It was groundhog day for Ottis Gibson and Yorkshire as they contemplated more rain against Leicestershire at the Uptonsteel County Ground.
So often this season, the weather has had its say, and today at Grace Road was no different as this penultimate round clash ended in a draw from which more than 230 overs were lost.
“The frustration levels are sky-high,” said coach Gibson, who was at least able to deliver good news on the impending return of injured fast bowlers Matthew Fisher and Matt Milnes.
“Here we are now this afternoon standing around like we did at the start of the game four days ago when we were off for the wind.
“The game was boiling up nicely, and it could have been a really interesting finish this afternoon. But the weather has put paid to another Yorkshire match, which is desperately disappointing.”
Yorkshire’s ninth draw in 13 matches was one which saw ball dominate bat.
Yorkshire were all out for 147 before Leicestershire responded with 233. The visitors reached 225-4 in their second innings, a lead of 147. But there was no play possible beyond 1.30pm today.
Gibson continued: “First innings, we let ourselves down with the bat. The pitch started very green, but I don’t think the pitch itself contributed to some of our dismissals.
“It was good to see us bat a lot better in the second innings, Wharts especially getting runs.
“He’s someone we think really highly of, so it was nice to see him knuckle down after he misjudged one in the first innings. He was really fluent in the second innings.
“Lythy and Beany have been outstanding for us all season. I think they’re both in the 900s for runs (in the Championship). It was the fourth time they’ve put on a hundred, and we’ve had a solid opening partnership all year. That’s a real positive.
“On the negative side, yesterday afternoon we got them 140-9. But I said upstairs at the end of the day, ‘There we go again’.
“We put ourselves in a position to win and let it slip through dropped catches and some pretty ordinary bowling. They were allowed to score too freely. They scored 90 runs in an hour, and it changed the dynamic of the game.
“I don’t think there’s any individual blame on any one person. I just think as a whole in that period, we went a bit soft. And it’s not the first time we’ve done that.
“Ben Cliff bowled nicely. He’s someone we think highly of, so it was nice to be able to give him an opportunity.”
Both sides were chasing a result today, with Gibson giving an indication of Yorkshire’s mindset at the start of play.
“At the beginning of the day, it was interesting,” he said. “If they bowled well and got us a couple down, which they did, we were under pressure.
“But once you bat yourself to a place where you’re comfortable, it was, ‘Right, what are we happy trying to defend, how many overs do we want to bowl?
“‘Are we comfortable defending four an over in 40 overs for instance or do we need fives? Do we think we can make enough inroads in 40 overs to give ourselves chance to win?’
“We were trying to win the game one way or another, but the weather didn’t allow it.”
Gibson confirmed that Dom Bess’s omission from this fixture was down to conditions. Not one over of spin was bowled in the entire match.
Bess will come back into contention for next week’s final round clash with Worcestershire at Headingley, as will Fisher and Milnes after respective side and back injuries.
Fisher has missed the last two games with a side strain and Milnes all but the first game of the season with a back stress fracture.
He added: “Matt Fisher was nursing a side and went away to Durham with the seconds this week and bowled nicely. Matt Milnes also, he’s been injured all year. But he’s somewhere near full fitness, and those two I would imagine will feature in the squad.
“Hopefully the team we put out next week will have a feel of what you’re likely to see next year if everybody’s fit.
“Hopefully we can get some good weather.”