Captain Joe Root is set to make his 100th Test appearance for England this week in Chennai against India but did you know that some of his very first competitive games were played at Clifton Lane?
Root is synonymous with Sheffield and its cricket club, Sheffield Collegiate, but such was the eagerness of Joe, and brother, Billy, to get started, they pitched up at Rotherham Town, with its revered youth coaching setup.
Billy, who plays county cricket for Glamorgan, told the BBC: “Because Collegiate didn’t have an under-11s team, the first competitive cricket we played was for Rotherham Town, just around the corner from Grandad’s house.
“The first game of cricket I played was a pairs game and I was batting with Joe. He faced five balls in the over and wanted the strike for the next one, so he belted the ball to point and ran. I was run out by half the length of the pitch.
“That was the last time we got paired together in an under-11s game, but there were plenty of other times when we had partnerships for Collegiate, the Yorkshire academy and the second XI.”
A spokesperson for Rotherham Town, said: “Their cricketing journey began with us and for that we are delighted to have played our part. We have a proud tradition of junior and senior cricket at Clifton Lane.”
The club continues to run programmes in Rotherham, such as All Stars and Dynamos, for children aged 5-11 years old.
Since those early games for Rotherham Town, Joe Root earned a Yorkshire scholarship contract at the age of 13. He made his first County Championship appearance in 2011 and quickly entered the national setup, making his Test debut in 2012. Root became England captain in 2017 and has scored 8,249 Test Match runs with 19 hundreds to date.
Images: Joe Root / twitter