Andrew Gale expressed his disappointment for fast bowler Dom Leech after the sickening left leg injury he suffered during a shortened third day of the Roses clash at Emerald Headingley.
The fast bowler, 20, was injured as he raced around the boundary from wide long-on to deep mid-wicket to save a ball hit by Lancashire’s Luke Wells, who moved to 97 and the visitors 411-2 in their first innings.
Leech saved the four, only to lose his footing beyond the boundary and fall into the concrete foundations of the Western Terrace.
The incident took place at 2.15pm, and the Middlesbrough-born quick was clearly in agony as he thumped the ground with his fist.
He was treated for approximately 15 minutes by medics from both counties, led by Kunwar Bansil, before being stretchered off with his leg in a brace and taken to hospital.
Tea was immediately called, limiting the afternoon to only 7.2 overs.
Umpires Ian Gould and Nigel Llong then made two inspections of the bowlers’ run-ups at the Emerald Stand End, where Jordan Thompson earlier slipped whilst bowling, and play was abandoned at 4.25pm with only 23.2 overs bowled in total.
Play had only started at 12pm due to a wet outfield following a full washout on day two due to rain.
Yorkshire coach Gale said: “Our physio (Kunwar Bansil) has taken Dom to hospital in his car. The ambulance said they would take two hours. That’s all we know really.
“Whether it’s the slip that’s caused it and it’s something functional with the knee or whether hitting on the concrete is what’s caused it. I don’t know.
“In many ways, I hope it’s a break rather than a tear in the ligament or something.
“You have to feel for the lad. It’s the first game he’s played in the first team this season.
“He’s a tough cookie is Dom, and he was in a lot of pain. It was sad to see. Hopefully he’ll be ok.”
This was a day of contrasting emotions for Leech, who had been awarded his second-team cap before play alongside Harry Duke and George Hill.
His father and girlfriend were present at the ground.
Lancashire advanced from 273-2 from 96 overs overnight to 342-2 in 110 overs, claiming three batting points to Yorkshire’s none for bowling.
Wells was 97 and Josh Bohannon 74, the pair sharing 155 unbroken for the third wicket.
But play was of little importance given what happened to Leech, a highly rated fledgling bowler.
While the abandonment of play came following the injury, the decision was taken because of the condition of the bowlers’ run-ups at the Emerald Stand End of the ground.
It is an area which has been problematic in the past, most notably at the start of 2018 when the opening LV= Insurance County Championship game against Essex was abandoned without a ball bowled following the Beast from the East winter weather.
The club will be relaying the outfield this winter, a project delayed by Covid and will be at a cost in the region of £100,000.
On the decision to abandon the game, Gale said: “You have two of the most experienced umpires in the country. So whatever decision they make is what’s right by the game.
“They felt that as the day went on and there was more traffic on that side of the pitch (Emerald Stand End) and the run-ups, it was bringing water up.
“With with their experience, they probably didn’t want a situation where someone like a Jimmy Anderson runs in and rolls his ankle. They didn’t think it was fit for play.
“Fair play to Lancashire because they’re bossing the game and they seemed ok about it.
“I didn’t see the ground this morning because I was in the indoor nets. But I trust Ian and Nigel to make the right decision.
“They wanted to get play on, and whatever decision they made, I would have backed it.
“I do feel sorry for the members. They’ve been starved of cricket for so long, the sun’s out, it’s a Roses game and they haven’t seen any action.
“It just feels like one of those weeks. England getting Covid, Kent, Derby, even our second team missed out on a game due to Covid last week, and now this.
“Hopefully we can get on tomorrow.”