It’s been a frustrating week in Wales.” That was Andrew Gale’s reaction despite Yorkshire going top of the LV= Insurance County Championship’s Group Three following a rainy draw against Glamorgan at Cardiff.
The equivalent of two full days were lost to the weather in a sixth round fixture which saw the White Rose leapfrog Lancashire by five points.
Unfortunately the rain thwarted Yorkshire’s victory bid, with play not starting until 4.15pm on day four.
Glamorgan were 108-3 in their second innings, leading by only 27. A full day’s play, and a fourth win was a realistic target for coach Gale and his players.
Instead, only 28 overs were scheduled and 13 played before handshakes with Glamorgan on 164-4 leading by 83.
“I felt that was a game that got away,” said Gale.
“At effectively 27-3 this morning, it was a game there to be won. I’m sure Glamorgan would have fought back, but we were in the box-seat.”
Even so, Gale is satisfied with Yorkshire’s position after six games (three wins, three draws). They are five points clear of Lancashire, who have a game in hand this week.
More importantly, in the race for a top two finish in the group, they are 29 points clear of Glamorgan in third – the Welshmen have played six – and 30 clear of fourth-placed Northants, who have played five.
“We’re in a good position,” said Gale. “Obviously Lancs have got a game in hand on us, which they play this week.
“We’ve played some decent cricket so far without being very good. I think we’re nicely placed in the group, but now’s the time to push on.
“We have back-to-back Championship games before the T20s, and that’s a good time to come good.
“If we can go to Old Trafford and get 400 in the first innings, that’s what we’re aiming for. And we’re capable of doing that.”
Yorkshire slipped to 111-8 in their first-innings reply to Glamorgan’s 149, only to recover to 230. It was another sign of the first-innings batting problems which have bothered the county for the opening two months of the campaign.
“Answers on a postcard!” said Gale.
“We talk about starting the game well and batting well in the first innings, putting a price on your wicket. But we get two guys caught on the fence and one at square-leg here.
“They’re soft dismissals, and we’ve got to improve that. If we want to be seriously challenging for trophies in this format, we need to bat better first innings.
“When you bowl a team out for 150, if you can get to 50-1 or 50-2 and just take a bit of the sting out of the game it puts you in a good position. But, again, we had to fight our way back.
“Rooty and Patto’s partnership got us into a good position. But we can’t keep fighting back.
“The lads are working hard. They’re in the nets every opportunity. My shoulder has taken a battering over the last three or four days. They’re doing everything they can do to put it right.
“They’ve all shown glimpses at times. There’s only probably Tom (Kohler-Cadmore) who hasn’t made runs.
“But he’s working hard and do everything he can. Hopefully the game just repays you.
“The good thing for Tom will be to just get away for a few days. We have some T20 practice later in the week. I’m sure he’ll enjoy hitting some big bombs – some big sixes. Hopefully that might free him up and when we go to Old Trafford he’ll get a score to kickstart his season.”
Joe Root’s first-innings 99 on a difficult pitch was the standout innings of the match.
This was his last Championship appearance before Test duties resume next month.
“I thought Joe’s innings was a masterclass,” said Gale. “It’s been great to have Joe around. I wish him well in the Test Matches against New Zealand. His presence on and off the field has been brilliant for us.”
At the other end of the experience scale, Gale reserved high praise for 19-year-old debutant Harry Duke.
He said: “I thought Harry did a great job behind the stumps. He looked the part. The plan to come up to the stumps to Coady and Patto worked. He had the confidence to do that.
“He was a bundle of energy behind the stumps, and I’m really pleased with his debut.”
Yorkshire now have a week off from action and next face Lancashire at Emirates Old Trafford a week on Thursday.
In terms of the availability of Jonny Bairstow and Dawid Malan for that fixture, having just returned from the IPL, Gale added: “Definitely not Jonny. I don’t think we’ll see Jonny until the start of T20.
“I don’t know about Dawid. We’ll have to speak to him this week when he gets out of quarantine.”
Gale also revealed that Matthew Fisher is out for a further four weeks with a second tear in his abdomen.