Derbyshire v Yorkshire, Chesterfield, 2nd day July 18, 2013

Boycott prophecy fulfilled on Lees

Graham Hardcastle at Chesterfield

Derbyshire 94 for 5 trail Yorkshire 617 for 5 dec. (Lees 275*) by 523 runs

He's a good judge of a character is that Geoffrey Boycott. Just six months after the Yorkshire president earmarked left-handed Alex Lees as a star of the future, the 20-year-old gave the Boycott's words further credence by becoming his county's youngest ever double centurion on a pacey pitch at Queen's Park.

It was at the marquee event of Yorkshire's 150th anniversary year at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield in January that Boycott said: "We are still providing some very good players for England, including Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow. There are also a couple of kids you may not know too much about coming through. We've got another one in Alex Lees, who is about three years away. I think he's very good.

"I just like everything about him. I watch technique very closely, but I also watch out for their mental application. I like the whole package with him. He'll get a game or two this year for Yorkshire. But don't expect too much too soon. Len Hutton played his first games for Yorkshire and England and got nought. I got four and four in my first appearances."

After a record breaking 275 not out from 436 balls in his county's mammoth 617 for 5 declared here, Lees has eclipsed Boycott and moved just behind Hutton on the list of Yorkshire's highest ever individual scorers.

The opener played strongly all around the ground - he was particularly commanding on the pull - and was part of a number of records to tumble, most notably Yorkshire's youngest to 200 at 20 years and 95 days - 130 days Richard Blakey's junior when he ran Gloucestershire ragged at Headingley in 1987.

He shared a 311-run stand for the second wicket with Phil Jaques during yesterday's opening day, the county's highest partnership for that wicket in first-class cricket against Derbyshire before posting the third highest score on this ground, the equal eleventh highest in Yorkshire's history and the highest since Darren Lehmann's 339 against Durham at Headingley in 2006.

Lees, born in Halifax and still the captain of the Yorkshire Academy side, also contributed to Yorkshire's third highest score on this ground and the ninth highest in their history as he notched his second Championship hundred in three matches. His first was at Lord's last month.

It has not been an easy couple of years for Lees, whose father Simon died of cancer in May 2011. He subsequently turned down the opportunity to tour in the following winter with England Under-19s to support his mother, a move Yorkshire and the ECB were fully behind. He acknowledged the heavens at every major milestone, of which there will surely be many more.

"You work really hard as a young lad and then as an adult," Lees said. "Times like this are really rewarding and extra special. I really do enjoy the moments. I've worked hard over the years, and my late father would be rather happy. They are extra special when you have something on it."

There was another acknowledgement from Lees, but one on a far more of a light-hearted note. Director of professional cricket Martyn Moxon is here looking after the team whilst Jason Gillespie is absent on compassionate leave, and Moxon's career best score was 274. So when Lees topped that, he raised his bat to a cheering visitor's balcony: "I just pipped him there. I've taken Frog down!" Lees quipped.

Yorkshire then backed up their domination with the bat by restricting Derbyshire to 94 for 5 in their reply. Steve Patterson and Jack Brooks struck twice apiece, and with two days left title-chasing Yorkshire virtually home and hosed already.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nicholas on July 19, 2013, 14:41 GMT

    Geoffrey is not everyone's cup of tea, but when it comes to batsmen, he tells it like it is. If G.B. Says this boy is good, then he is!

  • C on July 19, 2013, 13:59 GMT

    That guy, Boycott - What a man! Hats off to you! I think you have to be an amazing player to spot another amazing player in baby stages!! As one of the Indian commentators used to say - Geoff Boycott is the 'goodest' there is out there - when he was commentating!! lol. Good luck for being the bell of the future england Ashes series!!. Please don't score runs against india though!

  • jagannath on July 18, 2013, 22:50 GMT

    Don't need no other opinion what Geoffrey says is good enough for me.

  • Dummy4 on July 18, 2013, 22:09 GMT

    General consensus is that he's a good lad and liked by all around. Happy to say that I backed him before Geoffrey!

  • Andy on July 18, 2013, 22:06 GMT

    I thought Gale declared far too late to get a result against Derbyshire at Leeds, and was proved emphatically wrong by a great bowling performance, so it's certainly sentiment and not tactical nous behind my thought that the captain might have let Alex have a go at George Hirst's 341 this evening, and declare overnight.

    Back to the actuality, though, and another great show from the bowlers. Steve Patterson must be the best unsung bowler in the country. 28 wickets at just over 20 each, and the best economy rate of all our bowlers at around 2.5.

  • Dummy4 on July 18, 2013, 20:48 GMT

    Definitely an "I was there" moment. Real composure, great technique. Loved the flat six. Plays with a straight bat and is as accomplished on the front foot as well as the back foot. 9 hours in sapping heat and I don't think he gave a chance. Boycs is a very good judge. Well done, Alex. Sure there are many more big scores in your locker.

  • Paul on July 18, 2013, 20:17 GMT

    As a Notts supporter, but moreover a cricket fan, this was good to see. All the best to him for the future.

  • Mark on July 18, 2013, 19:34 GMT

    And another home grown top notch rolls off the Academy conveyor belt at Headingley.

    Well done Alex. Please give us a few more years service before you follow Johnny and Joe to the international scene.

  • Adrian on July 18, 2013, 19:21 GMT

    I guess in hard fought competitive cricket there's no room for sentiment - but what a shame Yorkshire didn't let the lad notch up a triple century before they declared. I wonder if he would of been the youngest in the English First Class game to do so? Anyway, well batted Alex! That from a Northants fan!