WHEN the legendary Wilfred Rhodes made his first-class debut – also against MCC – in 1898, he managed scores of 4 and 16.
Will Rhodes, his young Yorkshire namesake, mustered 61 in his maiden first-class innings for the club yesterday, a performance which helped put his side into a strong position and enhanced his burgeoning reputation.
To borrow the old cliche, if Rhodes, the 20-year-old all-rounder, goes on to enjoy half as successful a career as the famous Wilfred, he would have had some career indeed.
In point of fact, he would have played 555 first-class games, scored 19,985 runs (if you round up Wilfred’s total of 39,969) and taken 2,102 wickets, figures that are comfortably beyond the compass of the modern cricketer in an era of considerably fewer first-class matches.
Comparisons are futile – particularly with colossal figures such as those of Wilfred Rhodes – but what can be stated with certainty is that Yorkshire have developed another good ‘un.
Born in Nottingham and educated in Cottingham, the young Rhodes bats left-handed and bowls right-arm medium. As a former England Under-19 captain, he came into this game with some pedigree.
Yorkshire’s supporters will be fascinated to monitor his progress, particularly in the season’s early weeks when a raft of England calls will surely hand him his chance in the Championship side.
His innings on day two of the match at Sheikh Zayed Stadium, allied to that of Andrew Hodd, who scored 57, ensured that Yorkshire overcame a mini-wobble and did not let slip a position of supremacy.
When the pair came together, the champions – at one stage 170-2 – were 195-5 in reply to MCC’s 221. When they were separated 28 overs later, they had added 104 for the sixth-wicket and MCC’s hopes of restricting the lead to slender proportions had evaporated.
Rhodes faced 149 balls and hit five fours, while Hodd faced 68 deliveries for his five boundaries, the pair complementing each other perfectly.
Adam Lyth once again led the way with the bat, converting his overnight 53 into 113, his 15th first-class century, but the partnership of Rhodes and Hodd must have given the Yorkshire coaches particular pleasure.
When fringe players, if they can so be termed, come in and produce performances of genuine substance, it reflects well on the character and depth of the squad.
Hodd, who helped propel Yorkshire to glory in the Emirates T20 tournament in Dubai last Friday, is a man who rarely fails to produce when given a chance.
He will deputise behind the stumps again next month when Jonny Bairstow joins England’s tour to the West Indies.
Lyth, of course, is the man of the moment and has high hopes of making his Test debut in the Caribbean.
After Yorkshire resumed on 82-2, the left-hander again set about trying to show Alastair Cook, the England Test captain playing here for MCC, why he deserves to become his opening partner.
Against an attack shorn of spearhead Graham Onions, who suffered a groin injury on the opening day, Lyth continued from where he left off and reached his hundred just before lunch.
He added 91 for the third-wicket with nightwatchman Steve Patterson, whose 90-minute vigil ended when Kent off-spinner Adam Riley bowled him for 36.
Bairstow fell just before lunch for a duck when he was trapped lbw by Chris Rushworth.
Lyth was fifth out, lbw to Riley, having faced 190 deliveries and hit 12 fours, and the Yorkshireman revealed that Cook was generous as he left the field.
“Alastair just said, ‘Well played’, and there were a few shakes of the hand,” said Lyth. “In my career, it’s probably up there with one of the most important hundreds that I’ve scored, with him watching.”
Rhodes and Hodd’s alliance ended shortly before tea when Hodd was caught behind off Matt Dunn. Rhodes was held at first slip by Cook off Rushworth and Yorkshire fell to 348-8 when Tim Bresnan was caught at leg gully by Cook off Riley.
Michael Carberry had Adil Rashid lbw for 42, made from 57 balls with five fours, and the innings ended when Jack Brooks holed out to long-off off the left-arm spinner Zafar Ansari.
Brooks had a strong lbw shout against Cook rejected just before stumps as MCC closed on 13-0, 138 behind.