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A Dreadful Finale
For the second time in the last couple of months, high-flying Essex have trounced mediocre Yorkshire. It's quite galling to observe that not so long ago the Tykes were the best team in England, while Essex were lowly also-rans. Now it's definitely the other way around. Four times the wafer-thin Yorkshire batting line up has been blown to smithereens by a rampant Essex bowling attack. How the latter must yearn to bowl against the weak white rose all the time. Very few positives can be found in the away team's pathetic performance, other than to note that young Coad reached the fifty first-class wickets milestone (hopefully the first of many) whilst young Fisher was the only batsman to offer any semblance of resistance during the second innings carnage. This match (which it wasn't!) ended one day early. The visitors can thank their lucky stars that there are two teams worse in the league than them, otherwise they would be paying a visit to Division Two. Quite frankly, our batting is Second Division standard, and were it not for the efforts of Coad and Sidebottom, our bowling has scarcely been much better.
Patterson Rescues The Tykes
Steven Patterson proved to be the unlikely batting hero, as Yorkshire just about stumbled to victory against bottom club, Warwickshire. 175 was the target and the Tykes fittingly made hard work of obtaining it. In fact, when the top order collapsed on the final morning, a home win seemed unlikely, given the existence of a long tail. However, with Warwickshire poised for triumph at the lunch interval, the tail surprisingly wagged its way to the chequered flag, courtesy of a 78-run eighth wicket stand between the plucky young Fisher and the veteran Patterson. However, more drama arrived when Matthew was dismissed with the scores level. In the end, Brooksy only had to cope with one delivery before Patto stroked the winning runs. Yorkshire have had a peculiar and largely unfulfilling season in which they lost a few very close Twenty20 encounters, but they have compensated to a large extent with two priceless and perilously close wins in the County Championship at Somerset and against Warwickshire which may prove just enough to keep Yorkshire dining at the top table. Bizarrely, Yorkshire go into their final fixture at champions Essex in fourth position, with the potential to finish second if they win and possibly to be relegated if they lose heavily.
Batsmen Excel In Surrey Tussle
Yorkshire finally managed to cash in on a flat pitch by amassing a couple of decent batting scores. Unfortunately the damage had already been done in so far as the hosts had won the toss and batted themselves into an unbeatable position, courtesy of big centuries for the outstanding Sangakkara and England's new opener, Mark Stoneman. All that remained was for the Tykes to try and avoid following on, which they failed to do, and then try and avoid an innings defeat which they comfortably achieved on a relatively lifeless pitch. This honourable draw has come at a cost however, as the white rose are left dangling perilously close to the drop zone. Indeed it is the mother of all ironies that the three teams that fought neck and neck last September to attain Championship glory are twelve months later slugging it out with one another to escape the relegation trapdoor, namely Middlesex, Somerset, and Yorkshire. Once more it looks like their fate will go down to the proverbial wire. Yorkshire must surely capitalise on their home engagement avec lowly Warwickshire because a last week trip to new champions Essex looks mighty ominous.
How ironic that when Yorkshire belatedly amassed a half-decent batting total for the first time in many months, the local weather would do its very best to prevent any possibility of a win. This isn't to suggest that the Tykes would have gone on to win, as Middlesex made a competitive reply, but they would have had to bat last and presumably chase an awkward total. In the end, the visitors declared on 272 for eight, thereby bringing a halt to the interrupted proceedings and ensuring that the hosts could not obtain a third bowling bonus point. Consequently both protagonists finished locked together on 114 Championship points, a mere thirteen points off Hampshire in thrid place but precariously also thirteen points above Somerset in the relegation zone. The white rose almost certainly need at least one win from their three remaining fixtures to secure their First Division status.
Adam Lyth's Sensational Ton
Adam Lyth was unquestionably the star of the show, as he tore up the record books with an exhilarating innings that lasted until the last few balls of Yorkshire's allotted twenty overs. Along with Kohler-Cadmore, Lyth added 127, and then for the second wicket the ace opener shared in a stand of 124 with Willey. Not wishing to disparage the efforts of his partners, Lyth (the bald eagle) dominated the proceedings with an eye-catching total of twenty fours and seven sixes. Ironically the Vikings could only muster a mediocre nine runs off the last deliveries which amounted to an anti-climax after the fireworks display of the first eighteen overs.
The Vikings' hopes of reaching the Twenty20 Blast quarter finals were all but ended by yet another painfully narrow defeat. Unfortunately for some peculiar reason an experienced Yorkshire team seem insufficiently streetwise to prevail in tight tussles, always ending up as the bridesmaid. The batting has been generally good, but the team has lost too many matches that were there for the taking. Today's encounter was no exception. The Tykes posted a highly competitive score, identical in fact to that which they recorded just the night before. However this time they were unable to defend their total and Leicestershire slipped past them in the final over. The result was tough on Kohler-Cadmore and Marsh who each made big contributions. Nevertheless the Yorkshire puddings go into the final round of matches needing to win against Northamptonshire and hope that other results go in their favour. Their chances appear to be really slim.
Brezza Crushes Lancashire's Resistance
The Yorkshire puddings kept alive their hopes of progressing in the Twenty20 Blast, courtesy of yet another triumph against Lancashire. The hosts made a sensational start, as their openers smashed 95 off only eight overs, but then the rest of the innings stuttered by comparison. Indeed such was the subsequent limp by the batting order that they could only muster a mediocre fifty-nine runs off the last nine overs. Therefore, at the halfway stage, the contest seemed to be finely poised.
Debacle In Scarborough
One has to feel sorry for the Scarborough faithful and also have some sympathy for Leaning and Lyth and Coad because this was an abject two-day defeat at the hands of a team that was in a lower league only last year. Tragically, Yorkshire's pitiful batting has descended from bad to worse, and one is running out of scornful adjectives that could be ascribed to the Tykes when it comes to run-scoring. Suffice to say that the Vikings bat considerably better in twenty overs than the first eleven do in the longer version - itself a telling story. One wonders whether the white rose decline will reach the destination of Division Two come the end of September. It's starting to look that way! Depressingly, Yorkshire will almost certainly have to soldier on with their misfiring puddings, as adequate reinforcements are decidedly thin on the ground.
Laughable, Pitiful Vikings
The hapless Yorkshire puddings have now followed up three consecutive Twenty20 wins with three defeats inside a miserable week. All three losses could have been avoided, and yet the Tykes (boasting about half a dozen internationals in their ranks) will insist on losing close matches. Tonight by the narrowest of margins, the visitors broke their supporters' hearts with an inept run chase that landed them one run pitifully short of Durham's own total.
Another Narrow Setback
Ssometimes losing by a small margin is the most painful situation of all, and yet again Derbyshire Falcons have narrowly prevailed against the Vikings. Quite frankly, with a team that boasts our embarrassment of resources, the Tykes should not be losing twice to our more impoverished neighbour. Kohler-Cadmore is short changing his employers with inadequate scores, while the efforts of Shaun Marsh are scarcely much better. Ultimately 180 was a decent total, but unfortunately Rafiq was expensive and Fisher underemployed, with the consequence that the visitors paced themselves perfectly to a deserved triumph. Three consecutive wins followed soon after by two straight defeats is typically Yorkshire. At least new recruit Sarfraz Ahmed acquitted himself well.