Matthew Fisher quite literally capped a memorable return from injury with four wickets as Yorkshire edged the opening day of the season-ending LV= Insurance County Championship with Gloucestershire at Headingley.
Fisher struck four times in his second spell from the Kirkstall Lane End this morning as Gloucester slipped to 47-4 inside 19 overs before being bowled out for 190 late in the afternoon.
Yorkshire, who closed on 80-3 from 26.2 overs of their reply, have claimed three of the maximum 10 points they need from this game to avoid relegation.
This was only the 24-year-old’s second first-team appearance of the season having suffered a back stress fracture in Yorkshire’s opener, also against Gloucestershire at Bristol in mid-April, and he finished with four for 45 from 12 overs.
The day started with Fisher awarded his first-team, alongside captain Jonny Tattersall, by departing legend Steve Patterson.
The presentation was watched by the families of both players midway through the morning warm-ups.
James Bracey was the main protagonist in ensuring the visitors were not completely over-run having elected to bat first upon winning the toss.
The left-handed wicketkeeper batter finished with 71 off 112 balls, only his third half-century in the Championship since scoring 117 against Yorkshire at Bristol at the start of the summer.
But this was Fisher’s day. He took the new ball and bowled two overs from the Howard Stand End of the ground before switching ends shortly afterwards.
In his second spell, of five overs, he had opener Ben Charlesworth (25) and Miles Hammond caught behind by Tattersall, Chris Dent bowled via an inside-edge and Ollie Price caught at fourth slip by James Wharton.
He gained extra bounce to trouble a Gloucester side who have long been relegated, boosting Yorkshire’s own hopes of survival.
The county came into this fixture with a 15-point cushion over second-bottom Warwickshire, who are hosting Hampshire at Edgbaston this week.
No matter what they do, 10 points will assure Yorkshire Division One cricket for 2023.
Bracey and his captain Graeme van Buuren steadied Gloucester through to lunch – 90-4 from 29 overs – as they embarked on a 53-run partnership for the fifth wicket.
But they were two of six afternoon wickets to fall which gave Yorkshire the upper hand as they look to farewell Patterson and Tom Kohler-Cadmore in style with a second victory of 2022.
Ben Coad and George Hill both struck twice in an over, the latter getting Bracey caught behind off an inside-edge as the score fell to 172-8 in the 55th over. Hill then bowled David Payne for a duck four balls later.
Earlier, the partnership between Bracey and van Buuren was broken by Coad when the latter was trapped lbw playing back for 25 before Jack Taylor was bowled through the gate – 102-6 in the 34th over.
Shortly afterwards, Gloucester were 128-7 when Zafar Gohar edged Patterson to Kohler-Cadmore at first slip.
Bracey and seamer Tom Price then shared 44 to give Gloucester some respite.
Bracey’s departure came shortly after he had been struck on the head by a Jordan Thompson bouncer before Payne followed. And when Price was bowled for 38 by Dom Bess, that brought about an early tea.
During the tea break, the Northern Diamonds undertook a lap of honour with the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy they won at Lord’s yesterday, beating Southern Vipers in the final.
Yorkshire, under the glare of the Headingley floodlights – in use for most of the day, started their second innings with 38 overs remaining in the day.
Adam Lyth had a new opening partner in James Wharton, who had come into the team for Fin Bean, who has a finger injury. ??Yorkshire made three changes from last week’s defeat at Surrey. Fisher has replaced Ben Mike and Harry Duke has come in for Will Fraine.
Unfortunately for Wharton, he was unable to make an impression, trapped lbw by Ajeet Singh Dale for a 28-ball nought.
Hill then chased a wide one from left-armer Payne and was caught behind for 12, leaving Yorkshire at 32-2 in the 16th over.
Lyth played nicely for 44, but unfortunately he edged Tom Price to third slip immediately before bad light stopped play approximately 12 overs early. Kohler-Cadmore finished unbeaten on 21.