Captain Andrew Gale remembers the day he was a spectator at Lord’s watching Australian overseas star Matthew Elliott guide Yorkshire to C&G Trophy triumph over Somerset with a stunning century in the summer of 2002.
Now 29-years-old, Gale was on the club’s Academy programme looking up to such players dreaming of the day he could be on the other side of the fence.
The left-handed batsman has that chance as the Yorkshire Bank 40 competition starts tomorrow with a trip to the North Wales seaside to face Glamorgan at Colwyn Bay in Group C, finishing on September 21 with a Lord’s final.
Last year, Gale led his troops to the final of the Friends Life t20 at Cardiff’s SWALEC Stadium. But, since reaching the semi-final of the 40-over competition in 2010, the White Rose have not hit their straps.
They lost seven and won only four of last season’s 12 matches, comfortably failing to get out of their group.
The format of the competition has not changed. The top team in each of the three seven-team groups automatically qualifies for the last four, while the best second-placed finisher also advances.
Yorkshire’s group also includes Gloucestershire, Leicestershire, Middlesex, Somerset and the Unicorns.
Each team plays each other twice in the last year of the 40-over competition before it reverts to 50 overs for 2014.
Gale said: “People talk about Twenty20 finals a bit more now, but I remember watching Yorkshire in the C&G final. I was there sat in the stand as a young Academy player thinking ‘I want a piece of this’. For me, the Lord’s final is still the pinnacle of county cricket.
“It is still an exciting competition, we get some good crowds, there are some exciting games, and for players like Moin (Ashraf) and Rich (Pyrah), it is a chance to shine and show that they can come in from outside.”
It has been a hectic start to the summer with the red ball. Yorkshire have already played three LV= County Championship matches, two of which they have won, one first-class match against Leeds/Bradford MCCU and a three-day friendly against Lancashire.
But, having just beaten Derbyshire in thrilling fashion in the Championship, they head into the YB40 in buoyant mood.
The busy summer means that Yorkshire’s squad will be stretched, especially with the imminent departure of their three internationals in Jonny Bairstow, Tim Bresnan and Joe Root for England duty.
Gale has confirmed that Ryan Sidebottom will miss the majority of this summer’s 40-over matches, if not all of them, with an eye on the Championship and the Twenty20.
He added: “It seems bizarre to play as much Championship cricket as we do early in the season without getting some 40-over stuff in. It’s another trophy to win, But since 2010 when we had a good year and got to the semis, we haven’t quite cracked it.
“It has just been our consistency. We have shown glimpses that we can do it, but we just haven’t put a consistent run of form together. We are just too hot and cold.
“I am not sure how much Ryan will feature in 40-over cricket. He will be involved heavily in Twenty20 cricket, but we want to keep him as fresh for the County Championship as we can.
“Rich Pyrah has been performing well over the past couple of weeks in the second team, he’s bowled well. He will be chomping at the bit to get in the side. He is a three-dimensional cricketer, so he is unlucky not have been in the first team so far.”
Yorkshire Vikings will take a 12-man squad to Colwyn Bay for their opening Yorkshire Bank 40 match of the season against Glamorgan , 1.00pm start.
Vikings fans will get their first opportunity of the season to see Moin Ashraf, Richard Pyrah, Will Rhodes and Ian Wardlaw in first team action.
Yorkshire’s England duo of Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root are set to play their last games for the County for the foreseeable future and will travel to join up with the England Lions squad after this game ahead of the Lions match versus New Zealand next week.
The starting line-up will be announced just before the toss.
Glamorgan have not met Yorkshire in a List A game since August 31st, 2008 when they lost a rain-affected match at Scarborough by 49 runs under the Duckworth-Lewis Method. The White Rose county were also victorious in 2007 when they won at Sophia Gardens by eight wickets after a fine new ball spell by Jason Gillespie.
However, Glamorgan were successful in 2003 in both of their List A games against Yorkshire, including the contest at Colwyn Bay on August 24th when the Welsh county scraped home by just one run in a nail-biting encounter. Earlier in the season they had also been victorious by four wickets at Headingley.