Cricket is the winner for Rich Pyrah

Richard Pyrah

Yorkshire’s professional bowling coach Rich Pyrah grew up in Ossett, where he lived and breathed sport. His cricket career grew from slogging it out in the local cricket club’s nets.

For a small town there is some great sport on. There is such a hub of sport down at Ossett Cricket Club for all abilities and ages for boys and girls.

Rich’s favourite thing about growing up in the area was the sporting culture: “Having the option of all the sports clubs. There are so many good ones covering every sport. I know the two football clubs have merged in the last few years, but for a small town there is some great sport on.”

He believes local cricket is a great start point for younger players too, commending Ossett Cricket Club for its abilities to attract boys and girls of all ages to play.

T20 was my favourite format to play in, I loved the fast pace and big crowds. Your skills had to be good and to be able to think quick which suited me. Probably the closest you get to professional football.

His family had a connection to the club and Rich spent many of his days there. He played U13s, and then senior cricket at 12-years-old for the Ossett Second team as well as a few years of first team cricket, before he moved to Yorkshire County Cricket Club (CCC) full time at the age of 16.

He attended Ossett School and spent his time playing every sport he was able to. Despite football trials at Bradford City and Sheffield Wednesday and playing for Ossett Sporting Boys Club up until he was 15, cricket continued as his main love.

This early experience with cricket led to a 15-year professional career, where he amassed 300 professional games. In 12 seasons, Pryah played 51 first-class matches for Yorkshire and flourished in limited-overs format. He scored 1084 runs and took 140 wickets in 118 List A matches. He finished up as the lead wicket taker in Twenty20, with 21 wickets in 2011 before retiring.

I didn’t really set out to achieve one main thing, all I wanted to do was play sport. But looking back having won two County Championships back to back, and finishing as Yorkshire’s leading T20 wicket taker…I’m very proud.

In the 2011 County Championship, he rescued Yorkshire from 45 for 8 with a 117 batting score.

Playing ODIs or Twenty20 matches aren’t the career highlights for Rich. His proudest moment is receiving a Yorkshire Cap: “You get awarded your cap by the club when they feel as though you deserve it through performance and loyalty to the club over a number of years. My cap number is 167. It puts it into perspective when there has been thousands of cricketers play for Yorkshire and to be the 167th to be capped is very special.”

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Richard Pyrah

His Dad, Indian import to Ossett Sameer Dinghe and Kevin Sharp are his biggest influences. “Kev played for Yorkshire CCC and ended up down at Ossett CC as their professional, Kev went on to be my batting coach at YCCC. I still speak to him now for advice and especially as a young coach,” he said.

Rich says there’s a long list of players from who he enjoyed the game with, including: Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Adil Rashid, Kane Williamson, Michael Vaughan, Darren Lehmann, Yuvraj Singh, Glenn Maxwell, Darren Gough and Aaron Finch. “The one that stands out is Darren Gough, he came back to Yorkshire CCC as captain in 2008, he really helped me kick on in my career and backed me (as he reminds me every time I see him!),” he said.

Rich says family and sport are his life. He has twin eight-year-old girls who keep him very busy at home. He also credits his father among others as having a big impact on his progression as a young player, with his father throwing for him for hours in the nets at Ossett Cricket Club.

Rich’s advice to young cricketers wanting to pursue a career in cricket is: “Get the most out of yourself, train with intensity and have fun. With the way cricket is going now, I would encourage young batters to strike the ball and hit it 360 degrees, and bowlers to have all the funky skills as well as bowling quick.”

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