Leeds teenage cricket star scores 200 runs in senior match - the first time at his club's ground in 100-year history

A teenage cricket player at Rodley Cricket Club left his teammates and rivals speechless on Saturday when he scored 200 runs in a senior match - the first time a double century has ever been scored at the ground in the club’s 100 year history, let alone by a junior player.

Tuesday, 11th August 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 11th August 2020, 9:48 am
Ben Whitaker, 16, of Calverley, who scored a double century in a senior match at Rodley Cricket Club on Saturday. Picture: Simon Hulme

Spectators watching the Dales Council League clash between Rodley and Cookridge seniors erupted in whoops and cheers as young Ben Whitaker, 16, quickly racked up the runs to bat his way to 200.

Club treasurer Dave Sewards said: “We're all still giddy about it. I’ve just been getting message after message from people.

“Next year is our 100th anniversary and this is only the second double century ever and the last one was about 30 years ago at an away match. So this is the first ever double century at our home ground.

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Ben Whitaker, 16, of Calverley, who scored a double century in a senior match at Rodley Cricket Club on Saturday. Picture: Simon Hulme

“It's just really exciting."

Ben’s success followed on from the previous week when he scored 50 runs in a senior match against Drighlinghton - an impressive feat in itself.

But his dad Mark, 49, of Calverley, told the Yorkshire Evening Post that only helped to spur him on to do even better this week - as well as a promise from older brother Matthew, 19, that he’d give him £10 if he managed to score 100.

And Mark said before the match Ben felt hopeful about at least scoring another 50.

“I was obviously pleased when he got the 50 again, as it showed it wasn’t a one-off. I took some drinks on [to the pitch] - as it was really hot on Saturday - and he said ‘I’m going to go for 100’.

“We were incredibly nervous but he raced through from 50-70. He got to 98 and we were really quite nervous and then went to his 100 on a six, which is very Ben.

“Everyone was very excited - you don’t see a century often. It’s only a 40-over short game.

“He reached his 150, again on a six - that was to even bigger cheers. We'd never seen a score that big.

“He just started to smash it everywhere. But when he got to 199 he did get a bit more nervous so pushed a single and ran hard to get to 200 to make sure of it.

“Everyone was astounded. It was incredible. I was speechless. It was a bit of a shock really. I didn’t know what to say - I was obviously mega proud.”

That in fact proved to be Ben's final run as he was caught out on the next bat but the crowds cheered him off and the club’s players all came out to clap him back in.

Ben, who has played junior cricket since he was nine but began playing with the seniors three years ago, said: “It was an amazing feeling, seeing everyone cheering for me. It was a great atmosphere.”

The Benton Park School pupil, who also plays badminton for Yorkshire, said: “I just thought I’d carry on and see where I get to. It was very enjoyable just being able to play for that long. I was getting more anxious as I was getting towards 200. I started shaking as well. When I finally got it, everything just stopped. It was just amazing.

“After I came off, people I didn’t know were congratulating me. Everyone was telling me I did well.”

He said for now he will just try to continue his successful streak and hopes one day to reach county cricket level.

That too will be a first for the club but treasurer Dave, who has been at Rodley for 20 years, said it is entirely plausible, describing Ben’s talent as “phenomenal”.

“To get a double 100 a week after your first senior 50 is unheard of,” adding: “He can go as far as he wants to go I suspect.”

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Thank you

Laura Collins