The 2023 County Championship reached its conclusion yesterday (September 29), with Surrey clinching their second successive Division One title. Here are six breakout stars from this year’s competition.

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These are the young players who had their first stand-out seasons in the Championship. While plenty of youngsters starred with bat and ball, these are the players who haven’t also shone to the same extent in previous seasons.

James Rew

14 matches, 1,086 runs at 57.15; five hundreds, HS: 221

No player has scored more centuries in the County Championship before their 20th birthday as Rew. He also became the youngest Somerset player ever to score a double-century this season with a sublime 221 against Hampshire in July. Even more impressive was that Rew came to the crease at 41-4 and took Somerset to a score of 500. Having made his first-class debut last year and scored his maiden ton, Rew properly announced himself this year as one of the most promising young batting prospects. He finished the season as the third-leading run scorer in Division One, with the second-highest average of anyone with more than 300 runs.

Tom Lawes

10 matches, 39 wickets at 19.76; two five-fors, BBI: 5-22

Lawes finished his season with back-to-back five wicket hauls, stabilising Surrey to help them cling on to the title. Only 20 years old and with plenty of senior bowlers in the attack, Lawes shone in the second half of the season, stepping up as a seamer generally brought on to bowl first or second change with the older ball. He signed a multi-year contract with Surrey in August having signed his first fully professional contract last year.

Rishi Patel

14 matches, 1,075 runs at 44.79; four hundreds, HS: 179

Patel scored his maiden first-class century in the opening round of Division Two, inspiring Leicestershire to their first Championship win at Headingley in over a century. They pulled off their third-highest successful chase in history, scoring 389 in 87 overs to reach their target with seven balls to spare. Patel’s 125 from 200 balls their biggest contribution. Patel went on to score another three hundreds in the season, including a career-best 179 against Glamorgan.

James Coles

12 matches, 849 runs at 42.45; three hundreds, HS: 180

19-year-old Coles finished the season with his third century, scoring 128 against Gloucestershire. His most impressive innings of the summer was 180 against Derbyshire, rescuing Sussex from 72-4 to set up a declaration in a tense draw. The youngest player ever to make his first-class debut for Sussex at 16 years old, this year was his first stand-out season with his maiden century in the competition and only second in the run-scoring charts to Fynn Hudson-Prentice among Sussex players.

Finlay Bean

13 matches, 983 runs at 46.80; three hundreds, HS: 135

Having made his first-class debut at the end of last season, Bean registered his maiden century on the first day of this year’s competition against Leicestershire. He finished the season just shy of 1,000 runs, his runs characterised by the quick rate they came at.

George Balderson

11 matches, 702 runs at 50.14; two hundreds, HS: 116*
23 wickets at 34.08; BBI: 4-69

Lancashire all-rounder Balderson finished the season with an average of over 50 in Division One. He scored his maiden first-class century in July and another against Northants towards the back-end of the season. A former England U19 captain, he finished the summer with a half century against Kent to go with a four-for with the ball.