By Graham Hardcastle
Yorkshire are all set for a defining period in their Vitality Blast North Group campaign with four games in five days, starting on Friday evening.
The Vikings are currently in a decent position with three wins from their first five fixtures, albeit they lost last time out against Roses rivals Lancashire in a last ball thriller last Friday at Emirates Old Trafford.
They sit sixth in the table on six points and have a game in hand on all teams above them. They are only two points behind second-placed Durham.
The first of those four games comes against Birmingham Bears at Emerald Headingley (6.30pm).
They then travel to Queen’s Park, Chesterfield to tackle Derbyshire for the first of two clashes against them in three days on Saturday afternoon.
The Falcons return to Headingley on Monday evening for the fixture which was rescheduled following England’s progression to the semi-finals of the football World Cup earlier this month. Leicestershire also visit on Tuesday evening.
Added to that, late next week, the Vikings welcome Northamptonshire to Headingley on Friday.
Yorkshire have lost against Birmingham at Edgbaston earlier this month, their only all-round off day so far, and that aforementioned Lancashire fixture.
But they have shown enough in their first five games to suggest they will be strong contenders in this season’s Blast, beating Durham twice and Worcestershire once.
Even in the Roses clash, they almost chased a target of 177 in 14 overs, eventually losing by one run.
“The character we showed with the bat in that game after bowling poorly for what we’re capable of was encouraging,” said captain Steve Patterson.