Luis Reece proved to be an instant hit at the top of the order in Lancashire’s County Championship campaign of 2013, the left-hander’s debut summer.
He may have only played ten matches, but he finished with 722 runs at an average of 55.53, including eight half-centuries. Seven of his fifties even came in successive innings.
Reece finished the campaign on a high when he was named as the club’s Young Player of the Year at the end of season awards’ dinner.
As well as being a batsman with a simple technique, Reece is also an improving left-arm medium paced bowler. However, he only bowled ten overs in the Championship summer, owing a lot to a knee injury he suffered early in the season.
Reece started the summer, his first as a Red Rose professional, captaining the students of Leeds/Bradford MCC Universities. He even led them to a notable first-class victory over Leicestershire at Grace Road, a match in which he scored his only first-class century to date – an unbeaten 114.
Reece joined Lancashire’s Academy in 2008 having made his second XI debut the previous year.
He was not offered anything further by the Red Rose before going to University, where his cricket made significant strides forward.
He played for the Unicorns in the county 40-over competition in 2011 and 2012, which helped him get noticed by Lancashire again. He was on a Scholarship contract with the club in 2012.
While he played a couple of first-class matches for Leeds/Bradford in 2012, he really hit the headlines in a three-day friendly for them against Sussex. In defending a first-innings score of 164, the left-armer snared 7-21, and at one stage had the incredible figures of 5-0 from five overs.
Reece scored a double century for Lancashire’s Second XI as an opener in early 2013 before impressing against the first team in a three-day friendly for Leeds/Bradford, scoring 41 and 77 from number six and number five.
He debuted in the Championship the following week against Essex at Chelmsford, a match which Lancashire won by bowling the hosts out for 20 in their second innings.
It shows you just how big an impact Reece had on Lancashire’s summer in such a short space of time that there were even some suggestions that he might earn a winter place on England’s Performance Programme.
Unfortunately, despite an appearance for the MCC in the champion county match against Durham in Abu Dhabi, 2014 proved to be a testing one for the left-hander, who lost his place at the top of the order and only got it back towards the end.
Graham Hardcastle (c) Lancashire County Cricket Club