Praise for Cooper Smith as youngster lays platform for Harrogate CC's perfect weekend

Cooper Smith on his way to a half-century during Harrogate CCs ECB Yorkshire Premier League North win over Castleford. Picture: Gerard Binks.
Cooper Smith on his way to a half-century during Harrogate CCs ECB Yorkshire Premier League North win over Castleford. Picture: Gerard Binks.

Harrogate CC captain Josh Atkinson has piled praise on Cooper Smith, the youngest member of his squad.

The 15-year-old's half-century set the Roosters up for a perfect weekend, the club going on to record three wins in as many games.

Smith scored 69 to help 'Gate to a 28-run ECB Yorkshire Premier League North victory over Castleford on Saturday, before they pulled off back-to-back Twenty20 successes on Sunday.

Atkinson’s side were in some trouble against Castleford, slipping to 72/5 with opener Alexis Twigg (34) the only one of the top order to make any impression.

Unfazed, Smith produced a vital knock alongside Tom Geeson-Brown (21), steering them to 173 all out.

And, although the visitors made it to 58 without loss in reply, the ‘Gate total eventually proved beyond them.

Geeson-Brown was the pick of the home attack, finishing with 3-32, while Ishan Abeysekara took 2-18 as Castleford were dismissed on 145.

“As a team we did superbly to dig ourselves out of a couple of difficult situations,” skipper Atkinson reflected.

“At 72/5 when we were batting, then when Castleford’s reply got off to a good start we looked in trouble, but the lads showed grit and determination to turn things around both times.

“Cooper Smith has done brilliantly. His innings was very important.

“He’s a player we knew had a lot of potential,however he has been netting with Yorkshire over the winter and has come back to us looking different gravy.

“I’m really happy for him that all his hard work has paid off and hopefully that knock of 69 will give him the confidence to go on and score plenty more runs now."

Sunday saw Harrogate travel to Woodhouse Grange in the group stages of the ECB Yorkshire Premier League North T20 Blast.

They faced Clifton Alliance first up and restricted them to 117/8, Ash Griffin grabbing four of the wickets to fall.

Harry Stothard then smashed 56 from just 39 balls alongside Twigg (45) as ‘Gate eased to 123/4 with more than four overs to spare.

Their second Group C fixture pitted them against defending champions Woodhouse, yet the Roosters again had too much for their opponents.

Stothard led the way once more, top-scoring with 51 from 31 deliveries while Geeson-Brown chipped in with 35 not out, taking the men from St George’s Road to 154/9.

Grange were always in the game, however they finished 11 runs short in the face of some superb bowling by Geeson-Brown (3-14).

“Three wins out of three for the weekend is very good. I’m delighted,” Atkinson added.

Next up for Atkinson and his troops is a trip to defending champions York on Saturday, followed by a Bank Holiday Monday clash away at Scarborough.