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Sayers and Ballance teach Durham students a lesson

— 29 April 2011

Gary Ballance and Joe Sayers continued their fine recent form with a second century opening stand of the match to take Yorkshire to victory over Durham MCCU by 10 wickets at the Racecourse Ground today.

Needing 129 to win after the students were bowled out for 287 in the second knock, Sayers and Ballance wasted no time in reaching the target in 24.5 overs.

Ballance follwed his 72 in the first innings with 11 boundaries in a 81 ball stay at the crease to further press his 1st Team claims. Sayers, also hoping to re-establish himself as a 1st Team opener mustered 4 fours in his 58 ball half century to follow his first innings 138.

But the Durham scholars did not make Yorkshire’s passage to victory as smooth as the visitors would have liked. Tom Westley, on Essex’s books and an England Under-19 player, notched 11 boundaries in his 137. He kept the Tykes at bay for just over 4-and-a-half hours as he provided the spine of Durham MCCU’s second innings of 287.

He had been 28 not out overnight, but refused to let Yorkshire rush home early to watch the Royal Wedding. Westley added 79 with Shan Masood (31) for the 4th wicket, continuing their stand from the previous evening, and then found further assistance from Wakefield-born Luke Patel (32) in adding 73 for the 7th wicket.

Westley was the last wicket to fall when Ajmal Shahzad had him caught at slip to bring the England paceman his fifth wicket (5-61). Gurman Randhawa ended with 2-54.

And, and you can’t keep him quiet this week, their were four catches for Barney Gibson – you may just have heard about him! It capped a week the youngster will never forget and has acquitted himself to without fuss, both on and off the field.

If he continues with the same attitude, level head and appetite for hard work there is every chance you will be seeing his picture in the newspapers again sometime soon. The biggest accolade I can give the 15-year-old keeper is that, after the initial fuss had died down, I forgot he was there – he fitted in a treat and did not look out of place. Back to school now though!

JAMES BUTTLER at the Racecourse Ground in Durham


The second day belonged to Joe Sayers. The left-hander, in determined mood to remind everyone that he should be opening the Yorkshire innings at Trent Bridge next week, hit 138 in Yorkshire’s total of 355.

Beginning the day on 39 not out Sayers continued where le left off on Thursday leaving no doubt that the illness that clouded last summer and the winter months is now firmly to be referred to in the past tense.

He saw Gary Ballance not add to his overnight 72, but added 54 for the 2nd wicket with Callum Geldart – another left-hander who is growing in stature as a player. The 19-year-old will have been disappointed to have been lbw to Tom Westley when at least a half century was on his radar.

172-2 at Geldart’s departure became 198-5 as Alex Lees and Alex Lilley both went for ducks and Ajmal Shahzad belted 3 fours before being bowled by Nathaniel Watkins for 13. Watkins was enjoying a purple patch and would finish with figures of 5-85 from his 29 overs of off-spin.

David Wainwright joined Sayers in adding 128 for the 6th wicket in 40 overs as the pair dug in to ensure a healthy first innings lead.

Wainwright past his fifty from 98 balls and just as it looked likely he was going to add a century to his Day 1 career best six wicket haul he flapped the ball straight to Smith at mid-wicket off Blackaby and was on his way for 62 – Yorkshire 326-6.

The lower order added little to the total and Barney Gibson faced a solitary ball in first-class cricket which he punched into the off-side to be 1 not out.

Yorkshire were all out for 355, a lead of 159, which Durham cut to 49 by the close with the loss of 3 wickets. Chris Jones, who had played so well first time ‘round, went first ball to Ajmal Shahzad as the ball freakishly jarred down off his bat, bounced over his head and hit his stumps. Shahzad also removed Smith, caught by Gibson, and Moin Ashraf trapped Luc Durandt leg before.

Joe Sayers and his side need quick wickets on Friday morning to avoid another one of those itchy run chases.

JAMES BUTTLER at the Racecourse Ground, Durham


In reply to Durham MCCU’s first innings 196, Yorkshire’s opening pair of Gary Ballance (72) and Joe Sayers (39) raced to 118-0 at the close on Day 1. Their century stand came up in the 22nd over and put recent Yorkshire top order woes out of everyone’s minds at a beautiful Racecourse Ground in Durham.

The pair will be eager to continue tomorrow morning and show their qualities after recent top order frailties have given them both hope for a recall for next week’s Championship return against Nottinghamshire.

Gary Ballance reached his fifty from 68 deliveries, which included 8 fours, and after a prolific winter in Zimbabwe, and good early season form, has to count himself unfortunate not to have featured in the Championship yet.

At tea Durham MCCU had slipped to 190-6 after spin had come to the fore in the afternoon session. They had looked healthy with 111-2 on the board at lunch. It was to get worse for the hosts as they lost their last 4 wickets for 6 runs and were 196 all out.

David Wainwright took a career-best 6-40 and Joe Sayers notched a career-best 3-15, but it will be Barney Gibson form whom the day is always remembered.

At just 15 years and 27 days old he has become the youngest player to represent Yorkshire in first-class cricket, more than a year younger than Paul Jarvis who played aged 16 years and 2 months in 1981. His catch to dimiss Luc Durandt off the bowling of Oliver Hannon-Dalby was top class (see pic in photo gallery). He’s also not averse to chirping away from behind the stumps despite being so much younger than anyone else on the field.

Martyn Moxon said: “We like to give our young players a chance, but they have to be good enough and Barney’s proved he’s good enough at this moment in time. His first catch today was outstanding and would have been a good catch for a keeper of any age. He’ll not have kept to that kind of pace very much, but he’s not fazed by the occasion or the publicity he’s now getting. For someone so young he’s very level-headed – he knows what he needs to do.”

Good news too that Ajmal Shahzad came through 14 overs with no problems and, although wicketless, seems to be getting back towards his best.

Chris Smith had earlier showed why Somerset signed him with a tidy 69 from 148 balls which included 9 fours. The 20-year-old right-hander hit straight and hard and looks one to watch in the south west.

A good day for Yorkshire all ‘round.

JAMES BUTTLER with words and pics from The Racecourse Ground, Durham


Yorkshire travel to the Racecourse Ground in Durham on Wednesday to take on the University students in a 3-day first-class fixture which arguably comes at the perfect time for Andrew Gale’s side.

Back-to-back defeats against Nottinghamshire and the Netherlands has taken the wind from a few sails. This week gives the opportunity for some to get in match practice while others take a breather and regroup.

Joe Sayers who has been in excellent form in the 2nd Team since being dropped after the Worcestershire Championship match leads a young side to Durham. Ajmal Shahzad plays as he continues his recovery from injury and Gary Ballance gets another chance to stake a claim for 1st XI selection.



There were some seriously disappointed faces at Headingley on Sunday evening after defeat to the Netherlands. The players took the defeat hard, no one more so than Andrew Gale and Martyn Moxon, judging by their faces. Sir Alex Ferguson – if you are missing a hairdryer it could well be in the Yorkshire dressing room!

There is some serious work to be done, but it’s time for a bit of perspective. In Andrew Gale Yorkshire have the best young skipper on the county circuit and someone who has the potential to be one of Yorkshire’s best ever captains. For two days Yorkshire outplayed the defending County Champions at Headingley. Gale’s side had won every session, batted better, bowled better and out-thought a side many believe will lift the title again in September.

The batsmen have been guilty of some headless cricket at times, but if Yorkshire had managed to complete the job last Friday they would now be sitting proudly on top of the Championship table. It’s time to take stock, for the top-order batting to learn some quick lessons, but for everyone to remember that the players we all thought young stars last Thursday are still the same players this week – they’ve just had a very bad Easter.

The measure of Andrew Gale’s team is not the last two results, but how they respond and fight back over the rest of the summer.





Highest Team Score West Indies 534/8dec against MCC in 2007
Lowest Team Score Durham UCCE 46 against Nottinghamshire in 2006
Best Batting Performance Runako Morton 201 Runs for West Indies against MCC in 2007
Best Bowling Performance Simon Brown 7-70 for Durham against Australia in 1992