Rain raises the prospect of the rarity of a Scarborough draw between Yorkshire CCC and Durham CCC

SCARBOROUGH’s reputation as one of the world’s best outgrounds is well-established.

Less well-known, perhaps, is its propensity to produce positive results.

The last 16 County Championship games here have all been won or lost, with Yorkshire prevailing eight times and also succumbing eight times.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

For the last draw at North Marine Road you have to go all the way back to 2013, when a career-best unbeaten 272 from Andrew Gale was the highlight of a high-scoring contest against Nottinghamshire.

Yorkshire captain Jonny Tattersall. Picture by Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.comYorkshire captain Jonny Tattersall. Picture by Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com
Yorkshire captain Jonny Tattersall. Picture by Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com

Sweet 16 may or may not turn into sweet 17 at Scarborough on Friday, but a little imagination will certainly be needed with 183 overs having been lost to the weather on the first three days.

No play was possible on day three due, initially, to a wet outfield and intermittent light drizzle, followed by persistent heavy drizzle – the sort that soaks you from head to toe – from lunchtime onwards, leading to an eventual call-off at 2.15pm.

And so Durham remained stranded on 106-1 in their first innings, responding to Yorkshire’s total of 340, with Alex Lees on 65 and Scott Borthwick 29.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Lees, the former Yorkshire batsman, is chasing a fifth hundred in six Championship innings and Durham a sixth win that would more or less confirm their return to Division One; whether they will opt to bat on, or whether any more play will be possible given the sheer volume of rain that has fallen, remains to be seen.

The scene from the press box shortly after play was called off at North Marine Road on Thursday afternoon.The scene from the press box shortly after play was called off at North Marine Road on Thursday afternoon.
The scene from the press box shortly after play was called off at North Marine Road on Thursday afternoon.

Jonny Tattersall, the Yorkshire captain, said that he would be open to the possibility of setting something up amid similar noises from the Durham fraternity, although he is mindful of the fact that the pitch has not had much use and could yet favour Durham in a second innings run-chase.

“We’ll have to think about it and see what’s possible,” said Tattersall.

“There could be something, but there might be a bit of rain around again on Friday as well; we don’t know.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“If they’re up for sacrificing their batting points, which is what they’ll probably have to do if they want to set up a game, then we’ll see what we want to do and how we want to go about it.

“It might suit them a little bit more with chasing on here; the pitch isn’t very old, so it’s arguably in its best stage for batting right now, but I’m sure we’ll be open to all possibilities.”

Frustrating though the rain was for loyal spectators, with the crowd never rising above straggly levels due to the unlikelihood of cricket, it at least allowed time for Phil Mustard, the former Durham and England wicketkeeper/batsman, to arrive at the ground after answering an SOS to stand in as an umpire.

Mustard, known as ‘Colonel’, was sent for after Steve O’Shaughnessy was taken ill and returned to his hotel; the hope was that O’Shaughnessy might just have what is commonly known as a 24-hour bug.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mustard’s presence on the pavilion balcony, watching the rain sile down, evoked memories of his involvement as part of the last Durham side to win here in 2013, when a seven-wicket triumph was the catalyst for the visitors to pull clear from Yorkshire in the final month of the season to snatch the title.

Scott Borthwick, the Durham captain, and Yorkshire batsman Adam Lyth are the only survivors from that epic contest, one in which Ben Stokes scored 127 in the Durham first innings, took key wickets and sent down 47 overs; what England would give for Stokes, the bowler, of 10 years since.

Tattersall is certainly grateful for Lyth, who scored 111 in the first innings of this match, with Jordan Thompson contributing a sparkling 54.

The captain has been pleased overall with Yorkshire’s efforts in recent weeks, with only the weather denying them valuable victories in their attempt to climb the Second Division.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We were moderately pleased with how we went about it in the first innings,” said Tattersall.

“‘Lythy’ played brilliantly, but we probably left a few runs out there as well. Having said that, we weren’t necessarily too disappointed with 340 on the board.

“‘Tommo’ played brilliantly as well at the end there, and there was another good opening partnership from ‘Beany’ (Fin Bean) and ‘Lythy’.”

Commenting on Yorkshire’s efforts in general this season, Tattersall added: “I think we’ve played some great cricket this year, especially over those recent weeks.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“But the weather hasn’t helped us out and we’ve lost a lot of time in games.

“But you can’t do anything about those things; all we can do is continue trying to play good cricket and hopefully we’ll get our rewards from that at some point this season.

“There’s definitely that confidence there but a lot of frustration with the weather. The pleasing thing is that we’ve backed up performances day-in, day-out lately when we’ve had the chance to do so.”