The “posh southerner” is preparing for his final outing as an adopted northerner on his home ground this week, and Jack Brooks admits he has loved bowling in front of the Yorkshire faithful.
Brooks faces Hampshire at Emerald Headingley in the penultimate Specsavers County Championship match of the season, starting on Tuesday, with one main aim – to finally banish the fear of relegation.
Yorkshire need a maximum of 18 points from their final two games to secure Division One cricket for 2019.
Brooks, 34, is charging over the finishing line in terms of his Yorkshire career, having taken 16 wickets in his last three matches, with nine of them coming in last week’s must win Roses clash.
But he is determined to stay focused on team goals rather than anything personal.
“Almost there,” he said of the relegation fight. “But there’s still a bit of work to do.
“The boys have worked incredibly hard over the last few weeks to get some results, and we’re in good form now, so we’re confident we can get the job done.
“My main objective for the rest of the season is to make sure Yorkshire are in Division One, and we’re getting there.”
Brooks’ first-class record at Headingley is exceptional. In 33 games, he has taken 146 wickets at an average of 22.10.
He has better averages at Chelmsford, the Ageas Bowl, Chesterfield, Worcester and Derby, but he has only taken 69 first-class wickets at those venues combined.
“I’ve always enjoyed bowling here and have always felt threatening,” he said.
“I know when Dizzy was in charge, and with Galey now, they always like to pick me for these games. They always want to make sure I’m playing at Headingley.
“I feel like my game’s suited to bowling here, bowling that little bit fuller. You get your rewards if you put it in the right areas for long enough.
“It’s been great for me for the last six years, improving as a cricketer and playing in front of decent crowds.
“I seem to get on well with the supporters.
“We seem to respond to each other’s energy, and it’s been really good fun.
“But I want to finish the season on a high for the team as much as anything personal. There’s a lot on the line.”
Despite the stakes being high for Yorkshire, there will no doubt be time to appreciate Brooks’ contribution to the county he joined ahead of 2013.
In the 2014 and 2015 Championship-winning seasons, he took 133 wickets.
“The emotion, I think, is going a bit, although I won’t know that for sure until I come off the pitch for the final time,” he said of his decision to leave.
And in typical Brooks fashion, he added: “I reckon I’m the most well spoken Yorkshireman around. I’m still called a posh southerner up here – it’s brilliant. I’m just a common old country idiot when I’m down south!
“I’m quite happy to be an adopted northerner because I’ve adopted a few phrases and how I say certain words.
“It’s been good fun.
“The sense of humour of the Yorkshireman is something I’ve always got on well with. I’m quite dry and sarcastic myself anyway, so we’re well suited.”
Hampshire have won their last two games against Worcestershire and Somerset to pull clear of relegation danger.
Ben Coad, after three matches out with a side injury, took a second-innings five-for in last week’s Specsavers Division One Roses win over Lancashire at Emerald Headingley. Coad, who took his 40th County Championship wicket in 2018, admitted to ‘feeling his side injury’ early in the match, but felt as though he was through the worst of it and is once again included in the squad.
England limited overs all-rounder David Willey will miss the final two weeks of the season as he recovers from the back injury he suffered in the build-up to the recent draw against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.
Promising left-arm spinner James Logan, 20, the Academy’s all-time leading wicket-taker, also features in a senior squad for the second successive fixture but is yet to make his First XI debut.
14-MAN SQUAD TO FACE HAMPSHIRE CCC
Steven Patterson ©
Jonny Tattersall (WK)
Last time at Emerald Headingley
April 7, 8, 9: Yorkshire 273 (GS Ballance 120) & 187 (AJ Hodd 54*, KJ Abbott 7-41); Hampshire 141 (BO Coad 6-37) & 321-6 (JHK Adams 72). Hampshire won by four wickets.
Last year Hampshire won again. In the first innings Yorkshire scored 273 and Hampshire only 141 to be 132 behind.
Yorkshire’s batting was sustained by a patient and competent century from Gary Ballance in his first match as the appointed captain. Then Ben Coad took the first five Hampshire wickets in only his second first-class match. But Kyle Abbott turned the tables with a fine display of fast bowling and at one stage he had taken seven wickets in 14 overs.
Still Yorkshire should have won as Hampshire had to make 320 to win batting last. All the batsmen except Michael Carberry contributed yet at 262 for six and still 58 runs adrift Yorkshire could still have won. At this juncture Lewis McManus, their young wicket keeper joined Gareth Berg and they hit the runs required. It was the first match of the season and Yorkshire suffered an unexpected setback and Hampshire gained another victory at Headingley.
- Of the last 15 County Championship matches between these two sides, 11 have finished in draws. Yorkshire have won three and lost one of the remaining four.
- Hampshire’s record at Headingley is better than that of any of the other counties in the Championship. They are the only team to have won more matches (nine) than they have lost (seven).
- When Yorkshire won both County Championship matches against Hampshire in 2015 it was their 14th double against these opponents. Hampshire’s only double against Yorkshire was in 2006.
- Hampshire’s highest individual innings in these matches – 300 not out by Michael Carberry in 2011 – is the only triple-century scored against Yorkshire for any county in the official County Championship (from 1890).
- The third-wicket partnership of 523 which Carberry shared with Neil McKenzie is the highest for any wicket against Yorkshire in all cricket.
Potential batting milestones in Yorkshire v Hampshire on 18th Sep 2018
SA Northeast needs 1 runs to reach 9000 runs in First-class matches
GS Ballance needs 9 runs to reach 2500 runs in First-class matches at Leeds
JA Brooks needs 16 runs to reach 500 runs in First-class matches at Leeds
GS Ballance needs 27 runs to reach 10000 runs in First-class matches
TP Alsop needs 42 runs to reach 1500 runs in First-class matches
LA Dawson needs 45 runs to reach 500 runs in First-class matches against Yorkshire
HM Amla needs 56 runs to reach 17500 runs in First-class matches
GS Ballance needs 68 runs to reach 1000 runs in First-class matches against Hampshire
TT Bresnan needs 80 runs to reach 6500 runs in First-class matches
JHK Adams needs 101 runs to reach 1500 runs in First-class matches against Yorkshire
SM Ervine needs 110 runs to reach 11500 runs in First-class matches
IG Holland needs 121 runs to reach 500 runs in First-class matches
GK Berg needs 129 runs to reach 500 runs in First-class matches against Yorkshire
SM Ervine needs 150 runs to reach 500 runs in First-class matches at Leeds
Potential bowling milestones in Yorkshire v Hampshire on 18th Sep 2018
JA Brooks needs 4 wickets to reach 150 wickets in First-class matches at Leeds
BO Coad needs 5 wickets to reach 100 wickets in First-class matches
BO Coad needs 6 wickets to reach 50 wickets in First-class matches at Leeds
FH Edwards needs 6 wickets to reach 400 wickets in First-class matches
Specsavers County Championship statistics
Yorkshire’s Specsavers County Championship statistics
- Specsavers County Championship: Division 1 (2017 performance – 5th)
- Royal London One-Day Cup: South Group (2017 performance – 6th in group)
- Vitality Blast: South Group (2017 performance – 3rd in group, semi-finals)
Captain: James Vince (all formats)
Director of Cricket: Giles White First Team Coach: Craig White
Overseas Players: Hashim Amla (first three months), Dale Steyn (brief stints in June and possibly August/September)
Other Ins and Outs: IN: Sam Northeast (Kent), OUT: Michael Carberry (Leics), Will Smith (Durham), George Bailey
Hampshire’s Specsavers County Championship statistics
Prospects for 2018
Hampshire will be quietly confident they can end their run of three relegation battles since getting promoted to Division One, having solved their bowling issues last season and put together, on paper, one of the most formidable batting line-ups over the winter.
If it all comes together then a title challenge isn’t impossible. Last year began with a bang with victory over Yorkshire but eventually fizzled out with too many draws stunting an exciting side, with a defeat to Essex having enforced the follow-on a particular low point. There are plenty of players with something to prove to somebody; most notably Vince, Crane, Northeast and Liam Dawson to the England selectors, while stalwarts Jimmy Adams and Sean Ervine may need to fight off the next era. McManus, Alsop, Weatherley, Organ and Taylor are certainly worth keeping an eye on as the future of the county.
South African Kyle Abbott was heavily leaned on with his 60 wickets last year – a similar haul this year would be useful. One-day-wise, Hampshire are still a force to be reckoned with, although an improvement in the Royal London One-Day Cup following 2017’s stuttering campaign will be targeted. Having a fully fit and firing Reece Topley, who will only play white-ball cricket this season, could be a key asset. The Vitality Blast is an unknown quantity, with the county yet to announce their overseas talents, but you can bet Hampshire will be in the mix once again.
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