There is no doubt that Mark Ramprakash had an affinity with Yorkshire. His debut came against the White Rose county, as did his first century and, more famously and memorably, so did his 100th. Paul Dyson looks back at the relationship between the county and the most watchable batsmen of his era.
On August 24th and 25th, 1995, i.e. 25 years ago, Mark Ramprakash scored what was then the highest innings of his career. It was at Headingley against a Yorkshire attack including Peter Hartley, Chris Silverwood, Craig White, Mark Robinson and Richard Stemp and totalled 235 runs. It was his third double-century of the season, came from 426 balls and included one six and 31 fours. It equalled the record (since beaten) for a visiting batsman against Yorkshire in Leeds and was praised by Wisden as being a ‘high-class’ innings. He enabled Middlesex to score 516 for nine declared and win by an innings.
Ramprakash was already gaining a reputation as someone who had taken a liking to Yorkshire’s bowlers, not to mention the fact that significant moments in his first-class career involved the White Rose county as his opponents. His first-class debut came in 1987 at Lord’s – against Yorkshire. Innings of 17 and 63 not out in the first match of the season gave ‘a glowing impression’ but Yorkshire won and Ramprakash played in only seven more games that season.
There was a similar number of games for Ramprakash in the following year but 1989 brought him over 1,000 runs for the first time and these included his maiden century – his only one of the season – against Yorkshire at Headingley. A knock of 128 (main bowlers Jarvis, A Sidebottom, Fletcher, Carrick) but a second innings duck was part of a collapse which took his side to 75 for seven and a nail-biting three-wicket win.
In 1993 Ramprakash paid his first visit to Scarborough and came away with 140 against Hartley, Gough, Robinson and Stemp; the 321 which he shared with skipper Mike Gatting remains the highest partnership for any wicket at the venue. Yorkshire finished with nine down and escaped with an underserved draw. His next century against his northern opponents was the 235 already described but he wasted no time in clocking up his fourth, it coming in these two counties’ next match together – at Lord’s in 1996. Against Gough, Hartley Silverwood, White and Stemp, Ramprakash produced 134 and, in another close finish, Middlesex triumphed by just 21 runs.
Having clinched the Championship title in 2001 against Glamorgan st Scarborough, Yorkshire’s next match was at The Oval, Ramprakash having moved to Surrey. Much to the chagrin of skipper David Byas, who saw it as an opportunity to help Surrey on their way towards relegation, his side showed no fewer than five changes, included only four capped players and was easily beaten by an innings. Ramprakash feasted on Hoggard, Kirby, Dawson and Gray, scored 131 and shared a stand of 215 with Ben Hollioake, their batting Wisden recorded, as being ‘replete with quality, often elegant, strokeplay’.
With Surrey and Yorkshire spending the 2003-06 years in different divisions, Ramprakash’s chance to score his sixth century against the White Rose county had to wait. However another opportunity came in 2007 at The Oval but his 115 against Hoggard, Gough, Gillespie, Rashid and Bresnan could not prevent his side from suffering a very heavy defeat by 346 runs. Bresnan and Gillespie both scored centuries and shared a new Yorkshire ninth-wicket record of 246.