Yorkshire’s chances of clinching the LV County Championship title were torn to shreds at Headingley Carnegie today as they suffered a sensational collapse against Kent on the final morning.
They were fired out for 130 as the last nine wickets toppled for the addition of 37 runs in 44 minutes, leaving Kent to make 90 to win. The visitors suffered quite a few shocks themselves – but in the end scraped home by four wickets.
Despite their last-day disappointments Yorkshire were given a farewell standing ovation from the fans in recognition of their outstanding achievements during Andrew Gale’s first season at the helm, and Gale paid tribute to Yorkshire followers for their loyal and outstanding support, saying how much the players had appreciated it.
Third place in the First Division table and six Championship victories was still a most laudable effort – and Yorkshire at least had the consolation of picking up £100,000 in prize-money for the players and £15,000 for the Club.
The star of the show for Kent was off-spinner James Tredwell, above centre, who took a hat-trick – the first against Yorkshire since Tony Gray’s four-in-four for Surrey at Abbeydale Park in 1984 – and finished with 7-22.
Yorkshire began the day on 51-1, a lead of 10 runs, and things could not have gone better for the first 23 minutes as Adam Lyth and Anthony McGrath added 42 with some marvellous strokeplay, mainly against Dewald Nel and Darren Stevens. Then McGrath was out to a real snorter from Nel which lifted off a length, and the batsman could not avoid making contact as the ball went through to Geraint Jones.
Suddenly, wickets were going down like ninepins: Gale had his stumps knocked back in Nel’s next over, and Lyth was bowled by Tredwell for 46 trying to cut a quicker ball. Gerard Brophy was drawn out of his crease and stumped first ball to end the over – and Tredwell went on to complete the hat-trick by having Jonny Bairstow caught at mid-wicket by Nel.
Remarkably, Ajmal Shahzad then drove Tredwell for six, but Adil Rashid fell at the other end when Nell had him caught at second slip by Martin van Jaarsveld. It became 123-8 with Steven Patterson pushing Tredwell to Sam Northeast, who took a reflex catch at short leg. Shahzad defiantly drove Tredwell for a second six before being stumped next ball, and the unstoppable Tredwell ended the carnage by making Moin Ashraf edge into the slips.
The drama continued for the stunned crowd - Kent losing both openers by the third over with only six scored. Joe Denly was trapped lbw by Ashraf, and Northeast fell in similar fashion to Shahzad.
Captain Rob Key was next in, and he and van Jaarsveld took Kent to lunch without further mishap. In the afternoon they advanced the total to 68 before their 62 stand was broken by Patterson, who had Key flicking a catch to McGrath at mid-wicket.
Two runs later Jones drove Patterson to Ashraf at mid-off, but even when van Jaarsveld lashed Rashid for consecutive sixes Yorkshire were not down and out. Rashid’s next ball was edged to Rudolph at slip…and two balls later Alex Blake offered no stroke and was bowled.
With eight wanted Darren Stevens hit Patterson for four, but then survived a sharp return catch. The next over from Rashid brought the curtain down on an exciting season when Tredwell hit the winning boundary.
Yorkshire go into the last day of the LV County Championship season at Headingley Carnegie still fighting every inch of the way to lift the title. They will be looking to set Kent a challenging target while at the same time trying to keep one eye on how Somerset are faring against Durham at Riverside.
They will resume their second innings against Kent this morning at 51-1 after another day badly affected by the weather- lead of 10 runs. Play on Day 3 could not start until 1.40 after further rain – and only four overs were possible before a heavy burst sent them scurrying for the pavilion. They did not return until 3.40, when a possible 38 overs remained.
Alex Blake just had time to complete his maiden half-century off 80 balls in the first session, with 10 fours, but on the resumption Moin Ashraf, above, struck twice in three balls to set up final figures of 5-32, Yorkshire’s best of the Championship season. He had James Tredwell caught behind by Gerard Brophy and shattered James Coles’ stumps with a yorker.
Adil Rashid accounted for Simon Cook to leave Kent on 261-9, but Blake continued to thrive with some searing cover-drives which moved his side to 300 and brought them a crucial third batting bonus point. Blake slammed Rashid for three consecutive boundaries, the second taking him to his century off 142 balls with 17 fours and the third raising the 300. Steven Patterson had Dewald Nel lbw to end a troublesome last-wicket stand of 41.
Kent’s lead was 41, but Jacques Rudolph and Adam Lyth reduced the deficit to one before Lyth, on 19, was dropped by Tredwell at first-slip off Cook. Without a further run added, however, Tredwell made amends in the next over by trapping Rudolph lbw for 13 in possibly his last innings for Yorkshire. It was left to Lyth and McGrath to see it through to the close.
Pictures From Headingley Carnegie: VAUGHN RIDLEY
DAY TWO REPORT
?Yorkshire’s 18-year-old fast bowler, Moin Ashraf shook Kent with figures of 3-16, and with the White Rose needing to win to keep alive their title hopes they had their visitors on 216-6 at the close, still trailing on the first innings by 45.
Play on the second day was not able to start until after an early lunch had been taken, the ground first having to recover from heavy rain, and Jonny Bairstow was on 63 and Steve Patterson still to score when Yorkshire were able to resume on 206-7.
?????Bairstow only managed to add a single, however, before edging Dewald Nel to Martin van Jaarsveld at second slip and when Oliver Hannon-Dalby was lbw to the same bowler Yorkshire were apparently down and out at 227-9.
But Patterson boosted the total with some genuine shots – and one or two Chinese cuts – while Ashraf hung around at the other end after being dropped by Denly at mid-off before he had scored.
Patterson cut Simon Cook for four and Ashraf opened his account off his 20th delivery by squirting Nel to the third man boundary. Ashraf enjoyed another life when put down by van Jaarsveld at second slip and Patterson pulled Cook for four to complete the 50 stand.
Spinner James Tredwell was given his first bowl of the innings and he immediately had Ashraf caught behind for ten, leaving Patterson unbeaten on 39.
Sam Northeast and Joe Denly began soundly for Kent but Denly was put down at second slip by Bairstow off Ajmal Shahzad after making 15. The openers took the score to 44 at which stage Hannon-Dalby made the breakthrough which Yorkshire were searching for by having Denly caught at third slip by Adil Rashid.
Another success followed in the next over when Northeast was beaten by Shahzad’s away movement and Gerard Brophy held on to a brilliant diving catch low to his right in front of first slip.
Yorkshire were unable to press home their advantage, however, because van Jaarsveld went for his strokes in a third wicket stand with Rob Key which produced 83 runs in 18 overs. He helped himself to sixes off Shahzad and Rashid, the second one talking him to a 55-ball half-century which also gave him 1,000 first class runs of the season.
Rashid was struck for two fours by Key but the leg-spinner had the last laugh by pinning him lbw with a googly before Ashraf turned the tide Yorkshire’s way for a while by getting rid of Darren Stevens lbw before he had score and then bowling Geraint Jones with a googly.
Kent were wobbling on 142-5 but they were steadied by van Jaarsveld and Alex Blake in another good stand which took the visitors beyond 200 and a first batting bonus point.
van Jaarsveld appeared to be heading for a well-deserved century but he was denied it by Ashraf who had him caught behind for 89 from 128 balls with seven fours and shortly afterwards play was ended a couple of overs early by a light shower.
DAY ONE REPORT
Jonny Bairstow played a key role in getting Yorkshire to 205-7 in 58 overs before bad light ended play on Day 1 of their crucial LV Championship match against Kent at Headingley Carnegie.
On a green pitch Bairstow was mainly responsible for Yorkshire recovering from a shaky 93-5, and by the close he was unbeaten on 62 from 97 balls with 10 fours. Yorkshire picked up a valuable batting bonus point in their quest to clinch the Championship title in a game which their opponents also need to win if they are to avoid relegation.
It would ne Yorkshir’s first Championship title since 2001.
Yorkshire skipper Andrew Gale got off to an unfortunate start by losing the toss and being asked to bat first on a pitch with plenty in it for the seam bowlers. Light rain delayed the start by 15 minutes, but when play did get under way Adam Lyth and Jacques Rudolph knocked up 19 from the first two overs sent down by Darren Stevens and James Coles.
Simon Cook soon replaced Stevens at the Kirkstall Lane end, and the scoring slowed down considerably as both batsmen tried to come to terms with movement from seam and swing.
Lyth had made 17 out of 30 by the ninth over when he edged Cook to James Tredwell at first slip, and Anthony McGrath was out in the next over from Coles, driving loosely outside off-stump to give a straightforward catch to Martin van Jaarsveld at second slip.
Rudolph continued to bat cautiously, while Gale quickly went on the attack - his positive approach brought him seven boundaries in his first 34 runs.
Yorkshire were just beginning to look as if they had enjoyed the better of the morning when Gale fell lbw in the final over before the interval from Dewald Nel after facing 63 balls. Rudolph’s 18 had used up 59 deliveries, and he had struck two boundaries.
The White Rose suffered two more blows early in the afternoon as they dipped to 93-5: Rudolph’s patient 25 in two hours of careful batting came to an end when he was comprehensively beaten and bowled by a seaming delivery from Dewald Nel, and in the next over Gerard Brophy played Coles into his stumps.
Jonny Bairstow and Adil Rashid were undaunted by these dismissals, and they soon improved the situation. Bairstow was in a particularly positive frame of mind – he helped himself to three fours in an over off Nel, two of them from splendid cover-drives. Bairstow also punished Coles, cutting him for four and then finding the boundary through mid-wicket.
Two short stoppages for the finest of drizzle were not appreciated by the spectators – but they had something to applaud on the resumption as Rashid produced a glorious cover-drive off Cook before notching a legside boundary.
A further burst of drizzle brought forward the tea interval, when Yorkshire were 153-5 in 43 overs, Bairstow on 36 and Rashid 24. The sixth-wicket pair had added 60 in 12 overs.
It was 3.50 before play could resume, when 14 overs had been lost, and it was not long before Rashid drove too casually at Nel and was caught behind for 39 to end a useful 65 stand in 13 overs with Bairstow. Ajmal Shahzad joined Bairstow and the seventh-wicket pair batted well together, Bairstow pulling Coles for four to reach his seventh half century of the season off 81 balls with nine fours.
The next important milestone was achieved by Shahzad – who clipped Nel off his legs for four to bring up the 200 and secure a batting bonus point…but in shaping to hit the next ball on the on-side he was lbw for 21. Steven Patterson was the new batsman, and there was just time for Bairstow to hit another boundary before it became too dark to continue.
PREVIEW: After a stunning victory at Trent Bridge and with one round of LV County Championship fixtures to play there is everything to play for as Yorkshire prepare to play their final 4-day game against Kent. Andrew Gale’s men join Nottinghamshire and Somerset in the hunt to become Champion County 2010.
If you’d asked Yorkshire supporters at the start of the season, most woulld have settled for mid-table obscurity heading into the final match of the season. After struggles in recent seasons to avoid relegation, having been written off by everyone in April and going into the season with a new young captain and an inexperienced squad success for most people would have been comfortable survival.
Andrew Gale’s side have surprised everyone in 2010 with their fighting spirit, never say die attitude and sparkling displays. Instead of mere survival they enter the match against Kent with a real chance of lifting this summer’s LV= County Championship crown – an achievement that was beyond everyone’s wildest dreams when the season kicked off on 9 April.
This domestic Championship season has once again produced a nail biter. With one game to go we have a three horse race for the title and four teams could still mathematically join already relegated Essex in Division 2 next year.
Yorkshire lie in third place with one round of games to play and consequently will be viewed as third favourites for glory, but they have a number of factors in their favour:
Andrew Gale’s side play lowly Kent whereas leaders Notts have a difficult trip to play Lancashire at Old Trafford and second placed Somerset have a tough visit to Durham to contemplate.
Yorkshire also have significant momentum after recent victories whereas Notts have lost their last two matches and must be wondering whether they have blown their chance.
Think back over the last few seasons at how well Yorkshire have played in their final games when the chips were down, albeit at the wrong end of the table.
Kent go into the last match against Yorkshire knowing that only a victory for them can save their season and avoid relegation. They will have to attack, take risks and if the game is meandering towards the end then Kent will be as keen as Yorkshire to engineer a positive conclusion.
And finally Yorkshire are underdogs, as they have seen themselves throughout the summer. They know they must win against Kent to have a chance of the title and in many ways that rids Gale, Moxon, etc of potential blurred tactics. They must attack, win and then see what has happened elsewhere.
Whatever happens between Monday and Thursday next week Yorkshire supporters can be very proud of how their team have conducted themselves this summer.
It’s going to be tense. It’s going to require a calculator and a bit of cross referencing. But one thing’s for sure – it’s going to be very exciting!