Martyn Moxon hailed “two valuable days” at either end of the country for Yorkshire’s squad in friendly action against Middlesex and Durham.

Yorkshire’s first of four pre-season dates saw a first team face Middlesex at Merchant Taylors’ School in Northwood and also an inexperienced team host a strong Durham at Emerald Headingley.

Both games saw the sides bat for a day apiece, but split strategically to manage bowling workloads.

At Middlesex, Yorkshire batted for the first 60 overs on day one and made 138-5, including 52 for Gary Ballance on his return to action after missing the entire 2020 campaign due to illness.

Middlesex then batted for the final 30 overs of day one and the first 60 of today’s day two, totalling 215-6. David Willey struck twice in an over during the second morning, while Jack Shutt also struck twice. Ben Coad bowled 13 overs for 13 runs and captain Steve Patterson 13 for 14 runs.

Yorkshire then batted for the final 30 overs of the day and reached 94-2, with Harry Brook unbeaten on 30 and Jonny Tattersall 38 not out.

At Headingley, a couple of Yorkshire youngsters shone brightly with the bat and ball.

Durham made 223-1 from the first 60 overs on day one before Yorkshire replied with 62-3 from 30.

The difference between Merchant Taylors’ and Headingley was that the scorers at the latter reset the scoreboard at 0-0 at the start of day two.

White Rose duo Yash Vagadia, an Academy right-hander from Middlesbrough, and opener Matthew Revis then shared an unbroken 104 through until the cusp of lunch.

Vagadia hit a fluent 49 off 67 balls with seven fours and Revis a more determined 37 off 100. Vagadia was distraught when he edged England Lions seamer Brydon Carse behind.

Ben Birkhead also chipped in with 35 not out in 181-6 from 60 overs before Durham closed the game on 146-2 from 30 overs.

Revis claimed two late Durham wickets with his impressive seamers, both caught in the slips or behind, to end the game on a high.

“It’s been two valuable days,” assessed Moxon, present at Headingley. “We haven’t had a lot of outdoor practice due to the weather, but it’s been really useful.

“With the younger players playing against a strong Durham team here at Headingley, and equipping themselves very well, it augurs well for the future.

“From what I can gather from what’s happened down at Middlesex, they have been two really useful days as well. So far, so good.

“These matches are competitive. Once you get out into the middle, it’s a very competitive environment.

“Speaking to the Durham coaches, they are delighted that they’ve been able to have a run out even against our younger lads. They’ve found it really useful.

“And, for us, to see our up and coming players against an experienced side, it’s very encouraging.

“We are going to have to give these lads opportunities in the second team this summer, and hopefully that will put them in the shop window for the first team if places become available.”

Yorkshire face Derbyshire at Derby on Thursday and Friday before hosting a pair of three-day University games at Headingley next week against Leeds/Bradford (March 29-31) and Durham (April 3-5).

“We have got three more games lined up before Glamorgan on April 8 (LV= Insurance County Championship opener),” added Moxon.

“I don’t think the weather is supposed to be too good Thursday and Friday down at Derby, but hopefully we can get some meaningful practice in in preparation for what is an exciting season ahead.”

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