Yorkshire’s hopes of winning the 2013 County Championship suffered a double blow on Saturday as bad light and rain ensured that their game against Sussex ended in a draw while Durham coasted to a comfortable nine-wicket victory over Derbyshire.
The two results mean that Durham now hold a 27.5 point lead over Andrew Gale’s men ahead of next week’s home game against Middlesex and the final match of the season against Surrey.
No one could argue that the two sides did not do all they could to make a game of it at Hove on Saturday.
Gale approached his opposite number Ed Joyce and agreed to chase a target of 300 in two sessions or approximately 60 overs on the final afternoon of a match which had been bedevilled with bad light and rain.
To achieve that goal, Gale employed little-used bowlers in the first session and the morning saw Chris Nash and Rory Hamilton-Brown add 260 runs for the fourth wicket to leave their side on 333-3 when the declaration was made ten minutes before the scheduled lunch break.
However, Phil Jacques enjoyed a small consolation when he took his maiden first-class wicket, Joyce being caught by mid-on Jack Brooks for 14. Nash ended the innings unbeaten on 167 and Hamilton-Brown on 126 not out. Gale conceded 94 runs off nine overs and Gary Ballance 88 runs off 12.
However, further rain and bad light hampered Yorkshire’s attempt to score 300. Liam Plunkett was caught at midwicket off Lewis Hatchett for 11 and Phil Jacques was lbw attempting to reverse-sweep Ashar Zaidi for 23. Adam Lyth was 40 not out when the weather caused an early tea to be taken with the White Rose on 81-2. But conditions did not relent and the players shook hands when the draw was agreed in mid-afternoon.
“It was very frustrating,” said Gale after the game. “We’ve played some really good cricket in this match and the weather dictated us not driving the game as we would have liked and taking full points.
“I thought the run-chase was going well when the rain came. I never thought we’d get the full 64 overs in and I told the boys to treat it as a 50-over chase instead. We were in a good position but I didn’t envisage there being that much rain.
“Our best chance of winning was chasing down a total. If we hadn’t taken wickets in the first hour I don’t think Sussex would have been very keen on setting up a game.
“We’re pretty gutted now. Durham have played some very good cricket over the last month and you have to take your hat off to them. It’s theirs to lose now but this is professional sport and you never know.”
Yorkshire’s hopes of winning the 2012 County Championship were hit by a double blow on Saturday afternoon as Durham’s seamers took their side to the brink of victory at Derby while rain and bad light hampered the attempt of Andrew Gale’s side to score 300 to beat Sussex.
In the LV= Division One match at Hove, Yorkshire lost Liam Plunkett for 11 and Phil Jacques for 23 as they stumbled to 64-2 but Adam Lyth was 40 not out when the weather caused an early tea to be taken with the White Rose on 81-2.
If Yorkshire draw and Durham win, the gap at the top will be 27.5 points with two games to play.
Yorkshire need to score 300 in 64 overs if they are to secure a vital win over Sussex in the LV= Division One match at Hove.
Needing a victory to close the gap on leaders Durham, Yorkshire skipper Andrew Gale agreed a target of 300 runs in two sessions and almost all of Yorkshire’s bowling tactics in the first session were determined by this decision.
Phil Jaques took his maiden first-class wicket when he had Ed Joyce caught by Jack Brooks at mid-on for 14 but the remainder of the morning saw Chris Nash and Rory Hamilton-Brown add 260 runs for the fourth wicket.
Sussex eventually declared on 333-3, a lead of 299 with Nash unbeaten on 167 and Hamilton-Brown on 126 not out. Gale conceded 94 runs off nine overs and Gary Ballance 88 runs off 12.