Yorkshire are refusing to give up on their LV= County Championship title dream despite leaders Durham holding a 27.5 point advantage with only two matches remaining.
The White Rose hope they will not be looking back on a defeat to the North East county at Scarborough last month as the defining moment in their season, which has seen more ups than downs.
They have bossed the title race for large parts of their 150th anniversary year, but are now firmly behind the eight-ball going into the season’s final fortnight, which includes a home match with Middlesex this week and a trip to face relegation haunted Surrey at the Oval next.
Ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Middlesex at Headingley, captain Andrew Gale has accepted that the title is “Durham’s to lose”. They host YB40 finalists Nottinghamshire this week.
“The run they’ve had in the last six weeks has been brilliant, and we haven’t matched that,” he said.
“We let ourselves down when we lost to them at Scarborough, but we haven’t been performing badly by any means. It’s just credit to how Durham have played in the last few weeks.”
But the left-handed batsman, Yorkshire’s leading run-scorer this summer with 919 runs from 14 matches, also delivered a message of defiance: “It’s very frustrating, but it’s professional sport. And you never know what might happen.
“There’s often a twist in the tail, so you never can tell. We’ve got two games left, and we think we can win them.
“If Durham slip up this week and we win, that could mean a 10-point deficit going into the last game. We won’t be giving up, that’s for sure.”
Yorkshire held the upper hand for the majority of their clash with Sussex at Hove, although weather eventually had the final say. After the captains agreed to contrive a run chase of 300 in the last two sessions for the visitors, rain came with Gale’s men at 81-2.
“I’m happy with the way the team have gone about things. You always look for a reaction from the players when you lose as we did against Durham, and I think we saw that reaction,” added Gale.
“These lads never give up, and I know they will keep going right until the end of the season. It’s going to be difficult now, but we will definitely keep fighting.”
Yorkshire beat Middlesex by 10 wickets at Lord’s in mid-June. Gale and Alex Lees both scored first-innings centuries before Steve Patterson, Liam Plunkett and Adil Rashid all got amongst the wickets. Middlesex, forced to follow-on in reply to 390, set Yorkshire just five to win.
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