Ben Coad back to make instant impact for Yorkshire CCC
The gulf in class between the counties continues to be wider than the sky above, as suggested by events on the opening day of the final round of group fixtures in the Bob Willis Trophy.
Yorkshire, second in the North Group, and pushing for a place in the Lord’s final, dismissed fourth-placed Leicestershire, already eliminated, for 124 after winning the toss, the hosts reaching 36-2 at stumps on a day on which 28.5 overs were lost to rain.
Ben Coad, who returned Yorkshire’s best figures of 5-18 on his first appearance since he suffered a side injury in the opening Trophy match at Durham, was satisfied with a good day’s work.
“We’re in a really good position,” he said. “We just want to put a big score on the board and if we can get a hundred lead, say, we’ll be really in the game.
“It was nice to get out there again and to get a few wickets, and I always like bowling at Headingley.
“It was very frustrating to get injured, especially in a shortened season, but I felt good in the build-up to this game and I’m in a good place.”
The day began with a lovely touch. In front of the pavilion, socially distanced, players and backroom staff from both clubs lined up for a minute’s silence for David Capel, the former Northamptonshire and England all-rounder, who died last week aged 57.
Yorkshire, led by Adam Lyth in the absence of captain Steve Patterson, who was suffering from back spasms, took to the field in sunny conditions.
Patterson was one of three changes to the Yorkshire team from the last Trophy match, with Coad’s new-ball partner Matthew Fisher recovered from an abdominal problem and off-spinner Jack Shutt also recalled, George Hill and Jared Warner making way.
Yorkshire, who went into the game five points behind leaders Derbyshire, justified their decision to field with three wickets in the first 10 overs.
Fisher trapped Hassan Azad lbw for a 13-ball duck as he tried to work to leg, and after Sam Evans missed a straight one and was lbw to Coad, a third lbw arrived when Colin Ackermann played down the wrong line at Fisher.
Harry Dearden, a 23-year-old Lancastrian left-hander, played some nice offside shots before he was fourth out with the total on 36, driving a low return catch to Duanne Olivier, who scooped the ball up right-handed in his follow-through with terrific athleticism.
A lunchtime total of 52-4, with a sharp shower driving the sides from the field in the final over of the session, highlighted Yorkshire’s domination which continued into the sunny afternoon.
Coad had Rishi Patel caught at second slip and Arron Lilley lbw to leave the visitors 65-6.
Ben Mike pulled Fisher for a meaty six towards the East Stand only for the bowler to have his revenge next ball when the batsman snicked to second slip.
The wonderfully named Harry Swindells, the Leicestershire wicketkeeper, struck three successive offside boundaries off Olivier but it felt like futile defiance from the Leicestershire men – a bit like flicking a ‘V’ sign at someone who is pointing a shotgun.
Dieter Klein edged Olivier to third slip and Coad rounded things off with two wickets in successive balls, Swindells edging behind and Alex Evans low to second slip, Coad having the ball on the proverbial string.
The theme of tumbling wickets initially continued as Yorkshire slipped to 4-2.
Tom Kohler-Cadmore clipped Alex Evans to mid-wicket and Lyth, dropped in the first over by Ackermann low down at second slip off Klein, was caught behind in the bowler’s next over.
Will Fraine and Tom Loten steadied things, adding 32 before rain had the final say.
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