Little to celebrate on Yorkshire Day for Gale’s White Rose team

AUGUST 1 may be recognised as Yorkshire Day but the White Rose was far from in bloom yesterday.

Against a Northamptonshire side languishing in mid-table, Andrew Gale’s side had been hoping to lay down a marker in the promotion race after being left frustrated by the weather in each of their last four LV County Championship fixtures.

But on a day when those from within the Broad Acres celebrated the county’s rich heritage, the Tykes had it far from their own way on an overcast day in Northampton.

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An impressive century partnership between Andrew Gale and Phil Jaques apart, wickets tumbled at regular intervals to leave Yorkshire all out for 249 and an agonising one run short of a second bonus point.

What perhaps made the county’s Yorkshire Day struggles all the more frustrating was that most of the damage was self-inflicted.

Only Adam Lyth’s early dismissal was a result of a delivery that was anywhere near unplayable, while Jaques was also unfortunate in that his three hours and nine minute stay at the crease only came to an end courtesy of a direct hit run out when answering a call from his captain.

The loss of the Australian for 75 proved to be the turning point of the day for Yorkshire, whose final eight wickets yielded just 101 runs.

Jaques, therefore, deserves huge credit for giving the White Rose a toehold in a game they need to win to try and rein in runaway leaders Derbyshire.

Much of his 142-ball innings wasn’t pretty against a neat and tidy attack.

But there can be little doubt as to how much his team-mates are in the Australian’s debt with three days to play following a knock in which he refused to be fazed or intimidated, even during spells when Northamptonshire were clearly on top.

Never was this more apparent than just before lunch when Yorkshire went 49 deliveries without scoring a run during a passage of play that saw the home side bowl maidens in seven out of eight consecutive overs.

Such was the manner in which the visitors became bogged down, in fact, that Jaques went 34 deliveries without moving off 24 during a difficult 11-over spell.

It was a testament to the one-time Northamptonshire batsman’s tremendous patience and professionalism that he didn’t become frustrated and instead merely waited for the chance to resume his scoring form, which he did by despatching a loose delivery from David Willey to the rope at mid-wicket in the 32nd over.

Six more boundaries then followed from the left-hander’s bat in the next eight overs as Yorkshire finally started to score more freely.

A delightful cut through cover brought up Jaques’s half century from 101 deliveries and with Gale also starting to get in on the act, Yorkshire seemed set to build a commanding total.

The pair’s century partnership duly followed courtesy of another lusty blow from Jaques before a wonderful piece of fielding from Lee Daggett brought an end to the Australian’s innings.

Gale, after driving James Middlesbrook to mid-on, called for a quick single but Daggett’s direct hit at the wicket-keeper’s end was too sharp for Jaques who was half a yard short.

For Middlebrook, the breakthrough was particularly satisfying as Jaques had, on 59, been dropped off his bowling when Olly Stone spilt a difficult chance after racing back from mid-on to try and pocket a towering shot.

As so happens in cricket, the end of a significant partnership was then followed by another wicket going down almost immediately as Daggett took a return catch off his own bowling to dismiss Gale just five deliveries later.

The departure of the Yorkshire captain was then followed by a collapse that saw wickets thrown away via a mixture of rash shots and poor decision making.

Jonny Bairstow was the first to fall, trapped in front of his stumps when trying to play Daggett through the leg side before Rich Pyrah, Gary Ballance and Azeem Rafiq all skied simple chances that were gratefully accepted by the home side.

Adil Rashid also holed out to Alex Wakely off Middlebrook to continue a tone that had been set by opener Joe Root in the 12th over.

In unwisely chasing a wide delivery from Olly Stone, Root provided David Murphy with a simple chance behind the stumps to become the second Yorkshire batsman to lose his wicket inside the opening 48 minutes of the day.

Lyth had been the other to perish, though the left-hander could, unlike the vast majority of his team-mates later in the day, consider himself unfortunate to come up against a wickedly rising delivery from Willey.

In attempting to avert the danger, Lyth tried to get above the ball but could only loop a simple catch into the hands of Middlebrook at gulley.

It was an unfortunate end for a batsman who just a few days earlier had hit an unbeaten 248 at Leicestershire as Yorkshire Day, 2012, began and, ultimately, ended in disappointment for the county’s cricket team.