Worcestershire CCC have signed left-handed opening batsman Taylor Cornall on a one year contract for the 2022 season after a successful trial period, and he is keen to make his mark in the first class game at New Road.
The 22-year-old was given the opportunity to play in the season’s final Second Eleven Championship match against Yorkshire at Scarborough.
Cornall scored a second-innings century to help save the game and impressed Seconds Coach Kadeer Ali and Head of Player and Coach Development, Kevin Sharp.
He then made a favourable impact with Head Coach Alex Gidman and other members of the coaching staff during two days in the nets with the first team squad at New Road.
Cornall also scored 142 for Leeds Bradford MCCU against a strong Yorkshire attack, including Ben Coad, Matthew Fisher and Steve Patterson in a pre-season game at Headingley.
Lytham born Cornall then made two appearances for Lancashire in the 2021 Royal London Cup, scoring 23 not out against Durham at Gosforth and seven not out versus Essex at Old Trafford batting at number eight.
But in red-ball cricket, Cornall, who opened for Leeds Bradford MCCU with Jack Haynes brother, Josh, is primarily an opener.
He will link up with Worcestershire when they report back for pre-season training at Malvern College in early November.
Cornall recently completed a Masters in Ecological Economics. Still, a cricket career is his main ambition, and he becomes Worcestershire’s fourth new signing for next summer after Matthew Wade, Ed Pollock and Ben Gibbon.
He said: “It’s a fantastic feeling to be given a contract, something I have worked for all my life. To finally achieve it is something I will forever be grateful for.
“Not going through the more traditional (Academy) route, and going through the MCC University set-up, means you have to be more patient and wait for opportunities.
“But it makes you hungry and keeps your desire burning strong for the game. I’ve learnt my trade playing in the leagues. It’s some tough cricket, but you learn a lot about yourself moving forward.
“I would describe myself as a very determined player, willing to do the hard yards to allow myself to succeed. I love to play attacking shots, but I sometimes enjoy it most when times are tough, and it’s hard and gritty.”
Cornall is hoping he can make a good impression during the winter and is aware of a potential opportunity to challenge for a first team spot with Daryl Mitchell’s retirement.
He said: “I’m looking forward to working hard and showing the coaches what I can do, and hopefully it will provide a platform.
“Hopefully, I will get the nod at some point in the season, and looking forward to taking my opportunity with both hands.
“An opportunity up for grabs? Which is what makes it such an exciting opportunity and what makes it very attractive. I’m not 18 anymore; I’m 22, and I want to be making a mark in the first class game.”
Cornall seized his chance with both hands as he and Tom Fell hit hundreds at Scarborough in a rearguard action.
He said: “It’s funny how things happen, and suddenly you can be in the right place at the right time, and things go your way.
“They had a good attack, and Duanne Olivier is not long out of Test cricket (with South Africa). It’s a tough challenge, but it’s great when you get to that milestone (of a century), and you enjoy saving the game for the team.
“I then had two days in the nets at New Road. It was tough nets, very competitive but also very enjoyable, and I was made to feel welcome.”
Cornall got to see one of his heroes when growing up at close hand when playing for Lancashire in the Royal London Cup.
He said: “I always admired Sir Alastair Cook and it was a fantastic experience to watch him from point score an unbelievable 100 at Old Trafford.”
Gidman said: “Taylor was extremely impressive for us at Scarborough in testing conditions against a very good attack and Kadeer and Kevin were blown away by what they saw in terms of character and temperament.
“He has learnt things the hard way, spent a lot of time learning his trade, and seems to have a very good head on his shoulders.
“He came down here for a couple of days after that game and fitted in really well and, as a collective, we decided the right thing to do was to give him an opportunity.
“There is an element of unknown about him but a lot of positive things about him as a person and as a cricketer, and we look forward to getting to know him more over the winter, and trying to help him improve.”