Yorkshire were thwarted by the weather, but should be praised for an adventurous declaration that, for a time, had set them on course for victory against Essex on the final day at Headingley. But the rain fell and Yorkshire take 7 points and Essex 6 from the drawn fixture.
A combination of the groundstaff’s hard work and a bit of luck on days two and three had seen Headingley avoid the worst of the weather as the darkest skies circled around the playing surface, but for Andrew Gale that good fortune ran out with the vistors 26-2, after initially seeking 262 to win in a minimum of 74 overs.
Yorkshire set about their task with relish and made the most of the 8 overs before lunch with Ajmal Shahzad’s 2-4 accounting for Alviro Petersen (3) and Billy Godleman (2), both lbw to full straight deliveries, to reduce Essex to 7-2 at the beginning of the sixth over. Ryan Sidebottom also looked dangerous and at the break, with 66 overs still to play, a big afternoon session loomed.
Jason Gillespie and Gale had always promised their side would risk a 3 point draw to earn 16 points for a win and as some were calling it brave I couldn’t help feeling excited that the Yorkshire hierarchy were backing their bowlers to do the job. Whatever the result it was great to see.
Ajmal Shahzad has been unlucky of late, bowling with ever increasing accuracy, he could have taken far more than the 6 Championship wickets he now has, but it bodes well for the rest of the summer that he is hungry to put that right: “The wicket still had a bit in it and we wanted to apply the pressure and got off really well. It’s just unfortunate that the weather put an end to it. We want to get a win under our belts and hopefully we can do that at Canterbury next week.”
Yorkshire commenced the final day with a lead of 191 runs with 8 wickets in reserve as they bid to set up a challenging declaration against Essex.
With a licence to attack Joe Sayers (45) edged a cut behind off David Masters to his first ball. Andrew Gale was joined by Jonny Bairstow and the pair took the lead passed 200. Gale bludgeoned the spin of Tom Westley straight down the ground to make his intent clear.
Bairstow lent back and cut Masters through cover as the rain returned. It was a stoppage that saw 8 overs lost. After the resumption there was more positive intent as Gale hammered Greg Smith over long-on for six, but Bairstow (24) persihed in the chase for runs when he pulled Smith straight to Wheater at deep square.
Gale survived when Willoughby dropped a simple chance at long-off later in the same over and the next ball flew of a failing outside edge for 4. It was runs rather than wickets that were on the Tykes minds.
The 200 was passed in the 55th over and with 78 overs remaining a declaration leaving 300 in something like 70 overs seemed realistic.
But Andrew Gale was braver than me. His declaration had undoubtedly taken the chance of further showers into account, but signs are that this Yorkshire team will back their own talent and try for victory whenever the chance arises. It should make for exciting cricket this summer, but on this occasion the rain had the last laugh.
It’s just sods law that I’m typing this report at 4.50pm I’m looking out at the brightest sunshine of the day at Headingley! It was just one of those days.
In other news, Martyn Moxon confirmed after play that there was no truth in a rumour circulating amongst Members that the Club were seeking to send Adam Lyth out on loan.
Also, although both sides struggled to maintain their overrates, neither side will be deducted points as such things as weather and delays are ultimately taken into account.
Yorkshire will commence the final day with a lead of 191 runs with 8 wickets in reserve as they bid to set up a challenging declaration against Essex.
The Tykes commenced their second innings with a lead of 47 runs and a day and 45 overs remaining in the match. By tea the opening pair had taken the score to 45-0 with Sayers 19 and Root 23. The lead was 91 with 32 overs remaining.
The progress had been secure rather than dramatic with only 12 runs added in the 8 overs bowled immediately after the tea interval. In the 22nd over from Tom Westley Yorkshire helped themselves to 10 runs, with two swept boundaries by Root.
It was Root who pushed the pedal first. He reverse swept Westley to bring up his second first-class fifty of the summer in 77 balls with his eighth four. The younger of the two Joes was starting to flow and three straight drives were testament to his class and vast potential. Unfortunately for the spectators his entertainment was limited to 67 runs after being strangled down the legside by Greg Smith when wafting a glance.
Joe Sayers gained a life when a low chance to Alviro Petersen at first slip was spilled and he and Phil Jaques continued the chase of a challenging declaration sometime tomorrow.
Jaques aimed a sweep at Westley and was lbw for 18. Andrew Gale drove his second ball from Westley over long-on for 6 and he and his side will be looking for more of the same when seek to power to a declaration on Sunday morning.
Essex resumed day three with their sixth wicket partnership between Ravi Bopara and James Foster becoming increasingly problematic. Foster, on 25, drove at a fired up Ryan Sidebottom and was well caught by Anthony McGrath to his left at second slip. The partnership had added 65 and was threatening to wipe away the Yorkshire euphoria of the previous session.
Ajmal Shahzad’s poor luck continued when Phil Jaques spilled a tough one handed chance to his right one ball after Bopara had reached fifty in 117 balls with 8 fours. Shahzad had cause to smile when he beat David Masters (1) for speed and sent his off-stump cartwheeling back.
At 119-7 Tim Phillips, who hadn’t bowled in Yorkshire’s innings due to a back spasm, came to the crease with Adam Wheater as his runner. He and Bopara (68 not out) saw Essex through to lunch at 143-7.
Immediately after lunch Sidebottom removed Tim Phillips (5) when he spooned an outside edge he was aiming through midwicket to Joe Root at point. Maurice Chambers was lbw soon after to give Sidebottom his fifth scalp and it was over to Tymel Mills to allow Bopara to steal the strike and get Essex as close to Yorkshire’s first innings total as possible.
Bopara may not yet have convinced on the international stage, but in this game, slong with Phil Jaques, he has been head and shoulders above the rest. It was certainly halting Yorkshire’s progress.
In the 54th over of the innings Bopara glanced, flicked through midwicket and cover drove three successive fours as he reached three figures with the second of those strokes in 201 balls and 15 fours.
Bopara’s attempts to keep the strike ultimately sacrificed his partner to the final ball of the 80th over when Mills was run out for 2 and a troublesome 10th wicket partnership of 48 ended. Bopara’s unbeaten 117 was his first in first-class cricket since July 2011.
If the weather is kind their is still much to play for when the game heads to its conclusion on Sunday.
JAMES BUTTLER at HEADINGLEY
DAY TWO MATCH REPORT
Day two effectively became day one of three and the Tykes started well with the bat but had a customary collapse to 246 all out, before Steve Patterson and Ryan Sidebottom rocked Essex with late wickets. At the close Essex were 72-5, still 174 runs behind. It’s bubbling up to be a cracker…
After the disappointment of collapsing to 246 all out the Yorkshire bowlers went hard against the Essex top order in the 31 overs at their disposal on Day 2.
It was Ryan Sidebottom who took the early scalps of Billy Godleman, lbw for 9, and Tom Westley, caught by Jonny Bairstow behind for a duck, to see Essex 24-2. Sidebottom claimed 2-13 in his first 8 overs and Ajmal Shahzad should have had better than 0-15 to show for 7 attacking overs. Shahzad is bowling with much more control in 2012 and at some stage an opposition side will bear the brunt of his current frustration of missing the edge or seeing nicks drop to safety.
Steve Patterson more than backed up his recall to first team action with the wickets of Alviro Peterson, trapped lbw for 16, Adam Wheater, who offered a sharp catch to Bairstow’s right, and Greg Smith, who was lbw the next ball, to leave Essex at 42-5. Patterson had 3-3-0-3, all wickets in that third over and his fourth would start with a hattrick ball.
Ravi Bopara wisely left the Patterson hattrick delivery well alone. But this is why we love cricket – fluctuations, drama, despair, fightbacks, heroes, villians, characters & the odd sandwich – all in one day! A day where mercifully the weather was kind.
Breaking the Foster and Bopara partnership was key and the skipper brought Ryan Sidebottom back from the Rugby Stand End with 7 overs remaining in a bid to get the sixth wicket. It didn’t come but hats off to the Yorkshire bowlers this evening – top stuff with the ball.
As play finally got underway on day two, Joe Root went fifth ball of the innings to the prolific David Masters which brought Phil Jaques to the crease earlier than he would have hoped. He pushed the first ball of his second incarnation as a Yorkshire player for a single to midwicket and the fed greedily on anything short from Maurice Chambers, who he pulled to the West Stand fence twice early on.
It wasn’t until he faced his 17th ball in the 8th over that Joe Sayers leaned back and stroked Chambers to the East Stand boundary to break his duck, but it was all about seeing off the new ball for the left-hand partnership.
Jaques showed his undoubted class with a fluent off-drive, but almost saw the end of his partner when he called for a suicidal single which would have seen Sayers, on 10, well short of his ground. Sayers survived and crunch his next ball to the fence.
Tymel Mills imressed from the Rugby Stand End, but Jaques was growing into his Yorkshire rebirth. The fifty stand came in 100 balls as Jaques tennis swatted Mills through extra cover.
Jaques reached his fifty in 67 balls which included 8 fours and a six. Sayers had played second fiddle until he pulled Chambers into the West Stand for a maximum and Yorkshire were recovering well as Sayers drove Chambers through cover to move the score into the nineties.
Masters had been unfortunate not to add to his solitary morning scalp. Accuracy, nibble and guile earned him 1-15 from 11 overs, but it was Mills who signalled the lunch interval when Sayers shaped to guide a shorter ball to fine leg, pulled out of the stroke, but edged to Foster behind. Sayers had faced 89 balls and his resistence against the early overs has laid a solid foundation. Yorkshire lunch on 98-2 with Jaques 60 not out.
A straight drive, pull and guide to third man brought Jaques successive boundaries off Masters as Yorkshire looked to play positive cricket through the afternoon session.
Andrew Gale managed to steer himself out of the way of a Mills bouncer and played some assured shots of his own. The skipper admitted last week that he would have liked some more time in the middle and after Headingley steered clear of a heavy lunchtime shower, the sun shone and gave him an ideal opportunity.
Greg Smith’s 10th over saw Gale stroke four boundaries. The Tykes were motoring at 5 runs an over when Gale played the spin of Tom Westley straight into the hands of Billy Godleman at short leg. The skipper would have been annoyed to have wasted a great start and Yorkshire were 184-3.
It was the start of a Yorkshire collapse.
Jonny Bairstow (4) was troubled by Masters, but it was Mills who found his edge and a low chance was taken by Petersen at second slip. Gary Ballance (20) hooked Mills and was hurried by his pace and holed out to Charl Willoughby, the sub fielder at fine leg.
Phil Jaques’ epic innings was ended by Maurice Chambers when he edged to Petersen at first slip, Ajmal Shahzad edged Masters behind for 5 and Steve Patterson was lbw to Chambers without scoring.
Ryan Sidebottom was 4 not out and Yorkshire 246 all out having lost their last 8 wickets for 62 in 16.3 overs. Tymel Mills grabbed a career best 4-62 and David Masters 3-65.
A fantastic effort but the Headingley groundstaff saw the playing surface pristine and ready for play after the deluge of the last 48 hours.
Andrew Gale won the toss and opted to bat first and Yorkshire brought Phil Jaques for the injured Rich Pyrah and Steve Patterson replaced Iain Wardlaw. As widely predicted, Anthony McGrath dropped to number 7 in the order and is the fourth seamer available to his skipper. For Essex Ravi Bopara replaced Mark Pettini and Graham Napier made way for Greg Smith.
JAMES BUTTLER at HEADINGLEY
DAY ONE REPORT
Unsurprisingly after the volume of rain that has fallen in Leeds over the 24 hours before the game and more heavy showers during the day the umpires were left with no choice but to abandon play for the day just after 1.30pm. Hopefully we’ll have better news for you in the morning!
Yorkshire welcome Essex to Headingley on Thursday for both sides’ second LV= County Championship fixtures of the summer. Andrew Gale and his team would welcome you support throughout the four days.
Yorkshire have faltered a little after a stirring start in preseason and will be seeking a morale boosting match against an Essex team that has been coached by former Yorkshire player Paul Grayson since mid-2007.
Essex took a 23 point win by an innings and 38 runs in their opening encounter with Gloucestershire at Chelmsford. A century by opener Billy Godleman, 6 wickets in the match for David Masters and a second innings 5-58 from Graham Napier were key to a commanding victory.
Two tough matches against Kent in the Championship and the students of Leeds Bradford have illustrated that there will be no easy matches for Yorkshire this summer and, if promotion back to the top flight is gained, it will be hard earned.
I firmly believe the squad of players at Yorkshire’s disposal have every chance of achieving their goal of promotion, but you supporters can be a fickle bunch! A Kent side, boosted by winter signings, won the toss and batted on an Andy Fogarty April belter and within a session of play the prophets of doom were sharpening their knives. There are some very good players in Division Two and most matches will be very tough contests.
There were some of the much hyped positives from both games played thus far. On the batting front Joe Sayers, Joe Root and Anthony McGrath have looked in good touch. With the ball Ryan Sidebottom, Ajmal Shahzad and Adil Rashid have begun the summer well and against the students Steve Patterson and Anthony McGrath waved their hands high in the air for more 1st XI overs.
Wickets in clusters, inconsistency with the ball, an aversion to killing sides off and letting late wicket stands steal the initiative were present too and neither Gillespie nor Gale have shied away from saying those flaws need quickly addressing .
A terrific 37th birthday present for Jason Gillespie on Day One would be to win the toss and to steal a march on the Essex boys. To remedy at least a couple of the above mentioned flaws would see Dizzy munching on his birthday cake very contentedly indeed come the weekend. Let’s hope he has a birthday to remember fondly.
TICKETS: £15 Adults, £10 Concessions (Juniors under 16, Senior Citizens 65+ and students with NUS card), FREE if under 12 and accompanied by an adult. Enjoy your day!
TIMES: 11am start. Lunch 1pm-1.40pm. Tea 3.40pm-4pm. Close 6pm. The times of tea and close may vary depending upon the required number of overs being bowled.
Andrew GALE (capt), Joe ROOT, Joe SAYERS, Phil JAQUES, Anthony McGRATH, Jonny BAIRSTOW (wk), Gary BALLANCE, Azeem RAFIQ, Adil RASHID, Ajmal SHAHZAD, Ryan SIDEBOTTOM, Iain WARDLAW, Steve PATTERSON and Oliver HANNON-DALBY.
The Tykes omit Adam Lyth and the injured Richard Pyrah (broken left hand) from the 13 announced for the Kent match and add Azeem Rafiq, Oliver Hannon-Dalby and the newly married and landed Phil Jaques to a 14-man squad for the Essex fixture that covers all bases.
Tim Bresnan is the only absentee, other than Pyrah, as he is rested by the ECB. Tim will be available to play against Kent at Canterbury and Leicestershire at Scarborough. The weather is likely to decide who plays and damp conditions could see Anthony McGrath play as an all-rounder, where his medium pace guile could fill the fourth seamer role.
Finally, a big welcome back to Yorkshire to Phil Jaques, who represented the Club with distinction in 2004 and 2005. May the Aussie who now plays under a British passport enjoy his second incarnation with the White Rose County. May it bring him runs, smiles and more happy Yorkshire memories!
Essex welcome back Ravi Bopara who has been released by the ECB to play in this fixture, but Alastair Cook is rested.
OPPOSITION ONE TO WATCH
David Masters, who with the Tiflex ball (now not used in Division Two) took 93 Championship wickets in 2011, more than any other English qualified bowler since Andy Caddick in 1998. The 33-year-old who has previously played for Kent and Leicestershire does not bowl at express pace, but displays a consistent line and length and a propensity to bowl long spells.