Andrew Gale hailed the fighting spirit shown by his Yorkshire side as they bounced back from early strife in the Roses match at Emerald Headingley to secure a huge victory in their fight against Specsavers County Championship relegation.
Yorkshire wrapped up a 95-run win over Lancashire within the first 40 minutes of day four, leaving their arch-rivals all but relegated with only one match to play.
The White Rose win, which yielded 20 points, has left them needing a maximum of 18 from their final two games against Hampshire at home and Worcestershire away to secure Division One cricket next season.
Lancashire, chasing 230, slipped from 109-7 to 134 all out at the start of day four as Jack Brooks struck twice and Ben Coad once.
They shared nine wickets in the second innings, with Coad finishing with 5-24 from 15.1 overs and Brooks 4-47 from 15. Coad claimed seven wickets in the match and Brooks nine.
So, what d’ya think of it so far?
CWatersYPSport</a> finally returns with <a href="https://twitter.com/PHarrisonYPN?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">PHarrisonYPN in tow to discuss
YorkshireCCC</a>'s Roses win & the season so far for <a href="https://twitter.com/GaleyLad?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">GaleyLad‘s team PLUS a tribute to Alastair Cook#YCCC #ENGvIND https://t.co/skJ2kJp1nG
— CricketTalk (@CricketTalkYPN) September 14, 2018
This was Yorkshire’s fourth win of a difficult season which has seen the players and coach Gale questioned, chiefly on social media.
“It’s easy to question that (togetherness) at arm’s length,” said Gale.
“The truth of it is that the team that was successful for a long period of time is starting to break up because of budgets and people wanting to move on, the demands of contracts.
“But throughout the whole process, the lads have got behind each other.
“When you have that, you’ve always got a chance.
“It’s times like this when it gets tested, but the lads have put their hands up and put in a performance in this game.
“It was a must win game for both teams, and there was a lot of pressure.
“The first day didn’t go as planned.
“From there on, at 105-0 (in reply to 209), we’re thinking ‘If we can bowl Lancashire out for 300, it would be a good effort’. To bounce back the way we did on the second morning gave us a fighting chance.
“I thought we showed a lot of character, togetherness, team spirit and belief to fight back in the fashion we did. To win by 90 odd runs in the end was a fantastic effort.
“We’ve got a bit of confidence that hasn’t always been there this year, and we’ve got to jump on the back of that and finish the season real strong.”
Gale hailed the individual contributions of Gary Ballance and first-innings centurion Tom Kohler-Cadmore with the bat and Brooks and Coad with the ball.
But he said: “Needing two wins out of two or something like that would have been an uphill task. But this puts us in the box seat. If we play the cricket we have been doing, we’ll be fine.”
On the criticism he has received personally, he added: “I haven’t seen a lot of the stuff if I’m honest, but I know things must have been bad when a lot of people have text me asking if I’m ok.
“There’s massive expectation that comes with Yorkshire, and it’s been a challenging time. But we know what we’re trying to achieve.
“We are going through a transition, and the likes of Coad, Tattersall, Brook, Fisher need time.
“We want to give them that opportunity. In the meantime, we need to compete.
“We’re still looking to bring a couple of faces in, but myself, Martyn Moxon and Mark Arthur know what we’re trying to achieve at the club, and we believe in it.”
Yorkshire face Hampshire at Emerald Headingley, starting on Tuesday.