Jacques Rudolph, above, set a Yorkshire record for the number of runs in a one-day league season while making 59 during his side’s Clydesdale Bank 40 match defeat against Essex Eagles at Headingley Carnegie today.
Although Yorkshire were comprehensively beaten by seven wickets – England’s Alastair Cook stroking an unbeaten century – it did not take the gloss off them then hearing that they have been drawn against Warwickshire in their semi-final clash at Scarborough next Saturday.
Victory for Essex meant they also earned a place in the last four, and they have been rewarded with a trip to Taunton to take on Somerset.
Rudolph’s stylish innings pushed his summer’s tally to 755 to overtake Darren Ledhmann’s 753 in 2001 - helping Yorkshire to a below par 209-8 after they had been put in to bat. Skipper Andrew Gale had to play out a maiden from David Masters’s opening over, but Rudolph began with a scorching cover-drive off Antonio Palladino.
Yorkshire looked to be getting off to a good start until they lost two quick wickets through splendid work by wicket-keeper James Foster, who stood up to both bowlers. He whipped off the bails when Gale took a step out of his crease against Masters – who then made Adam Lyth edge into Foster’s gloves.
Rudolph and Anthony McGrath had to take every care against accurate bowling, but it became 41-3 as McGrath struck Palladino to short extra-cover where Cook held a good catch above his head. Gerard Brophy helped Rudolph to repair the damage in an 82 stand in 15 overs. Rudolph reached his half-century off 58 balls with three fours, but almost as soon as he had passed Lehmann’s record he cut at Chris Wright, and was caught by the agile Foster.
Brophy, who had shown much finesse in compiling his runs, cut Ryan ten Doeschate for four to go to his 50 from 64 balls with three boundaries – but the next delivery saw him bowled off his pads. Yorkshire 144-5.
Essex generally remained on top as Masters dismissed Adil Rashid and Richard Pyrah in consecutive balls to give the paceman figures of 4-41, and although Jonathan Bairstow hit a couple of fine sixes he was splendidly caught down the legside by Foster for 30. David Wainwright and Ben Sanderson knocked up some useful runs in the closing overs.
Yorkshire’s pace attack - weakened by the absence of Tim Bresnan and Ajmal Shahzad, who were with the England t20 squad - was unable to make any impact against Mark Pettini and Cook, who piled up 161 for the first wicket before Pettini was caught behind by Brophy off Sanderson for 82 from 86 balls with six fours and two sixes.
Grant Flower was out for a duck in Wainwright’s next over, and Matt Walker fell lbw to Pyrah after some lusty blows. Cook was in splendid form, and he just had time to complete his first century of the season in the competition off 110 balls with 10 fours and a six before Ryan ten Doeschate hit the winning runs with 21 balls remaining.
Gale insisted that the heavy defeat would in no way affect Yorkshire in their buildup to the semi-final encounter with Warwickshire: “We have still won 10 of our 12 games, and I think that is a very fine achievement,” he said. “I was not worried whether we drew Warwickshire or Essex in the semi-final, because both are good sides.
“Ever since I put on a Yorkshire shirt at the age of 11 I have dreamt of leading the side out in a final at Lord’s, and a win at Scarborough would mean the world to me and all of the lads who will be giving 110 per cent to try and make it happen.”
PREVIEW: Yorkshire Carnegie will be in celebratory mood when they take on Essex Eagles in their final Clydesdale Bank 40 match at Headingley Carnegie on Saturday.
The match commences at 12.45pm. Gates open at 11.15am for members and at 11.30am for non-members.
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Victory against Northants Steelbacks on Tuesday evening confirmed Carnegie’s presence in the last four and also guaranteed them a home Semi-Final at Scarborough on September 11.
Essex Eagles however will be in no mood to bring a bottle and clink glasses until they have themselves booked a last four berth. They will however still be smarting from the 10-wicket defeat inflicted on them by the Gale and Rudolph inspired 10-wicket defeat at Chelmsford in the CB40 in April.
Currently sitting in 2nd place in the group, the Eagles have their eyes firmly on the best 2nd place spot from the three groups. They are just one point ahead of third placed Gloucestershire Gladiators and can make certain of qualification to the Semi-Finals if they beat Yorkshire Carnegie on Saturday. A Yorkshire victory would mean that Essex would be relying on Northants beating Gloucestershire.
Andrew Gale will want to increase his sides 10 wins from 11 games in the competition and take that confidence into the Scarborough Semi.
YORKSHIRE CARNEGIE SQUAD
Andrew GALE (capt), Jacques RUDOLPH, Adam LYTH, Anthony McGRATH, Gerard BROPHY (wk), Jonathan BAIRSTOW, Adil RASHID, Richard PYRAH, David WAINWRIGHT, Ben SANDERSON, Steve PATTERSON and Moin ASHRAF.
ESSEX EAGLES SQUAD
James Foster (capt, wk), Alastair Cook, Mark Pettini, Matt Walker, Ryan ten Doeschate,
Grant Flower, David Masters, Chris Wright, Danish Kaneria, Tim Phillips, Adam Wheater, Tony Palladino, Maurice Chambers and Michael Comber.