Although Derbyshire ran out victors by 6 wickets at the County Ground today the result was largely immaterial as Yorkshire certainly treated the 50-overs a side match played under 4-day rules as a day of practice. Adam Lyth was Yorkshire’s star as he ended unbeaten on 82 to send a later reminder to the Gillespie/Gale selection combo ahead of the season’s opener against Kent at Headingley on 5 April.
(PHOTO: Azeem Rafiq, pictured bowling in the nets on the pre-season tour of Barbados, will lead the Yorkshire side at the County Ground in Derby)
Yorkshire made 175-2 in their 50 overs after Derbyshire won the toss and opted to field. The emphasis was entirely on spending time in the middle. Yorkshire’s ‘senior’ squad play over Sunday and Monday in Chester-le-Street.
If the County Ground has been christened Derbados it certainly isn’t for its end of March weather. After a fortnight in the Caribbean and a balmy few days since our return the cloud and cold saw beany hats in pre-match practice and spectators digging out their winter coats.
In this day and age this should be hardly worthy of note, but Azeem Rafiq became the first player of Asian descent to captain a Yorkshire 1st XI. Many congratulations to a player that is building all the credentials to get the job full-time one day.
Adam Lyth and Alex Lees opened the Yorkshire innings under a blanket of grey cloud which didn’t shift all day. The pair of left-handers started with gusto, punishing anything short, until Lees pushed at the final ball of Tim Groenewald’s first outdoor over of 2012 (he didn’t bowl in Barbados) and was caught at slip by Dan Redfern for 25 (4 fours).
Richard Pyrah looked understandably scratchy early on after staying home while his colleagues played in Barbados to welcome twin girls and practice on his own at Headingley. He gradually eased into his stride, but after notching one boundary, he gave David Wainwright the charge and was stumped by Tom Poynton for 20. Yorkshire were 98-2 in the 26th over.
Lyth was showing the resilience he had displayed in Barbados when his opening knock of 96 had seemed to have stolen the march on his competitors for 1st team action. That day he had been determined to make a start count and he was playing with equal maturity against the Derbyshire attack.
He went to fifty from 83 balls which included 6 fours and celebrated with an exquisite cover driven 7th boundary. He then went through a period where runs were harder to come by, but knuckled down when last summer he may have manufactured a big shot to free the shackles.
It would be Lyth’s last boundary of the day as he decided crease occupation and determination mattered most, a further indication that the Tykes were not interested in setting a challenging total. His final tally of 82 runs came in 148 balls and was further evidence Lyth’s credentials and he could still force his way into 1st team contention for the Kent match next week. He has certainly responded to disappointment with real Whitby fight!
Jason Gillespie told me earlier today that the 1st XI picked against Durham is ‘not set in stone’ for the Kent fixture and he and Gale must be scratching their heads wondering how to fit a talented young squad into 11 shirts.
Gerard Brophy kept Lyth company with 40 not out from 76 balls, including 5 fours, but there was no hurry on a day where the ‘one-day’ nature of the fixture was secondary to getting in and building an innings.
The pick of the Derbyshire attack was ex-Tyke David Wainwright whose 10 overs yielded figures of 1-23.
Derbyshire were reduced to 34-3 after an excellent opening spell from Oliver Hannon-Dalby. Paul Borrington (0) pushed forward to a good length delivery in the third over and edged to Pyrah at second slip and a few overs later Chesney Hughes was bowled by a ball that moved between his bat and pad.
Alex Lilley bowled Derbyshire skipper Wayne Madsen (11) with his first delivery and Yorkshire were making their hosts struggle in the 10th over. But Dan Redfern joined forces with Wes Durston to add 90 for the 4th wicket before Pyrah had the latter leg before for a well constructed 40.
Redfern was in dominant mood however and alongside Ross Whiteley raced paced the victory target in the 30th over. The day was meant for practice and both sides were keen to play through to the 100 overs in a day end.
Redfern’s first fifty took only 34 balls and moved to three figures in 76 balls which included 17 fours and a six. He fell leg before attempting to reverse sweep Azeem Rafiq for 120.
Pyrah was expensive as he eased his way back into outdoor action, but Rafiq kept him in the firing line as he got overs in his legs ahead of a long summer and improved. Moin Ashraf struggled for his line early on.
Whitely reached fifty from 56 balls with 8 fours and a six and remained unbeaten on 76 alongside David Wainwright (14*) when the 50 overs was up and Derbyshire’s score was 288-5.
So the pre-season matches against Derbyshire end with one win, a defeat and a draw, but Yorkshire won the one where the result mattered. I actually fancy Derbyshire to feature towards the top end of Division Two – I’ve got them 2nd to Yorkshire’s 1st – we’ll see eh?
JAMES BUTTLER at DERBY
Yorkshire played Derbyshire twice in Barbados, but they were the first of many fixtures against the East Midlands side who will crop up regularly in all competitions this summer.
First blood was taken by the Tykes in the quarter-finals of their successful Barbados Twenty20 Cup campaign and the tour ended with a 2-day draw at North Stars Cricket Club.
Now back in the UK, Azeem Rafiq leads a young team to the County Ground for the penultimate pre-season friendly before the season starts proper against Kent in the LV= County Championship at Headingley on 5 April. A chance for some to stake a last minute claim!
The match will commence at 10.45am, be played with a red ball and in whites with no restrictions with 50-overs-a-side.
Admission is free.
Adam LYTH, Alex LEES, Gerard BROPHY (wk), Richard PYRAH, Callum GELDART, Azeem RAFIQ (capt), Alex LILLEY, Gurman RANDHAWA, Dave GIRLING, Moin ASHRAF, Oliver HANNON-DALBY and George ROSS.
Chesney HUGHES, Dan REDFERN, Wayne MADSEN, Garry PARK, Jonny CLARE, Mark FOOTITT, Mark TURNER, Matt LINEKER, Ross WHITELY, David WAINWRIGHT, Tim GROENEWALD, Tom KNIGHT, Tom POYNTON, Tony PALLADINO, Wes DURSTON, Jake NEEDHAM