New England cricket captain owes a lot to his Hucknall roots

ON THE RHODES TO THE TOP -- England's new under-19s criocket captain Will Rhodes, whose family hail from Hucknall. (PHOTO BY: Hull Daily Mail).
ON THE RHODES TO THE TOP -- England's new under-19s criocket captain Will Rhodes, whose family hail from Hucknall. (PHOTO BY: Hull Daily Mail).

The way it’s gone in the Ashes series Down Under, England’s Test cricket team might soon be looking for a new captain.

But even if Alastair Cook carries on, a player with strong Hucknall connections is already being groomed as a possible candidate for that very job further down the line.

For Yorkshire CCC all-rounder Will Rhodes, whose family hail from Hucknall, has been picked to captain England at the ICC Under-19s World Cup in the United Arab Emirates next month.

The 18-year-old is the grandson of Peter Rhodes (80), of Brickyard Drive, and the grand-nephew of Peter’s brother, E.C. ‘Cis’ Rhodes (77), a brilliant former Hucknall player, who now lives in Nottingham.

Will, who lives in Cottingham, near Hull, is the son of Peter’s son, Robert (49), who is married to Rachel.

The Rhodes family formed the backbone of Hucknall Cricket Club, one of the town’s oldest sporting organisations, for many years, dating back to the 1920s.

The father of Peter and ‘Cis’ was Cecil Rhodes, who was captain of the club, secretary for 30 years and an outstanding batsman.

When he died in 1958, his ashes were scattered on the old Gatehouse Ground, off Linby Road, which is now a housing estate.

Cecil’s sons followed in his footsteps at Hucknall. Peter was club secretary and an accomplished batsman. ‘Cis’ was so naturally gifted as both batsman and spin bowler that he was widely regarded as one of the best players the town has seen.

Now they both take enormous pride in the burgeoning achievements of Will, who has risen through the age-group ranks at Yorkshire.

Under the guidance of coach Jason Gillespie, former Australian Test player, he has developed into a capable left-hand bat and right-arm medium/fast bowler.

Last season, he captained Yorkshire’s second-eleven and made several appearances for the first team, as well as playing for England Under-19s.

But skippering his country in the UAE will take his career to new heights.

“When I lead England out on 14th February, it will be proudest day of my life,” says Will.

“I have captained various sides in my career, but this is going to be extra special because it is a massive tournament. It will be a privilege and an honour.”

England, who haven’t won the 50-over tournament since 1998, take on the host nation first before two more group games against Sri Lanka and New Zealand in Dubai. The final comes just two days before his 19th birthday.

“The tournament is primarily about developing us as players,” says Will.

“But if we play to the best of our ability, there is no reason why we can’t win it. “

Success in Dubai would help Will’s progress at Yorkshire, where he signed junior professional terms at the end of last summer.

“If we have a good tournament, it will bring us to the attention of others,” he adds.

“A lot of young players climb the ladder as a result of performing well at this level.

“As a captain, I am normally relaxed and calm on the field. But I enjoy it under pressure. I have the determination needed to be successful.”

England’s squad for the Under-19s World Cup also includes 18-year-old Nottinghamshire CCC bowler Luke Wood.