Centuries from openers Will Fraine and Harry Duke underpinned Yorkshire’s convincing start to the Royal London Cup as Northamptonshire Steelbacks were beaten by 33 runs DLS at York’s Clifton Park.

Fraine’s all format career best 143 was ably supported by Duke’s contrasting 111 as Yorkshire racked up 343 for five in 46 overs, also including teenager Will Luxton’s 84.

In reply, New Zealand opener Will Young, captaining the Steelbacks in this opening Group B fixture, kept their hopes alive in reply with a top-score of 91. But he was out with just under 200 runs still required, and they were bowled out for 320 inside 45 overs. Dom Bess finished with three for 63 off nine.

Lewis McManus nearly matched Young with an entertaining, consolatory 82.

Four overs per side were lost due to late morning rain.

Fraine displayed power on the leg-side and touch on the off as he hit 12 fours and eight sixes in 107 balls, usurping his Championship 106 against Surrey at Scarborough in 2019. 

Duke, 20, also faced 107 balls. Shortly after Fraine had reached his century off 85 balls – Yorkshire were 142-0 after 23 overs at this stage – Duke’s fifty came off 62.

When Fraine sliced Saif Zaib’s left-arm spin to backward point, the damage had been done at 209 for one in the 30th. But there was more to follow.

England Under 19s batter Luxton followed Fraine’s dominance, hitting well straight for 10 fours and three sixes in 53 balls as the Steelbacks failed to stem the flow of runs until the final two overs when only 11 were conceded.

Duke reached three figures off 97 balls, and Luxton’s second career fifty came off 35 a delivery later – Yorkshire 299 for one after 40.

Both men were caught in the penultimate over off Buck, the pick of the visiting attack with two for 66 from nine, following a second-wicket partnership of 134 inside 15 overs. 

Northamptonshire slipped to 36 for two inside six overs of their reply, including debutant seamer Ben Cliff inducing a leading edge from Ricardo Vasconcelos to wide mid-on early on. 

Young and Zaib shared 82 for the third wicket to get the innings back on track.

Young was strong square on both sides of the wicket in 64 balls, adding two straight sixes off the left-arm spin of debutant Harry Sullivan to a dozen boundaries.

But he and Zaib fell in the space of five overs, leaving Northamptonshire at 158 for four in the 24th over. Zaib was stumped off Bess and Young miscued a pull at Coad to mid-on.

The Steelbacks had little option but to plough on. And they did, first through Rob Keogh’s 59. 

A feature of this fixture was that runs were largely scored with authenticity rather than agriculture. Keogh was no different.

But he handed Sullivan his maiden wicket by picking out deep cover, and it was the first of three for 17 runs which all but ended the contest as the score fell from 237 for four in the 34th over to 254 for seven in the 37th.

Sullivan also bowled James Sales and Bess had Taylor caught and bowled. 

Bess struck again before wicketkeeper McManus threatened a late and remarkable heist with four sixes in 62 balls. But he fell lbw to Tom Loten (315 for nine in the 43rd).

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