Andrew Gale is doing a regular blog with the Yorkshire Evening Post…
ANDREW GALE – WED SEP 15
I was pretty disappointed with Saturday’s defeat to Warwickshire Bears in the CB40 semi-final at Scarborough - I thought we had got enough runs on the board, but didn’t bowl or field well enough.
It was a hard pill to swallow, really. But these things happen and we’ve had to pick ourselves as we are in a great position in the LV= County Championship.
It was tough shaking it off on Monday morning, as it felt like a bit of a hangover and I could sense it was still around a bit with the lads in the dressing room. But we shook things off as soon as it came around to going on the pitch and it was about being positive.
It was the second semi-final I’ve lost with Yorkshire, while I’ve also played in a couple of quarter-finals in Twenty20 cricket. It was hard to take, especially with how well we’ve played in the competition; that made it more disappointing. In the past, we’ve probably scraped through into the quarters and semis and been an outsider. But because we’d played so well, it never really crossed my mind that we wouldn’t get to that Lord’s final.
I won’t be tuning in on Saturday for the final and will instead be watching my beloved Huddersfield Town, who take on Yeovil Town at the Galpharm Stadium..
Looking at over 40-over form as a whole, it’s been a big improvement. We’ve won 10 games out of 13 games and to only lose three games was a great effort and I’m proud of what the lads have achieved. Our one-day cricket has come a long way this year and it had been an area which we hadn’t been particularly good at over the previous three or four years.
But we’re still a work in progress, although the lads have improved fast in that form of the game. If we can keep this squad together for a long period of time, I’m sure we’ll continue to be successful in one-day cricket; there’s no doubt about that.
We’ve got to keep challenging ourselves from now on in to become better players; I know we can win stuff in that format of the game if we get our game right on the day.
IT was great to see Headingley full in England’s second fifty-over one-day international clash with Pakistan on Sunday. I spoke to Bressy (Tim Bresnan) and he said the atmosphere was unbelievable. It’s always nice to see the ground packed to the rafters and good for the club, especially with the bad times we’ve had recently with the crowds.
I’m sure a full ground will help with the finances of the club.
It was obviously a decent win for England in front of a capacity 18,500 crowd with almost 600 runs scored as well on the day. There was a large Pakistani contingent who made themselves heard and it was a competitive game with England only winning with three balls to spare. All in all, it looked a really good day’s cricket.
ANDREW GALE – WED SEP 8
We lost in our final CB40 group game to Essex Eagles on Saturday, having already qualified, but at least it was nice for Jacques Rudolph to reach his milestone and beat Darren Lehmann’s haul and become Yorkshire’s highest run-scorer in a one-day league season. He’s been awesome all year in all forms of cricket. How he keeps churning out the runs I don’t know! He’s been fantastic.
I put Jacques in the same bracket as Darren and he’s certainly got to go down as one of the Yorkshire’s greats with the way he’s stacked out the runs consistently over the past four years. All of us can take a lot from the way he plays and the hunger that he shows when he’s batting. In terms of his future, we’re not sure what he’s doing yet. We definitely want him to stay next year and the decision will come down to him at the end of the year.
We didn’t play well enough on Saturday, but didn’t see the game as a ‘dead rubber.’ We went into the game to win it as we wanted to kick Essex out of the competition – we know how powerful they can be. We lost too many wickets early on, going too hard. We always thought 260 was a par score and went after it, chanced our arm and it didn’t come off.
I did like the way Ben Sanderson bowled, though. He impressed me. There was opportunity for Sando and Wainers (David Wainwright) to show what they can do and they both contributed. Because with Bres (Tim Bresnan) unavailable for the semi-finals, one may have to play.
We’ve been handed a home draw with Warwickshire Bears in the semi at Scarborough on Saturday – and I wasn’t too bothered who we drew. They are all good teams at this stage and the pleasing thing is that we’ve got a home tie.
Warwickshire are a decent side. I think Ian Bell will play, but Jonathan Trott is in the England one-day side, I think. We beat them twice in the County Championship and lost on two occasions in the Twenty20s. I actually only played against them in the first Championship game and they have probably had an up-and-down season.
They haven’t done so well in the Championship, although they look like they might be getting out of trouble. They have had a good one-day season.
We’ll just concentrate on what we’re doing. Tim Bresnan is unavailable due to England duties and it would have been nice if we could have had both him and Ajmal Shahzad there. But that’s not going to be possible. Fingers crossed, no-one is going to get injured with England and we can keep Ajmal and we can have him all week. He’s a good addition to our side and brings a lot to our bowling attack
ANDREW GALE – WED SEP 1
Looking at what happened at Lord’s on Sunday and if it is the case that (Pakistan) are proved guilty of spot-fixing, then it’s a sad day for cricket. I think this sort of thing has been going on for a while; it might be a good thing that something has actually come to the surface, so things can get sorted out.
Looking from the outset, you can’t point the finger until it’s proven guilty. But it looks pretty black and white from what I’ve seen in the press and it’s disappointing if that’s the case. Reading the article, I was totally stunned really after watching a couple of days of the Test before.
England have played a hard series and fought really well and it sort of undermined the way they have played their cricket. I’ve also seen that the Australians have piped up and said they are disappointed, because it could involve what happened in their series with Australia.
The County Championship title is now a long shot for us after Notts’ win over Lancashire with two games – although unpredictable things happen in sport and you never know.
We were a little bit disappointed in Lancashire’s declaration really to leave Notts just over four an over. But that’s the game and we’ve still got a fighting, if outside chance, of winning it. While there’s a chance, we’ll still be giving it 110 per cent.
We had to settle for a draw with Hampshire at Scarborough after losing the first day to the weather. At the time, I thought we could have done without it, but at the end of the game, it probably saved us really.
Even if we have a good run-in now and finish second, it’s still a great achievement. While we can also win the 40-over competition. I’d like to think that, from the outset, we’ve still had a good season and I’m very proud of what the lads have achieved.
Adam Lyth and Richard Pyrah have now recieved their county caps and I’m really pleased for them. Rich is a very team-orientated lad, who always gives 110 per cent to the cause and is very reliable, especially in one-day cricket. His bowling ensures he is one of the first names on the teamsheet and his fielding is outstanding; he’s one of the best in the country.
Adam’s had a fantastic season and was given the opportunity at the start of it and he’s grasped that with both hands and really made that opening slot at Championship cricket his own. To be the first man in the country to reach 1,000 Championship runs is a great feat for a lad of his age.
Obviously, Adam, Mags (Anthony McGrath) and Jacques Rudolph have all reached four figures and there probably is a bit of competition to see who finishes on top – although none of them will really admit it.
I’m sure they are checking each other’s stats and chasing each other down. And that’s healthy, because it keeps the competition in the team.
ANDREW GALE – WED AUG 18
We are well placed at the top of our Clydesdale Bank Pro40 group after our televised win over Gloucestershire Gladiators and I felt it was an outstanding performance all around.
From a batting point of view, I thought we played exactly to the game plan. We probably got a little bit bogged down in the middle, but the game plan was always to keep wickets in hand for the power play at the end when it comes along. We felt if we’d wickets in hand, we could go really hard at it and that’s what we did.
Bowling-wise, we probably bowled a little bit wide early on. But Rich Pyrah was outstanding in those middle overs and the boys at the back end of the power play at the death gave an exhibition of yorkers really. Getting Alex Gidman out for 48 was a big wicket. He’s made big runs against us this year and I was pleased to see the back of him.
I got 61 in our innings, but was looking at a hundred and I was a little bit disappointed with the third umpire (for the run-out), to be honest. It was touch and go really. The views I saw on Sky showed there was definite evidence it was clear-cut. But that’s the game.
We’re back at Scarborough for the Middlesex one-dayer on Sunday and we all love playing there. It’s a great place to play cricket and we’ve got a good record there and everyone knows around the county scene how well we play at Scarborough and we’ll be hoping for more of the same with a four-dayer also against Hampshire next week.
You could say it was a strange first day to our Championship game at Durham – with 17 wickets falling in the day. I thought we bowled pretty well, but just dropped too many catches. We’ve taken chances all year, but we dropped five or six and if we’d caught them, I don’t think they would have got 100 and we’d have been well in front.
Then we started our innings, we got a couple of bad decisions, but I guess that’s the game.
Durham bowled well, but the main thing was they hung onto their chances. On the first day, they dropped two, we dropped six. We dropped Di Venuto on nine and you can’t drop players like that as they don’t give two chances.
On the plus side, Ajmal Shahzad bowled really well and what I liked was that he showed a lot of maturity. He didn’t just run in and try and bowl as quick as he could. He knew that if he got the ball in pretty good areas, he’d get the best out of the pitch. He just bowled within himself, in good areas, and nice and straight and got his rewards with bowled and lbw’s and I was very impressed with him.
The main batting positive was Anthony McGrath passing 1,000 first-class runs. I’m pleased for him, after what went on especially last year when some said he was past it and couldn’t handle the captaincy and stuff. He’s bounced back from that and shown what a class performer he really is. He’s very mentally strong and knows his game inside out.
ANDREW GALE - AUGUST 11
We managed to claim a draw from our big County Championship home game with Notts – and I was really impressed by the character the team showed to fight back in that match.
I said to the lads after the second day: ‘If we can’t win the game, let’s not get beat’ and that’s exactly what they did. We showed how much fight there is in that dressing room and everyone wants to play the game as hard as they can and everyone is playing for each other. We still took positives from that game, even though on the first two days, we got absolutely hammered.
We won the last two days and I was really impressed with our fightback because it’s easy doing everything in a game when you are on top. But when you are behind, it shows a real test of the character within the team.
I’ve always said to my lads that at times this season, we are going to bowl and bat badly – that’s professional sport. But as long as everyone is giving 100 per cent for the team and fighting for the cause, then I don’t mind; as long as we can hold our hands up at the end of the day and say: ‘We’ve given it our best shot.’ In that case, if we aren’t good enough, so be it.
On the first day, I think we genuinely got bowled out (for 178). Maybe I misread the conditions, but the pitch was dry if a little bit overcast. But at Headingley, you always think it will swing around if it’s overcast and if it was damp, I probably would have bowled. But the pitch was dry and it swung and seamed a little bit. Notts bowled well and bowled us out.
With the ball, we had Ajmal Shahzad coming back, having not played a four-day game for three or four weeks. He was a bit rusty and Ollie (Hannon-Dalby) didn’t really hit his straps and that’s what you get from a young player sometimes.
To be fair, I thought Patto (Steve Patterson) bowled really well and he was exceptional, while Adil (Rashid) and Wainers (David Wainwright) just had an off-day. It was just one of those things where after the first two days, you just hold your hands up and say: ‘These things happen.’ But I was impressed that we won the last two days. A lot of teams would have just crumbled and lost in three days and we showed why we are up there in that competition.
Obviously, we didn’t much preparation time before the game, but I wouldn’t put what happened in the first few days down to preparation. I felt that on the first morning, all the lads were pretty switched on and up for the game and I don’t think preparation had anything to do with it. The lads were mentally in a good place. It was just one of those things in the first few days.
We play Gloucestershire in a televised Pro40 League game at Headingley today and they are a good side and we probably do owe them one after underperforming at Cheltenham.
But every game is a big game now in all competitions. For me, it’s all about what we do and I’m not bothered about Glocuester, Notts, Durham or whatever.
It’s about going out and giving it our best shot in every game and making sure we are switched on and executing our skills as best we can.
We saw off Derbyshire in the Pro40 at Chesterfield on Sunday to consolidate top spot. It’s always a nice ground to play at and there were plenty of Yorkshire supporters there, which was good. It was also good, high-scoring game, although a little bit closer than I would have liked or anticipated. We put runs on the board and that’s always key to batting first and then applied the pressure and just got wickets at the right time.
We probably bowled a bit wide in the first powerplay, but I always knew if we got some dot balls in the middle, the chances would come and we took it.
The result probably looked closer than it actually was; I think maybe they got 15 off the last over, needing 25 or something to win. Derbyshire are always a tricky team because you never know what you are going to get with them. They are inconsistent, but on their day, can beat anyone.
I actually ended up making it to Notts County to see my beloved Huddersfield Town on Saturday and what a start we had, winning 3-0! I went down on the way to the hotel on Saturday night ahead of the Derbyshire game. Town played terrific and if we play like that all season, we’ll be somewhere near.
The new players were fantastic and we looked a real solid side across the pitch. Last year, we looked panicky at times due to our inexperience, but we just didn’t panic at all on Saturday. We looked very cool on the ball as well.
ANDREW GALE - WED AUG 4
IT was a hard journey going to Holland and back for our Pro40 fixture there – but it was a case of job done with winning over there. We set off on Friday morning by ferry from Hull and didn’t get back until Monday morning for the sake of eighty overs. We set off back from Rotterdam at 7pm on Sunday night and got back at eight o’clock on Monday morning and were in Leeds by about ten o’clock.
It was a long weekend, but it was not too bad, though. The crossing was fine and we had our own rooms and bunk beds, had a bite to eat in the all-you-can-eat buffet and the lads had a little flutter in the casino and were on the arcades a bit, getting ready for the big week ahead.
There was no-one sea-sick, not that I know of anyway!
In terms of team bonding, it was a good exercise. As for who are the jokers in our side, I’d say Anthony McGrath has usually got something up his sleeve and usually has some sort of party game going on when we’re on the bus. Usually some sort of intelligent game which picks you