Pieter Swanepoel's career as a Yorkshire first team player goes back only a fortnight but the 26-year-old South African all-rounder has slotted into the framework so well that he seems to have been around much longer.

He won his place because backs-to-the-wall Yorkshire needed to give young paceman Tim Bresnan a rest from the Championship match and the strongly built Swanepoel soon showed that here was an uncomplaining and uncomplicated cricketer who was quite capable of looking after himself.

Swanepoel grabbed his maiden wicket with his 25th delivery in the Durham match and his first innings analysis of 18-9-30-1 would have looked even better if Yuvraj Singh had not put down a slip catch which allowed Jon Lewis to move on from 66 to 124 as he patiently rebuilt the Durham innings.

Then, when Yorkshire were tottering on 115-8, Swanepoel batted sensibly to help Lumb put on 79 in 19 overs which was a Yorkshire record for the ninth wicket against Durham, easily outstripping the 52 by Ryan Sidebottom and Michael Vaughan at Riverside in 1998.

In Durham's second innings, Swanepoel picked up 2-40 in 16 accurate overs and his overall performance and attitude left Yorkshire with no fears about giving him a longer run.

Against Bradford-Leeds Universities' Centre of Excellence he was the top bowler with a 4-50 haul and on his National League debut at Tunbridge Wells last week he got rid of former Tyke Greg Blewett and Matt Walker.

One glance at Swanepoel in action is sufficient to tell you that he is a tough competitor who does not take kindly to defeat and it comes as no surprise to learn that carving out a first class career has been at the front of his mind ever since coming from South Africa to play for Sheffield United in the Yorkshire League seven years' ago.

Now married to an English girl, Tara Jane, Swanepoel and his family are happily settled in the Eccleshall district of Sheffield

Born in the wine-producing region of Paarl, near Cape Town, Swanepoel grew up like most South African lads with a passion for both rugby and cricket.

"When I got to 16 I had to make a choice and I decided that cricket was the game I had to take seriously," said Swanepoel.

"I joined the Western Province and Boland Cricket Academy where I spent four years under the supervision of coach Eddie Barlow, the former South Africa captain who also had a spell with Derbyshire, and it was from there that I came to play cricket for Sheffield United.

"I got on very well with everyone at United right from the start but I could easily have gone to Castleford instead. Chris Silverwood wanted me to play for his club but Cas had already signed an Australian so I got in touch with United officials and they asked me to join them."

Swanepoel could also have finished up playing for Derbyshire rather than Yorkshire because he came to the Peakites notice in 2000 when they decided to take a look at him.

He turned out for Derbyshire Seconds against Yorkshire Seconds in a three-day match at Rotherham and took 5-98 as well as scoring a quickfire 23.

His performance was watched with interest by Academy boss Steve Oldham and second team coach Arnie Sidebottom and the pair promptly offered him some games with Yorkshire Seconds the following season.

He has spent the last two summers with the Colts and last year he hit the headlines by taking a hat-trick for the Yorkshire Board against the full Somerset side in the Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy tie at Scarborough.

In the new year, Swanepoel became an English qualified player, so making him eligible to play Championship cricket for Yorkshire.

"It was a dream come true when I was chosen to make my debut against Durham," he said. "To play first-class cricket, especially for Yorkshire, is a great honour and I feel very proud indeed."

At lunchtime on the first day of the Durham match, Swanepoel received his second team cap. It was proof that Swanepoel had been accepted by Yorkshire and that the door had been opened for him to step through and achieve even greater success."

Updated: 10:44 Saturday, June 14, 2003