AFTER a breakthrough year in which he took 50 County Championship wickets at a measly average of 20, Yorkshire seamer Ben Coad is confident that he won’t suffer from ‘second-season syndrome’.

“I am not feeling any pressure but I am trying not to think about it,” admitted the 23-year-old of the fear that batsmen will work him out.

Coad, who was the chief guest at the Dales Council League’s annual prize presentation at the Midland Hotel in Bradford, was very much in the rank and file of Yorkshire’s pace bowling attack in early April.

But injuries to Ryan Plunkett, David Willey, Jack Brooks and Ryan Sidebottom gave the Harrogate-born man his opportunity, and he took it with both hands.

Coad, in what was only his fourth first-class match, bagged 6-37 in the opener against Hampshire, who were dismissed for 141, giving Yorkshire a first-innings lead of 132 in a game that they lost by four wickets.

Two five-wicket hauls followed in the victory against Warwickshire, however, and, in the words of wicket-keeper Andrew Hodd, Coad was then “undroppable”.

Bowling at 80 to 85 miles per hour on a decent length and moving the ball away just enough to find the right-hander’s edge seemed to be the formula for success, but Coad also put his yard of extra pace down to “running in more aggressively”.

He added: “Putting it on the spot has always been my strength, and gym has helped.

“Injuries gave me my break, but Ryan Sidebottom was massive for me, as was Jack Brooks, while Jason Gillespie gave me my opportunity in all three formats.”

Coad, unlucky not to get an England Lions call this winter, cleaned up at the end-of-season awards, winning the members’ player, players’ player and young player of the year trophies, but it could not disguise how badly 2017 had gone for the team.

“We were all disappointed how the season went,” said Coad, “and we didn’t perform as we should have.”

Hopefully, 2018 will be better for Coad and company.