make a score of over 50 and really take authority of the game in tricky batting conditions.

“I think that’s what separates the best players, being able to kick on from the 20s and 30s and make it a big score, something I am looking to do as much as possible.

“To play some more 2nd XI games would be excellent and a great way to test my skills at the next level.

“I think, for me, it’s important to not take selection for granted and to keep trying to score runs at academy level and if I get the nod, I can’t wait to get stuck in again.”

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