FRIDAY POLL: Long wait for trophy can end soon, says Yorkshire’s Moxon

Yorkshire's Martyn Moxon.
Yorkshire's Martyn Moxon.
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YORKSHIRE are confident they can end an unwanted record of having gone the longest of the 18 first-class counties without winning a league or cup competition.

Since they last won a trophy in 2002, Yorkshire are the only county who have not gained silverware, a remarkable statistic given their resources, history and catchment area.

Sussex have won nine league titles and cups during that time, while five counties have won five trophies and another three have won four – including Yorkshire’s bitter rivals Lancashire.

However, Yorkshire have had the most England Test cricketers during that period – 13 compared with the eight of nearest rival Surrey, who have won five trophies and titles.

Despite their lean years, Yorkshire remain the most prolific county overall in terms of 30 outright Championships – 12 more than Surrey, again their nearest rival.

However, they have won only one Championship since 1968 – the year that effectively marked the end of their domination of English cricket stretching back to the 1890s and the days of Lord Hawke.

Apart from the odd minor pre-season trophy, such as the 2012 Barbados Twenty20 Cup, Yorkshire have won nothing since lifting the old C&G Trophy at Lord’s 12 years ago.

Martyn Moxon, the club’s director of cricket, insisted that everyone at Headingley is fiercely determined to blow the cobwebs off the trophy cabinet this year.

“Obviously, we all want to win trophies and it would be the icing on the cake if we could win something this summer,” he said.

“We’ve been very close in three of the last four years and we’ve just got to try and climb that final hurdle, which would then hopefully open the floodgates for continued success.

“We want to compete strongly on all three fronts this year and I firmly believe we are capable of doing that. We’ve got a strong squad of players and we have been knocking hard on the door in recent times.”

Apart from their annus horribilis of 2011, when Yorkshire were relegated in the Championship and made no impact in one-day cricket, they have had many bright moments as Moxon has said.

In 2010, they came within a batting collapse on the very last day of the season of winning the Championship and reached the semi-finals of the one-day competition.

In 2012, they gained Championship promotion and were losing finalists in the Twenty20 Cup, while they finished runners-up last summer in the Championship First Division.

Despite the lack of silverware, there is a definite sense of a club moving forward under Moxon and first-team coach Jason Gillespie.

“There’s a good feel about the place at the moment,” said Moxon.

“The players and coaches are fully committed and, with Mark Arthur having come on board as chief executive, there’s a real sense of a family-type environment.

“Mark has been out to a lot of the Yorkshire league clubs in the winter to try to get them to feel part of Yorkshire cricket once more.

“Hopefully, we can complement those efforts with success on the field.”

For Moxon, the challenge remains constant.

The former England batsman and his staff must work to develop players for the various national teams, while at the same time trying to achieve success for Yorkshire.

“It’s a moot point as to how you measure success,” reflected Moxon.

“The easy way is in terms of trophies, and that’s ultimately what everyone wants.

“But I would counter by asking how many England players we’ve produced in comparison to other counties.

“In addition to senior England players, we’ve got any number of England players at various age-group levels, and I think we can be proud of that.”

No one should doubt Yorkshire’s determination to land a trophy this year.

They have a top-class overseas batsman in the New Zealander Kane Williamson and another on the way in the form of Aaron Finch, the big-hitting Australian.

Although Finch has primarily been recruited for Twenty20, his capture is a clear statement of intent by the club.

“Aaron is one of the most explosive Twenty20 players in the world and that’s an area last year where we were found wanting a little bit,” said Moxon.

“We lacked explosiveness at the start of the innings and our boundary count was half of what it was in the previous Twenty20 campaign, when we had David Miller and Joe Root.

“There is potential for both Kane and Aaron to play together in Twenty20 but we’re still waiting for the dates of the New Zealand tour to the West Indies, which will take Kane away for a while, and we don’t know when Aaron will finish his stint in the Indian Premier League because it all depends on how his side fares.

“But the board and our chairman Colin Graves, in particular, have been very supportive in terms of recruitment and what we’re trying to do as far as the playing staff is concerned.”

That staff is Sri Lanka-bound on Wednesday when Yorkshire embark on a two-week pre-season tour.

It is there that preparations for the new campaign will truly begin – along with that all-important quest to win a trophy.