Of course revenge would be sweet for Yorkshire against their arch-rivals. But a Roses win at Emerald Headingley is crucial for more than just that.
Yorkshire lost their first Roses LV= Insurance County Championship match in 10 years when they were beaten by an innings and 59 at Old Trafford in late May, only just failing to recover from slumping to 40-7 in the first innings.
They fought hard to take the game into its final half hour on an attritional pitch, but ultimately Lancashire claimed 22 points and Yorkshire one.
And that is the reason why a White Rose win is of high importance in the latest chapter of the great rivalry, starting on Sunday (11am).
With this the final game of the initial group stage in the Championship, both sides have already secured top two finishes in Group Three and qualification for the top group in the latter stages of the competition in late August and through September.
Six teams will fight it out for the Championship title and the Bob Willis Trophy, but only four games are played.
You don’t play the team you have advanced with, instead half the aggregate of points accrued in initial group stage fixtures against them are carried forwards.
Despite them topping the table by two points from Lancashire, that leaves Yorkshire at a disadvantage unless they can gain revenge.
And it is something they are confident of doing having beaten Sussex home and Northamptonshire away since that solitary aforementioned defeat.
“I thought all in all it was a pretty solid performance.
“It will be a tough game,” said coach Andrew Gale, whose players will come up against England Test legend Jimmy Anderson fresh from reaching 1,000 first-class career wickets earlier this week.
“Any Roses game is a tough game.
“It showed that with how the cricket was at Old Trafford. We were gutted not to come away with a draw.
“The preparation isn’t ideal with us playing two nights before in the Blast, but they’re in the same boat.
“The good thing is we’ve got a pretty much different bowling attack to T20. The seamers didn’t bowl a great deal at Northampton, so we’ll have a fresh bowling attack.
“And we know how to play at home. We’re pretty good on our own patch in all formats.
“Hopefully we hit the ground running and are not 25-7 on the first morning!
“You get to this stage of the season and every game is a big game.
“What we’ve got going for us at the minute is that confidence is very high and momentum is in our favour. We’ve just got to keep playing with the same confidence every single game.
“I talk to the lads about making sure we turn up with the right attitude and don’t take anything for granted.”
“We’re playing some good cricket, and we just have to continue that and keep our heads down.
“If we play to the best of our ability, we’ll get to where we want to be.”
While Yorkshire have won both of their games since losing at Old Trafford, Lancashire have lost at Glamorgan added to a rain-affected draw which they dominated at home to Kent earlier this week.
Anderson claimed career best figures of 7-19 on the second day when play finally got underway, including his 1,000th first-class scalp.
“Some bowler isn’t he!” was Gale’s response when asked about Anderson’s achievement.
But he has urged his young batsmen, the likes of George Hill and in-form Harry Brook, to embrace the challenge.
“George has probably watched him on the telly growing up, and now he’s opening the batting against him in a Roses game,” said Gale.
“My message will be, ‘Take it on. Don’t play the name, play the ball’.”
Sam Northeast debuted in the most recent win at Northampton with scores of three and one.
Facing Lancashire will be the last of his initial two-game Championship spell with Yorkshire, but he is available long-term having left Hampshire permanently.
Is that something Gale and Yorkshire would be open to?
The coach added: “He’s a short-term signing at the minute.
“I’d spoken to a few people and knew he’d had some problems at Hampshire and it wasn’t working out for him.
“With everything that’s happened, I felt we needed another senior player – someone like a Dawid Malan.
“We want to back our own players, but I think we are with some of the lads we’ve got in there.
“Mala could easily get picked in the Test squad against India. They’re crying out for someone like him.
“We’ll see where we’re at come the end of the week.”
Jonny Bairstow, Adil Rashid, Joe Root and David Willey are all in isolation following seven Covid-19 cases in the England camp earlier this week. Dawid Malan is unavailable having been called up to England’s replacement squad for the Pakistan series.
Tom Kohler-Cadmore (broken finger) and Will Fraine (oblique strain) remain on the sidelines.
12-man squad to face Lancashire
Harry Duke (Wicketkeeper)
Steve Patterson (Captain)
The opposition – Lancashire
Coach: Glen Chapple
Captain: Dane Vilas
Last year’s performance: Third (North Group)
2020 leading run-scorer: Alex Davies (337, ave 48.14)
2020 leading wicket-taker: Tom Bailey (13, ave 21.69)
Overseas players: Dane Vilas (South Africa – full season), Jackson Bird (Australia – six Championship matches from April 22)
Key man: Saqib Mahmood – Fast bowler with devastating pace and skill, injury has stunted his development. But a full summer of cricket could see him guide Lancashire to silverware and maybe even secure Ashes and T20 World Cup selection.
Flies under the radar: Rob Jones – Home-grown former England Under 19s batsman who has two hundreds in 30 first-class matches. A crucial part of the Red Rose’s middle order, Jones is infectiously enthusiastic.
Best player under 24: Josh Bohannon – Batting all-rounder, 23, elevated to number three in four-day cricket in late 2019, scoring one career hundred. A touch of class mixed with fierce determination.
The season ahead: Pre-Coronavirus, Lancashire were confident of mounting a Championship title challenge in 2020 having only just been promoted. Injury and unavailability wrecked those chances, however, when things finally did get underway and they never threatened the Bob Willis Trophy title.
But, with cricketing life seemingly more settled now, that confidence has returned. They will start the summer as favourites to qualify out of Group 3 alongside Roses rivals Yorkshire. If the Red Rose batting can click, including new signing Luke Wells from Sussex, they should live up to that tag given the obvious seam bowling strength led by Saqib Mahmood, Jackson Bird, Tom Bailey and Jimmy Anderson at stages as he builds up to England’s opening Test against New Zealand in early June.
• Lancashire have not beaten Yorkshire in a first-class match in Yorkshire since 2011 – the season in which they last won the County Championsip.
• In 2014 Yorkshire scored 616 for six declared against Lancashire but the Red Rose’s highest total against Yorkshire in first-class cricket is 537 in 2005. Both innings were at Old Trafford.
• The highest individual innings for each of the two counties in the County Championship both occurred in the 21st century and both were at Headingley – 252 by Darren Lehmann for Yorkshire in 2001 and 206 by Stuart Law for Lancashire in 2007.
• In 1913 at Liverpool Harry Dean had match-figures of 17 for 91 for Lancashire. No Yorkshire bowler has ever taken more than 14 wickets in a match against the Red Rose, the best being 14 for 80 by Ted Peate at Old Trafford in 1880.
• There have been five hat-tricks in first-class matches between the two counties – four by Yorkshire bowlers and one for Lancashire.
HOW TO FOLLOW
You can keep up to date with proceedings via the live stream that will be available on yorkshireccc.com. There will also be a match blog on the website, and the clips available via the match centre. Highlights will also be available shortly following each days play.