Moxon hoping for ray of sunshine to brighten promotion prospects

YORKSHIRE have chalked up an unwanted century by becoming the first club to have lost more than 100 hours in the County Championship this season due to bad weather.

The loss of the last three days against Derbyshire at Chesterfield saw Yorkshire break the three-figure barrier in the soggiest summer in recent memory.

Yorkshire have lost a staggering 104.50 hours in this year’s Championship and 1,718 of a possible 3,840 overs.

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That equates to a whopping 44.74 per cent of playing time during their opening 10 games in the 16-match tournament.

Yorkshire have had 11 completely washed-out days out of a possible 44, including a further three in their recent Championship fixture against Glamorgan at Colwyn Bay.

They have been unlucky that the poor weather has coincided with visits to such outgrounds, where the drainage is not as good as it would have been had they played at their opponent’s headquarters.

Second Division rivals Essex and Hampshire are the next worst-affected, with 95.75 and 91 hours lost, respectively.

The last particularly wet summer was in 2007, when three clubs – Worcestershire (124.25), Hampshire (105.75) and Leicestershire (104.25) – topped the three-figure mark, but that was over the entirety of the season.

Not that anyone at Yorkshire is making excuses.

Martyn Moxon, the club’s director of cricket, is refusing to hide behind the weather as the club look to bounce back into Division One at the first attempt.

“It would seem that we’ve suffered more than most, but it’s been a bad summer for everyone,” said the former Yorkshire and England opening batsman.

“The bad weather table is not really a great table to be top of but the various figures do highlight that this has been a particularly poor summer.

“I certainly can’t remember anything like it during my time in the game, either as a player or a coach.

“You’re always going to get bad periods of weather during the course of a campaign, but we’ve had about four months of this now, which is pretty ridiculous.”

Moxon is crossing his fingers that Yorkshire can actually get on the field during their remaining six Championship games.

Yorkshire conclude their campaign against Leicestershire at Grace Road (Friday-Monday), Northamptonshire at Northampton (August 1-4), Derbyshire at Headingley Carnegie (August 15-18), Gloucestershire at Scarborough (August 28-31), Glamorgan at Headingley (September 4-7) and Essex at Chelmsford (September 11-14).

“It would certainly help if we could get on the pitch and actually play some cricket,” quipped Moxon.

“We’re determined to try to win promotion this year and the bad weather is obviously the last thing we need.

“If we don’t play well enough to get promoted then that’s fair enough and it’s clearly our own fault.

“What we don’t want to happen is not to be able to get promoted because we can’t get on the field to give ourselves a chance.”

Although Yorkshire have perhaps not played to maximum capability in the tournament so far (more akin to three-quarters capacity), there is no doubt conditions have significantly hampered their ability to generate momentum.

The importance of momentum, or rhythm, especially for bowlers, can neither be overstated nor overlooked in a season in which the club are battling desperately to regain that Division One status.

Indeed, it reflects well on Yorkshire that they are still extremely well-placed to win promotion as the season approaches its business end.

Moxon’s men lie third in the table on 102 points, 25 points behind leaders Derbyshire and only three points behind second-placed Hampshire, who leapfrogged them on Saturday courtesy of a dramatic two-run victory against Essex at Chelmsford.

Yorkshire are one of only three unbeaten teams in the Championship, following two wins and eight draws.

Fourth-placed Kent are also undefeated, as are Division One high-fliers Nottinghamshire.

It is interesting to note, however, that Kent have lost fewest hours (54.24) of any team in the country, while Nottinghamshire (67.75) also come well down the list.

Derbyshire, who have surprised many by their rise to the summit of the Second Division, have also emerged relatively unscathed.

Despite the loss of the three days at Chesterfield last week, Derbyshire are the fourth least-hit county with 61.50 hours.

It may also be more than mere coincidence that Durham (90.25 hours) are not only the worst-affected county in Division One, but also bottom of the table.

According to the weathermen, conditions are set to improve in the next few weeks, although it is a moot point whether they could possibly get any worse.

Yorkshire are in the dark as to whether Mitchell Starc, their Australian overseas player, will be available for Friday’s Championship game at Leicester.

Starc is part of the Australia A tour, which begins on Friday against Derbyshire, although Yorkshire have been hopeful Cricket Australia would allow him to miss that match to stay with the county.