Captain Shan Masood and all-rounder Dom Bess carried Yorkshire to their first LV= Insurance County Championship victory of the season with a high-class batting performance as the visitors squeezed home by three wickets on the fourth morning chasing 212 at Chesterfield.
Pakistani overseas left-hander Masood, against his former county, anchored the chase with an excellent unbeaten 95 off 112 balls, but wickets fell around him.
Yorkshire started the day on 147-6, needing 65 more to win, and lost Dawid Malan to the first ball – an overall loss of four wickets for seven runs.
But Dom Bess stemmed the bleeding, finishing with a run-a-ball 41 not out and sharing a 68 stand inside 14 overs with Masood.
He played the key role today – there were 56 minutes of play – and hit the winning runs as Yorkshire gained 22 points from what was their first win in the Championship since the opening game of last season against Gloucestershire at Bristol.
In all, Yorkshire have now won their last six matches in the Vitality Blast and Championship.
Yorkshire started the day as marginal favourites to wrap up victory from a match between two winless sides in 2023. But Malan’s departure to the day’s first ball changed the complexion significantly as the score fell to 147-7.
Malan miscued a lap sweep to short-leg off the left-arm spin of Mark Watt, leaving the Scottish international on a hat-trick having dismissed Matthew Revis with the final ball of day three.
Masood and Dom Bess, however, got the scoreboard moving with a boundary apiece inside the opening 15 minutes of play to ease nerves somewhat.
After the wicket, the duo were excellent. Not only did they find the boundary when the opportunity arose, they kept the board ticking over and ran well.
Bess started particularly positively, lap sweeping Watt for four to long-leg and then cutting the same bowler through the covers. Within 20 minutes of the day starting. Yorkshire’s target was down to 50 at 162-7.
There was a nervy moment with Masood on 76 (171-7). He attempted to sweep at Watt and was struck on the pad. But as Watt appealed, he ran straight down the middle of the pitch. In telling him to get off, it initially looked like umpire Chris Watts had given the Yorkshire captain out. That wasn’t the case, and the umpire quickly signalled as such.
Bess drove Thomson through the covers for four to move into the twenties, by which time the score had moved to 182-7 and the target to 30.
This was a remarkable game, one which both sides contributed to immensely.
To use the old cliche, ‘It was a fantastic advert for the County Championship’.
Derbyshire were dead and buried just after lunch on day two on Monday, at 17-4 in their second innings and trailing by 225.
But Leus du Plooy and Haider Ali scored recovering centuries before Watt took advantage of increasing help from the pitch to put Yorkshire under the cosh in their chase.
Derbyshire, however, know all about Masood’s capabilities, and this was a wonderful innings.
Masood, on the way to his highest score for Yorkshire, swept Watt through mid-wicket to take himself into the nineties and the partnership with Bess to 50.
But, more importantly, at 197-7 in the 48th over, Yorkshire needed only 15 more to win.
Bess bounced back superbly from a difficult start to the match. Having not bowled in the first innings, he conceded 95 runs from his first 15 overs in the second.
But he claimed three important wickets yesterday to keep Yorkshire’s target to manageable proportions and batted with skill today.
He struck the winning blow over mid-wicket for four off a Thomson full toss to spark wild celebrations from the Yorkshire dressing room.