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A Fine Finish
It took until the evening of the first day of the final fixture for Yorkshire to secure their top league status for next year when they picked up a second bowling bonus point. Remarkably, the Tykes then put their seal on a decent September by finishing the league campaign in a lofty fourth position. This has been a largely disappointing summer for the white rose, beset by batting inadequacies, but peculiarly Yorkshire are the fourth best team in the land, which I am afraid doesn't bode well for English cricket. Someone on Faecesbook the other day suggested that extras should be in contention for Yorkshire player of the season. This was a damning indictment of our summery travails, but at least it ended well with TKC, Lyth, and Ballance piling on the runs in the final few weeks. Nevertheless, a final position of fourth looks ludicrous, but there again league tables don't lie!
The Tykes took a step closer towards division one safety by comfortably avoiding defeat against Hampshire. In fact, were it not for the cruel intervention of the weather, the hosts would have been well-placed to win this encounter. Now they travel to Worcester for their final fixture, needing a mere two points to confirm their top league status for next year. Surely not even stuttering Yorkshire can stuff up this gift of an opportunity. There again, any team that fails to take two points against struggling Worcestershire deserves to be relegated.
A Desperately-Needed Roses Success
Struggling Yorkshire fought back tremendously to easily overcome struggling Lancashire. At stumps on day one, a home win seemed highly unlikely. The hosts had been knocked over cheaply for the umpteenth time. Then, to make matters worse, the red rose put on one hundred for their first wicket. However it then began to unravel for the visitors. They did a very good impersonation of the Yorkshire skittles, and indeed we discovered that Lancashire's batting is even more fragile than Yorkshire's.
A Decent Draw In Nottingham
Struggling Yorkshire belatedly showed some form with the bat, falling two shy of a five hundred total. Clearly the pitch was batsman-friendly, but to finish with honours even was something of a morale booster. However, it's highly unlikely that draws in their three remaining matches will preserve the Tykes' top flight status. Therefore it is imperative that they pull one or two rabbits out of the hat in the closing weeks, whilst hoping for favourable weather in Leeds and Worcester. Bowling well in one match and then batting well in the next is not enough. The white rose protagonists need to put in a good shift in both departments in the same fixture, starting with the visit of fellow-strugglers Lancashire next week.
Somerset Stuff The Tykes
Not for the first time in the last three years, Somerset succeeded in trouncing hapless Yorkshire. Martyn Moxon was foolishly upbeat after this setback, but there appears a worrying descent towards the second division. The visitors actually timed their declaration to perfection in so far as they ensured plenty of cricket on the final day. However, the declaration looked way too cautious, as the hosts never seemed likely to get anywhere near four hundred runs. Although Somerset seemed to unnecessarily delay the declaration, they still managed to roll over the top two skittles in the Yorkshire batting order on the third session of the third day. Yorkshire did bat a bit better in this match, but worryingly nobody seems capable of recording a century, which is ominous for this struggling team.
Batting Frailties In Scarborough
Yorkshire's atrocious batting inadequacies were cruelly exposed once more - this time by bottom of the table Worcestershire who romped to a landslide triumph against pitiful Yorkshire. The good and faithful citizens of 'Scarbados' will be wondering what they have done to deserve such awful fare from their own team. Some of our batsmen don't seem to know where their next run is coming from. Nobody seems able to construct a lengthy innings. Relegation beckons, unless the team familiarise themselves with substantial run scoring, as demonstrated by lowly Worcestershire.
In this erratic world, amidst all the upheaval, there is but one constant: Yorkshire cricket club's failure to get a handle on Twenty20 cricket. Yes there have been one or two near misses along the way, but the county remains some way short of the perpetually elusive Twenty20 success. Of course this campaign was undone by four defeats from our four outings with Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. Twenty20 cricket requires batting and thinking outside of the box, the latter attribute conspicuously lacking from Yorkshire CCC. The county persisted with big Bresnan for whom this proved to be a campaign too far. Equally inept was Gary Ballance who ekes out about a dozen runs from a dozen deliveries, when the absent Leaning might at least smite thirty runs off twenty balls. Yes once again the Tykes were the authors of their own misfortunes. Quite frankly, the quarter finals of the Vitality Blast Twenty20 is far better off without them.
Northamptonshire have been the punch bag of the Twenty20 northern group, and the Vikings managed to fill their boots in what was ultimately a one-sided contest. Of course Josh Cobb did his utmost to ensure an awkward run chase, with the home team's cause assisted by two sixes from their final over. Then when Kohler-Cadmore didn't wish to put the scorer to any trouble, Yorkshire's pursuit looked briefly in peril. However Adam Lyth belatedly found some form after an uncomfortably long barren patch in this tournament, and he and the outstanding David Willey put on 150 for the second wicket. Willey is deputising as captain for the injured Patterson, and his contribution with bat and ball has left the Vikings needing 'only' to win at home to Nottinghamshire Outlaws tomorrow night to secure qualification for the last eight of the Vitality Blast Twenty20. However, such has been Yorkshire's inconsistent form, that I won't be holding my breath, maybe just clutching some straws instead.
A Crushing Defeat In Nottingham
The painful lesson from this demolition is that even if the Yorkshire puddings sneak into the last eight, they still seem ill-equipped to flourish in Twenty20 cricket. Our bowling is inadequate, save for the efforts of Jack Brooks, and our batting looks equally threadbare once you remove the top three from the equation. It was after all no coincidence that the Tykes collapsed from 138 for three to a staggering 143 for seven. Just as Lancashire overtook us in the group table last night, so too Nottinghamshire deservedly leapfrog us. The visitors will have the chance of revenge next Friday in the final group match. However even two wins next week may not shunt the impotent Vikings into the Vitality Blast quarter finals.
Lancashire Stroll To Victory
Yorkshire's hopes of progressing to the last eight of the Vitality Twenty20 Blast were left hanging by a thread, after their neighbours across the Pennines cruised to a comfortable victory. The hosts did post a reasonably competitive and indeed daunting target, but the momentum appeared to swing after Faulkner claimed three Tyke wickets from the last four balls of the innings. This undid some majestic batting from David Willey earlier, after Adam Lyth had succumbed to yet another cheap dismissal. In the end, the chasing team kept the runs flowing and kept their wickets intact, ensuring a relatively pain-free Roses success. This setback leaves the Yorkshire puddings with very little margin for error in their remaining group fixtures.