Andrew Gale believes his players did all they could to try and secure a final berth in the Bob Willis Trophy.

Yorkshire finished their five-game North Group campaign unbeaten and top of the table, winning three and drawing the other two.

They finished their four-day summer with a resounding 10-wicket win over Leicestershire at Emerald Headingley, chasing 34 inside seven overs shortly after lunch on day four.

Yorkshire finished on 87 points from five games and needed four more points to have qualified for the Lord’s final.

That will be contested between Essex and Somerset – last season’s top two teams in the County Championship – starting on September 23.

Gale is delighted by the quality of cricket played by his team this summer, reserving particular praise for the seam bowling performance in this game.

Jordan Thompson completed a maiden five-wicket haul on day four, while new ball seamer Ben Coad was exceptional with match figures of 8-41.

Gale is amazed the latter is not spoken about more for England Test honours.

“It’s disappointing because I feel we’ve played well enough to warrant getting to Lord’s,” said the coach. “We’ve lost nearly 500 overs (to weather), and the games that have gone the distance we’ve won.

“The games in the middle, I thought we were driving it against Derbyshire and Lancashire was in the balance. Had we had good weather against Derby, who knows what would have happened. We certainly would have pushed hard for the win.

“I’m proud of the lads because they’ve done everything we’ve asked them to do. They couldn’t really have done much more.

“We could have maybe scrapped a little bit here and there for a few extra bonus points, but you certainly can’t win games of cricket in two days. That can’t be helped.

“We’ve played some really good cricket, and it’s been a pleasure to see some of the young lads take their opportunity.

“The ones who probably haven’t have learnt the standards they need to be at, and it’s a good eye-opener and lesson for them going into the winter as to what they need to work on.”

Seam quartet Coad, Matthew Fisher, Thompson and Duanne Olivier all did their bit against Leicester.

Earlier in the game, bowling coach Rich Pyrah said he feels Coad and Fisher have the potential to be the best new ball pair in county cricket. And Gale agrees.

He said: “I’ve always said, if we can keep them on the park, they are going to forge a really good partnership opening the bowling, going back to the Sidebottom-Brooks sort of partnership.

“I thought the way they bowled in the first innings was outstanding.

“Coady, he’s got all the attributes for international cricket. I can’t believe they don’t speak about him more.

“When you see that display of bowling, you just think, ‘Wow, what a bowler we’ve got on our hands’.

“Fish has come back well from injury, and they were backed up well in the second innings by Tommo.

“I’m pleased he got five. He missed out on his hundred at Trent Bridge, so to get a five-for (is fantastic).”

On the quality of Yorkshire’s bowling attack overall, Gale said: “I think it’s right up there (amongst the best). To be able to win Championships, you’ve got to be able to take 20 wickets.

“Our attack, against any opposition in any conditions – and you put Dom Bess into that next year – you have one that can consistently take 20 wickets.

“The challenge with these young lads is keeping them on the park for a period of time. Have they got 14 Championship games in them? Can they play a T20 competition and then back it up in the Championship?

“That’s going to be the challenge over the next few years.”

On the batting front, while Gale has been encouraged with the overall performances during the Bob Willis, he admitted: “I thought in this game our batting was poor. We gave them too many wickets.

“No disrespect to Leicester, we are going to come up against tougher attacks and teams than them. If you’re playing against the likes of Essex and Somerset, you can’t afford to give wickets away.

“But, overall, I think our batting is going in the right direction and has been encouraging.”

Gale confirmed that the recent recruitment of Bess means the county will not look to re-recruit overseas spinners Keshav Maharaj and Ravi Ashwin, as they had done at the start of this summer before Coronavirus hit.

“We won’t be recruiting another spinner,” he said. “We’re quite happy bringing Dom in. If he’s not available, we’ll back our own.

“That second overseas spot will be available if we need it.

“Duanne will move from a Kolpak to an overseas player, and then we’ll have a look how much money is left in the pot and see what we need.”

Captain Steve Patterson missed this game with back spasms and ends his season given he is not part of the county’s Vitality Blast plans.

Out of contract at the end of the summer, Gale revealed: “I think the club’s made him a contract offer. He’s sitting on that.

“He’s been fantastic over the last few years as captain. He’s got the respect of the dressing room, and people can see what we’re trying to achieve. He’s integral to that and is still performing.”

Finally, Gale admitted he was unsure over Gary Ballance’s chances of playing this season despite admitting: “He’s improving.”

An image of Lauren Winfield-Hill and Adil Rashid, with the Yorkshire logo and Northern Diamonds logo in the middle

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