Ottis Gibson remains confident Yorkshire can achieve their main summer target of promotion in the Vitality County Championship, a competition which resumes this weekend.

Yorkshire will play their eighth game of 14, against Gloucestershire at Scarborough’s North Marine Road from Sunday (11am), and they are still searching for their first red ball victory of 2024.

Their Division Two campaign has been on hold since the end of May while counties played out the first half of the Vitality Blast T20.

Now, the next fortnight is devoted to the Championship once more before another prolonged break through until the end of August for more white ball cricket. 

Yorkshire face Gloucestershire before a trip to Chesterfield next Sunday to take on Derbyshire. Gibson’s charges have drawn with both counties already this season. 

They were two results which form part of what has, no doubt, been a frustrating first half of the summer in Championship cricket; five draws and two defeats. They sit second bottom of the table on 77 points having been unable to convert a host of winning positions. 

Shan Masood 50

Picture by John Heald. Shan Masood scored 60 and 131 in Yorkshire’s last Championship appearance, the draw against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road last month. He will miss the Gloucestershire game with concussion. 

Weather has played its part in a number of the draws – that can’t be denied. 

But, in games such as Gloucestershire at Bristol and Glamorgan at Headingley, there was enough time to drive home advantages they held. Unfortunately, they were unable to finish both sides off.

Still, coach Gibson knows that Yorkshire are far from out of the race for a top-two finish, promotion and a return to Division One for the first time since 2022.

They are only 24 points adrift of second-placed Middlesex – the maximum haul available for a win – and 32 behind leaders Sussex. Both counties still have to visit God’s Own County before the end of September.

But, first things first and Gloucestershire – a team who sit fourth on 90 points with one win, one defeat and five draws. 

“We’re somewhere near the bottom of the log, but two wins puts us somewhere near the top of the log,” said Gibson.

Joe Root

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Yorkshire will have to replace Joe Root in their four-day side after the England batter turned his attentions to Test Match preparations.

“It’s about finding a way to win those games.

“We’ve done a lot of good things in the Championship. 

“We’ve made runs, we’ve bowled teams out. We did that twice at Sussex, but we obviously also got bowled twice as well. 

“That’s a game that we should’ve won.

“In the Championship, we have to make sure we improve on the good things that we’ve been doing. 

“We have been in positions to win at least three or four of those games. At Middlesex, we weren’t at the races. Every other game, we could have won, and I’m hoping that we’ve learnt a lot from those situations.

Ottis Gibson

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Ottis Gibson is targeting a productive fortnight to breathe life into Yorkshire’s Championship promotion bid.

“There’s still seven games to play, and we just need one win to really get us moving in that competition.”

Yorkshire’s last Championship game saw them draw against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road in late May, the hosts holding on for a draw eight wickets down in their second innings. 

The likes of Fin Bean, George Hill, Jonny Tattersall and Sri Lankan overseas fast bowler Vishwa Fernando are all set to return having not featured in the Vitality Blast.

Left-arm quick Fernando is available for the next two Championship matches. He will then link back up with Sri Lanka ahead of their late summer Test series back in England.

New ball seamer Ben Coad is not quite fit enough to return from the back injury which has sidelined him since the defeat against Sussex at Hove in mid-May, while Yorkshire will require a new captain for the week given Shan Masood is unavailable because of concussion suffered in Thursday’s Roses T20. Jonny Tattersall is the most likely candidate to lead the side.

Gloucestershire drew at home to Derbyshire in their last Championship outing in late May.

Vishwa Fernando

By John Heald. Vishwa Fernando dismisses Ricardo Vasconcelos for his debut wicket in Yorkshire colours and his 300th in first-class cricket in last month’s Championship draw. He will maintain his place at Scarborough this weekend.

Captained by middle order batter Graeme van Buuren, they will choose two from three available overseas players for this fixture. 

Australian opening batter Cameron Bancroft is with Glos for the full season, as is Pakistani left-arm spinner Zafar Gohar. But they have also signed Aussie all-rounder Beau Webster for a stint in the Vitality Blast alongside some mid-season Championship matches. 

Given Gohar has only played twice in four-day cricket so far this season, the likelihood is that Yorkshire will face up against Bancroft and Webster.

Webster’s signing for Gloucestershire was initially advertised as just these two Championship matches in June, but he played the two before the start of the Blast as well.

A middle order batter and a seamer, he claimed 6-100 and hit 76 in the first innings of the Derbyshire draw.

Van Buuren is their leading run-scorer in this season’s Championship with 584, while his fellow South African, the pace bowler Marchant de Lange, is their leading wicket-taker with 21.

Beau Webster

Picture by Will Russell/Getty Images. Beau Webster in action for Tasmania during the most recent Sheffield Shield campaign in Australia.

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