FOR A man with the initials “WAR”, it’s no surprise that Will Fraine is a drummer who enjoys savagery and slaughter.
William Alan Richard Fraine, to give him his full name, visited chaos and carnage in Northamptonshire yesterday, the 26-year-old hitting 143 from 107 balls with 12 fours and eight sixes in a brutal display of butchery and power.
It was the highest score of his professional career, beating his only previous century (106 in a County Championship game against Surrey at Scarborough in 2019), and he royally entertained a crowd of around 3,000 at the venue of Clifton Park, who really should have shot wearing tin hats.
More importantly for Yorkshire, it inspired a winning start to their 50+ tournament, with the hosts winning by 33 points.
On a day when morning rain reduced the game to 46 overs a side, before the sun graced this lovely tree-shaded pitch, it was by no means a one-man show as Fraine’s exploits were completed by those of Harry Duke and Will Luxton as Yorkshire totaled 353-5 on good ground.
Duke, the 20-year-old wicketkeeper, scored 111 for 107 with 13 fours, sharing with Fraine an opening position of 209 inside 30 overs, and Luxton, the 19-year-old, hit 84 on 53 balls with 10 fours and three sixes, the highest score of his fledgling career.
Although Fraine has been around for a while now (the Huddersfield-born right-hander played county age group cricket for Yorkshire before joining his home county at the end of 2018 on a three-year contract with Notts), Duke and Luxton are very early in their journeys.
On this evidence, the future is bright.
Another fine prospect is Ben Cliff, a 19-year-old pace setter who was making his first-team debut with Harry Sullivan, also 19, a left-arm spinner.
As Northants were dismissed for 320, Cliff struck with the fourth ball of innings and his Yorkshire career when Ricardo Vasconcelos took the lead from Dom Bess at the halfway point.
Tall and strong, right-hand man Cliff has a thing about him – just like Sullivan, who was also delighted to take his first wicket for the club when Rob Keogh moved away from Bess long term.
It was a key scalp, Keogh’s start for 59 leaving Northants 237-5 in the 34th, and a second followed when Sullivan beat James Sales as he tried to hit the offside.
After Northants opted to play under initially overcast skies, Fraine dominated the opening rallies. Tall and lean, a batsman who combined butchery with elegance, the right-hander drove hard, shot wildly and showed his smoothness in the form of late cuts that raced across the turf at full speed.
When he gave free rein to his primitive strength, Fraine rained sixes on the white marquee, in the tennis courts, on the pavilion and even towards the balcony of the press gallery, which almost prevented the editorial of this match report and the praise due to his swashbuckling hero.
On days like these, when he looks in full command of himself and his game, Fraine is a great asset to Yorkshire, a player with the potential to develop further in all forms of the game.
Ditto Duke, who had 38 under his belt when Fraine reached his century from 85 balls. Duke played a backseat role before taking the lead driver’s seat, a player with more balls in his arsenal than the ice cream van on the ground.
After Fraine reduced to fullback and walked away to the stumps of a standing ovation, Duke proceeded to his 97-ball hundred and Luxton to his 35-delivery half-delivery, with the pair adding 134 in 15 overs to lead the Yorkshire to their towering total. .
Luxton escaped until the end and Duke was caught trying to recover, then Bess was knocked down and Matthew Revis ran away in the finale.
Following Cliff’s first breakthrough in the Northants’ response, Ben Coad had Emilio Gay steer towards Fraine at the slip.
New Zealand batsman Will Young and Saif Zaib added 82 from 13 overs before Zaib’s eyes lit up on a delivery from Bess, to which he descended to the field, missed and was cleverly perplexed by Jonny Tattersall, the new Yorkshire captain.
Young hit a game-high 91 from 64 with 12 fours and two sixes before firing Coad to Sullivan halfway through.
After Sullivan’s double strike, Bess had Tom Taylor grabbed and Buck caught square leg deep by Fraine.
Lewis McManus threatened a heist with a fine of 82 on 63 balls with five fours and four sixes, but Tom Loten trapped his front leg and then had Jack White fired halfway.