Ryan Bradshaw will give youth prospects the chance to shine in a Harrogate shirt after his injury-depleted squad put in its “worst performance” of the season.
Harrogate were blown away by Doncaster Town in the Yorkshire League on Saturday after a dismal display with both the bat and the ball.
Without star youngster Jonny Tattersall, on 12th man duty for England against Sri Lanka at Headingley, and bowlers Andy Laws, Sam Davies and Ollie Driver, Gate stumbled to 201-8, before losing by seven wickets.
Bradshaw was grateful for a 60-run 10th wicket partnership between strike bowler Tom Geeson-Brown (34no)and third teamer Ben Bartlett (28no) for making sure they scored more than 200 runs.
But the South Yorkshire opposition had no problem in surpassing the total, as Geeson-Brown (2-47) was the only bowler to cause serious problems.
“That was by far and away our worst performance,” said Gate skipper Bradshaw. “We were never in the game.”
Laws has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a torn cartilage problem while Sam Davies’ torn hamstring could rule him out for four weeks.
And, with a match against the best young talent in the county, in the form of Yorkshire Academy on Saturday, Bradshaw has promised to blood the best Harrogate has to offer to replace his injured stars.
He said: “The injury problems have really taken a toll.
“It was nice to see Ben Bartlett come in from the third team on Saturday. It’s a big step up but I was really pleased for him. He was the only positive.
“It’s half-way through the season and we have a few good young players in the second team. I am going to put them in and see how they do.
“We had been looking to get them in at times over the season, but with the long term injuries it might be time now.”
Yorkshire Academy pipped Harrogate to the second spot in the table last season. And half-way through this campaign, they look the likeliest to dispossess Gate of the runners-up spot behind seven-time champions York again.
England U-19s captain Will Rhodes will be one of the main dangermen for Gate to face, while White Rose first-team star Adil Rashid played for them on Saturday while on paternity leave.
“You never get an easy game against the Academy,” added Bradshaw.
Tattersall should return to face the team he played for last season. On his youngster’s England exploits, Bradshaw said: “He’s such a good fielder, any international side in the would would want him.
“It’s great for Harrogate to have a link with Yorkshire and England, and we got a few mentions on television too.”