Yorkshire’s Ryan Sidebottom made a rare appearance in Saturday League cricket at the weekend but the swing bowler was outshone as his younger teammates came to the fore.
The former Test player was welcomed into the dressing room at Collingham and Linton as he continues his return from a calf injury.
The 35-year-old bowled a tidy 15 overs and scored 26 with the bat to help take Collingham to a nervy one wicket win over Aire-Whare League leaders Beckwithshaw.
Collingham captain Sam Anderson said: “Ryan has a close association with the club and he lives in Boston Spa. He’s coming back from a calf injury and felt he needed a game to play in to see how he would do when having to bowl on and off in spells.
“We were more than happy to have him in the team especially as we had Toby Jacklin missing, it was really good to bring someone like that in.
“He was a pleasure to play with and great to have in the dressing room. When he was standing a mid-off he would talk to the bowlers when needed, and offer me some thoughts on fielding positions.
“Everyone to a man enjoyed having him in the team and it lifted us. You don’t want to have a poor performance when you have someone like that in the team.”
Beckwithshaw are the favourites for the Division One prize this season and had been unbeaten heading into Saturday’s contest at Harewood Lane.
However, the 2013 champions were pegged back by Sidebottom and teenage bowler Adam Wetherall (1-24)’s tight early spell before Chris Bridge (1-5) bowled 40 dot balls out of a possible 42.
Spinner Steve James took some hammer towards the end, but collected five wickets as ‘Shaw finished up on a meagre 151-9.
Collingham made an efficient start to their chase, but from 80-2 they fell to 119-7.
However, the steady head of 17-year-old Wetherall – son of former Leeds United footballer David – guided them to a tense victory, plundering a match winning boundary in a knock of 27 not out.
“The most pleasing thing was the way we won,” added Anderson.
“If someone had said we were to win the game, I would have thought Ryan would take six or seven wickets and score 40 or so.
“Not taking anything away from his contribution, but it was pleasing that it wasn’t completely dominated by him.”
Anderson believes the victory showed the mental toughness of his young squad and sent a message to the league that his men were not there for the taking.
He added: “We have started off a little bit hit and miss but we have had two good wins in the last two weeks so we’re in good shape.
“We know this year we are going to have times of struggle but having that experience of last season, we are much better prepared.”