Freefalling Yorkshire sink further into relegation mire as Surrey clinch title
A fifth defeat in seven County Championship games - their worst sequence of results in memory - sends them into next week’s final match against Gloucestershire at Headingley facing the outside threat of relegation.
For those left sickened by the club’s decision to sack its entire coaching and medical staff last winter, which would have to include its own players and many of its supporters, few will shed tears - outside the Broad Acres at least - should that situation arise.
Yorkshire will surely get out of trouble (they are 15 points above second-bottom Warwickshire, whose three-wicket defeat to bottom club Gloucestershire did them a huge favour), but what a predicament for them to be in considering their resources and spending on such as overseas signings.
A succession of failed recruits, no Championship victory since April, and no sign either of any cricket knowledge or accountability on the board speaks for itself. The members and supporters deserve so much more.
Not that there was any disgrace in losing to Surrey, whose champagne celebrations in golden sunshine marked a 21st Championship title and a second in five seasons.
They are the antithesis of what Yorkshire have become under the chairmanship of Lord Kamlesh Patel - well-run, respected, decent and transparent.
A ten-wicket defeat flattered Yorkshire, who were second-best throughout and ‘gone’ by the finish.
It took Surrey just six overs to chase a target of 55 - a useful powerplay in the T20 Blast - with Rory Burns, their captain, pulling the winning boundary off his opposite number Jonny Tattersall, the wicketkeeper who once more had to bring himself on to bowl to drag back the over-rate.
Tattersall’s first delivery was a no-ball on height which Ryan Patel flicked past stand-in wicketkeeper Tom Kohler-Cadmore for four - six runs in total. It summed up Yorkshire’s day, their match, and quite possibly their season.
That day started with Kohler-Cadmore falling to the final ball of the first over after Yorkshire resumed on 89-2 in their second innings, trailing by 65.
It was a googly from Cameron Steel to which Kohler-Cadmore played back and was bowled; Burns had only tossed Steel the ball to enable Dan Worrall to change ends.
From the second delivery of the second over, Adam Lyth was dropped at third slip by Patel low down off Kemar Roach, the batsman having added one to his overnight 36.
In the third over, Will Fraine edged Worrall just in front of Ollie Pope at second slip as it felt as if a wicket could fall any ball.
Lyth then survived a very adjacent lbw shout from Roach which left the bowler and his colleagues looking as though they needed a roach to calm themselves down.
The irony was that these were perhaps the best batting conditions of the match, even if the threat posed by Surrey was relentless.
Two wickets in three balls effectively did for Yorkshire and ensured that it would be done inside three days.
Jordan Clark bowled Fraine, and then Patel this time did catch Lyth at third slip off Roach, an easier chance, after the opener was squared up by a fine ball which sent him on his way for the top score of 46.
Patel dropped a second chance at third slip, this time off Clark, when Tattersall had three to his name, which would have left Yorkshire 124-6. The score had risen to 150 when the captain was sent packing for 21, strangled down the leg-side after trying to flick at a ball from Jamie Overton.
A lunchtime total of 171-6, a lead of 17, soon turned into 182-7 when Jordan Thompson’s poor run with the bat continued when he was leg-before to Worrall. It was Thompson’s tenth successive single-figure score in the Championship, a return in stark contrast to his status as the club’s leading wicket-taker with 42, the all-rounder having stepped up manfully to take the new ball.
Dom Bess played well for 43 from 71, including four fours, but was also strangled down the leg-side off Roach as Yorkshire slid to 204-8. Worrall ended things by bowling Ben Mike and Steve Patterson, returning Surrey’s best figures of 4-61 as Yorkshire were dismissed for 208.
Any inquest must fairly record that whereas Joe Root was unavailable to Yorkshire, Ollie Pope and Ben Foakes, his England team-mates, were available for Surrey. No one bats an eyelid these days at such things unless they are directly affected, the Championship a lottery in more ways than one.
Pope’s first innings hundred was the standout innings of the match, and a significant contributory factor to Yorkshire’s defeat.
Yorkshire were also missing Harry Brook, Jonny Bairstow, Gary Ballance and Dawid Malan for various reasons - big shoes to fill.
At the same time, it may not have escaped attention that Yorkshire’s highest innings of the match was Kohler-Cadmore’s first innings 55 and that their best bowling figures were Steve Patterson’s first innings 4-69.
Kohler-Cadmore is joining Somerset on a three-year deal, unwilling to buy into the spoof of the new and improved Yorkshire, and the club is releasing Patterson, its second-highest wicket-taker behind Thompson.
As one was saying… disarray.