Maiden stays positive as Yorkshire CCC seek maiden Championship win of season

DERBYSHIRE have saved face but will Yorkshire lose theirs?

That is the question going into the final day of the County Championship match at Queen’s Park, Chesterfield.

Whatever happens from hereon in, Derbyshire’s recovery from 17-4 in their second innings - a deficit at that stage of 225 - to somehow have a chance of winning is what might be termed ‘a moral victory’.

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For Yorkshire, any victory would be a good one regardless of its fashioning; they have not won in the tournament for 14 months, a sequence that spans 17 fixtures.

Ali Maiden, the Yorkshire assistant coach. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.comAli Maiden, the Yorkshire assistant coach. Picture by Allan McKenzie/
Ali Maiden, the Yorkshire assistant coach. Picture by Allan McKenzie/

But the short trip home would feel like a journey from the ends of the earth if they do not go on to win a match which, at one point, they were odds-on to sign, seal and deliver inside two days.

“I think all County Championship cricket is tough, and it's always hard work and a long slog, but what we didn't expect in this game, I suppose, was for the pitch to play as well as it did,” reflected Ali Maiden, the Yorkshire assistant coach.

“But it makes for a good game of cricket going into the last day.”

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With Yorkshire 147-6 chasing 212, and with five of those wickets have fallen to spin, the other to a run-out, Derbyshire’s decision to pick two spinners - Mark Watt and Alex Thomson - could yet pay dividends.

Yorkshire went into the game with one specialist spinner in Dom Bess, having left-out Jafer Chohan, who was in the 14-man squad, with Bess struggling before taking three wickets yesterday to finish with 3-190 from 38 overs as Derbyshire recovered from the 17-4 pickle to a final score of 453.

"We knew it would be easier to play seam and the challenge was spin,” continued Maiden as he contemplated the ongoing pursuit.

“We got a good start, and with Shan (Masood) a good player of spin, with him there you are always well in the game.”

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Masood finished the day unbeaten on 68 against his former club, having scored 67 in the first innings.

Much will rest on the skipper’s sturdy shoulders (he has looked a cut above in this innings), and also those of England’s Dawid Malan, who did not field due to a groin problem but will come in next, having scored a century in the first innings.

“He couldn't come in before No 7, or after two hours of batting, so then it was a tricky situation,” said Maiden after play.

“We didn't want him to go in potentially tonight, so he’ll go in tomorrow. He seems ok and is happy to go and bat.”

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Zak Chappell, pressed into action as a concussion substitute for Derbyshire after Suranga Lakmal was struck by a Matty Fisher bouncer, believes the hosts can prey on Yorkshire’s long winless run.

"Yorkshire haven't got over the line as much as they'd like to in the last couple of years, and maybe that's starting to show a little bit,” he said.

“It's very much a spinner’s wicket at the moment, the ball is turning, so hopefully Mark and Tommo can continue the good work.”

Of his sudden entry into the fray, the 26-year-old seamer quipped: "It's a funny old game at times.

“I was enjoying a nice Mr Whippy on the boundary and then, eight minutes later, I was opening the bowling.”