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A top order collapse in pursuit of 241 on a used pitch cost Yorkshire the chance of a Royal London Cup victory over Essex at Chelmsford, the Vikings relinquishing a top three place in Group B courtesy of an 88-run loss on Duckworth Lewis Stern.

Yorkshire’s second defeat in five games, which saw them fail to recover from 30-4, saw the Eagles replace them in third place in the table, the position which would secure knockout qualification at the end of the group stage next week.

The Vikings are fourth in the table on six points with three games remaining, one point behind today’s hosts, who only have two to play.

Yorkshire returned a bowling and fielding performance mixed with quality and fight as they bowled Essex out for 240 inside 47 overs, battling back brilliantly from 184-2 to take the last seven wickets for 56 runs.

However, wickets continued to tumble as the chase quickly ran into problems and Jonny Tattersall’s side failed to recover from losing the first four wickets inside six overs on a pitch used for Sunday’s with Glamorgan.

When heavy – almost biblical – rain arrived just before 3.50pm and left puddles on the outfield within five minutes, Yorkshire were 76-6 after 19 overs. No more play was possible, with the match abandoned at 4.25pm.

Essex’s South African overseas wicketkeeper batter Grant Roelofsen impressed with 90 off 97 balls, while Matthew Waite impressed with 3-23 from 7.1 overs and five wickets fell to spin.

After Essex elected to bat, a Yorkshire side including one change from last week’s win over Glamorgan – Harry Sullivan in for Tom Loten, struck twice inside the first eight overs as the hosts slipped to 33-2.

Ben Coad bowled Feroze Khushi through the gate before Jack Shutt affected the run out of the other opener Josh Rymell with a direct hit run out at the non-striker’s end from mid-off.

Third-wicket pair Grant Roelofsen and captain Tom Westley then recovered things with a 25-over partnership of 151, the former leading the way.

A South African signed on a short-term overseas deal out of Essex League Cricket, Roelofsen was punishing with the pull shot against seam and spin and inventive with the reverse sweep against spin.

He pulled all of his three sixes, including two in one over from Sullivan’s left-arm spin as the score moved to 94-2 after 19.

Roelofsen reached his fifty off 58 balls and Westley later followed him there off 64 balls.

And at that stage, Yorkshire were on the back foot, with Essex at 183-2 after 32 overs. Here was a side who, in their last three games, had posted totals of 341, 331 and 343-9.

But things were about to change.

A sweeping Westley top-edged a return catch to Sullivan before Roelofsen’s strength on the reverse sweep proved his downfall as he was caught at short third off the same bowler, leaving the score at 189-4 in the 35th over.

Robin Das fell in identical fashion off the bowling of Dom Bess before the next three batters were all bowled as the score slipped to 237-8 in the 44th over.

Off-spinner Jack Shutt, fresh from a four-for in last week’s win at Glamorgan, bowled Nick Browne and Aron Nijjar. Sandwiched in between, Waite bowled Luc Benkenstein.

Waite then wrapped up the innings by getting Jamal Richards caught behind and New Zealander Ray Toole brilliantly caught one-handed at mid-on by Will Fraine diving to his left.

Opener Fraine was one of the early Yorkshire wickets to fall to leave them under the cosh.

Harry Duke edged Netherlands seamer Shane Snater behind, the same bowler who Fraine edged to slip and then trapped Tattersall lbw as the score slipped to 30-4 in the sixth.

After Will Luxton was stumped off Nijjar’s left-arm spin, Fraine and Tattersall fell to leave Snater (3-29 from five overs) on a hat-trick.

George Hill and Waite (15) more than doubled the total, but further success was about to follow for the hosts as left-arm seamer Toole, another overseas player out of the Essex League, trapped Waite lbw and had Matthew Revis caught behind, leaving Yorkshire at 71-6 after 17 overs.

Hill was 19 not out when the rain arrived, and it became quickly obvious that no further play would be possible.

When play was abandoned, the ground was virtually under water.

Yorkshire travel to Canterbury to face Kent on Friday (11am).

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