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Abject Batting Display In London
Along with the trouncing by Somerset last September, this latest setback represents Yorkshire's worst performance in the County Championship for several years. Even coach Andrew Gale quickly conceded that his team were "poor". Apologists will blame the pitch and the coach load of famed absentees, but Yorkshire's dismal batting continues to stagger from one calamity to the next. Adam Lyth is a has-been, Alex Lees is a never-will-be, and Peter Handscomb is no Darren Lehmann. As a consequence, the team are losing out on far too many batting bonus points, as a measly two hundred now seems to be a par score for the Tykes. Our fine bowling unit remains our one saving grace, but even they are sometimes neutered by benign pitches. The team's hierarchy have some serious thinking to do ahead of our Surrey engagement. It remains to be seen whether Yorkshire's puddings will be battling for the Championship or fighting to stay in the Championship.
Further Knockout Misery
A formidable Surrey (missing one England player) successfully defended their total against an under-strength Yorkshire (missing five England players). This is the second successive year that the south Londonders have conquered the Tykes in the knockout stage of the Royal London One Day Cup. The hosts remain incapable of negotiating the knockout fences in spite of making much progress at the group stage year after year. This is a conundrum that needs to be solved. Maybe the north group isn't as difficult to qualify from as the south group, though I scarcely believe that. Perhaps Yorkshire would be better suited to a season-long one-day league, akin to the old Sunday League?
A Cliffhanger In Taunton!
How will Yorkshire ever cope when Ryan Sidebottom retires and Gary Ballance receives a test recall? Mind you, the Tykes have demonstrated once again that even with a cruelly depleted squad they can still just about prevail. This nail biter was one of those prime occasions when every moment of fielding brilliance or incompetence actually did determine the eventual result. Somerset, mysteriously struggling this summer, always appear to be a much tougher proposition for the white rose than Warwickshire. This renders our astonishing conquest of them all the more satisfying. The visitors looked well on track for victory going into the final day, but a fine fifth wicket partnership between Davies and debutant Hose all but slammed the door on an away win. However two quick wickets breathed life into the contest, but even at lunch, the home team looked poised for a narrow win. Nevertheless, at the eleventh hour, along comes the unlikely bowling combination of Lyth and Siddy to achieve a stunning triumph. Credit must go to the captain for persevering with them, when the new ball was available, while young Carver also took two catches in the final hour - each of which must be worth about eight points.
Adam Lyth demonstrated a long overdue return to form as Yorkshire easily conquered the next door neighbour. However, although Lythy was clearly the standout batsman in a low scoring contest, it was the Tykes seamers who inflicted most damage and thereby took their team to within two points of the league leaders of Essex. It remains to be seen whether our remaining opponents this summer will be as prone to capitulation as the red rose batsmen, but then such is the strength in our bowling that many teams would struggle, unless they mischievously neuter our attack with a flat pitch.
Another Awful Roses Stalemate
Trust good old Old Trafford to produce yet again a pitch that did little to enhance the chances of a result, but simply allowed several batsmen to fill their boots on this buffet pitch. I'm all for pitches where bowlers have to work hard for their wickets, but for the second successive year, the red rose contingent have constructed a pitch that would have required about eight days to obtain a win for either protagonist. I guess that ultimately one could say that neither bowling unit did anywhere near enough to warrant a victory. Still, one bowler did have cause to celebrate, as Jack Brooks, batting at nine compiled his maiden first class century. A hearty congratulations to the headband warrior, but that was perhaps a barometer of how docile the pitch obviously was!
Carver Impresses In Sixth Tournament Win
For the seventh successive Yorkshire one-day fixture, the team that won the toss went on to lose the match - not that the Tykes' contingent are complaining at this peculiar phenomenon. The white rose prevailed in the end here and earned themselves a home quarter final, finishing with a highly impressive six group wins out of eight. However, they made hard work of overcoming a resilient Leicestershire.
A Birmingham Setback
Peculiarly, Yorkshire have qualified for at least the quarter finals of the Royal London One Day Cup, in spite of losing to a Warwickshire team that cruised to triumph, courtesy of a well-timed runs chase. The hosts were greatly helped by an opening stand of more than one hundred runs which appeared to take the contest away from the Tykes. However an outstanding spell of bowling by Azeem Rafiq threatened to pull a rabbit out of the hat. The visitors needed to keep chipping away at the Bears' batting line up, but another excellent stand from Bell and Clarke closed the door firmly on an away win.
Gary Ballance, in the midst of a Bradman-esque patch for Yorkshire, rescued his flagging team, after the loss of three early wickets almost vindicated the hosts' bold but ultimately foolish decision to bowl first. The Tykes duly chalked up their fifth group win out of six, and it is no coincidence that their only defeat came when batting second. Why opposing captains ask us to bat first is logic-defying. There is always going to be someone in our top quintet who seems likely to pile on the runs. Today, with Handscomb recording a rare failure, it was left to the captain, ably assisted by young Waite and Mr Rashid, to transform our innings and post yet another fairly formidable target.
Bravado From Handscomb Inspires Narrow Triumph
The visitors did their very best to defy the odds with a plucky run chase, but came up just short even though the required run rate was frequently in excess of about twelve per over in the latter stages of their pursuit. In fact it took Derbyshire until about two thirds of the way into their innings before they had even reached half of Yorkshire's total. They looked distinctly doomed, but an excellent display of clean hitting from tailender Critchley took the away team close to attaining an unlikely victory. This contrasted with the Tykes' tail which once more went into headless chicken mode, suffering a couple of run outs and merely scratching out five or six runs per over in the last few. This was almost their undoing - and needs to be addressed.
'Second String' Succumb To Worcestershire
With five of our first eleven away on England duty in a mismatch against Ireland, the Yorkshire team at New Road was something of a makeshift outfit, coping with a large number of absentees. In the final analysis, they pretty much conformed to this description. Having said that, the visitors still boasted three England internationals, so any suggestion that they were at a distinct disadvantage is wearing a bit thin. Instead, our captain's apparent lack of confidence in his own batting line up meant that we gifted them the opportunity to compile a huge score, and their openers duly obliged. Mind you, given the puny efforts of Leaning, Lees, and Rhodes, the captain can almost be excused for bottling it and opting to bowl first.