Scarborough return fails to lift Yorkshire in Royal London Cup opener

OH SCARBOROUGH, how we’ve missed you.

STRONG DISPLAY: Matthew Revis top scored with 43 in Yorkshire's five-wicket defeat to Surrey in the Royal London Cup at Scarborough. Picture: Will Palmer/SWpix.com

Your red-brick pavilion, from which all the greats of the game have emerged.

Your timeless Tea Room, behind which the houses of the Trafalgar Road rise up, with always a line or two of washing on display.

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Your giant marquee next to the West Stand, in front of which deckchairs are spread and conversation shared.

SEASIDE RETURN: Spectators enjoy Yorkshire's opening Royal London Cup match againt Surrey at North Marine Road. Picture: Will Palmer/SWpix.com.

Your atmosphere, your charm, your colour and your seagulls. Okay, perhaps not your seagulls…

But, boy, it was good to be back – almost two years since Yorkshire last played a competitive match here.

A summer without Scarborough is like a winter without Christmas. The pandemic has ripped through all corners of life.

Good to be back, but not for very long as this fixture turned out.

By dint of a batting display that was as gloomy as the setting was glorious, with the day warm and sunny with just a light breeze, the game was over in quickfire style as Yorkshire lost their opening Royal London Cup tie by five wickets.

Sent into bat on a typical Scarborough surface, which offered plenty of pace, carry and bounce, Yorkshire were shot out for 165 in 34.1 overs, with 15.5 overs of their innings unused.

As wickets fell to a combination of loose shots and a failure to deal with that pace and bounce, it was almost as if they could not work out whether they were playing 50-over, T20 or The Hundred, facing only 205 out of a possible 300 balls.

Only Matthew Revis, who top-scored with 43 and Gary Ballance, who hit 39, the pair accumulating almost half of the total during a fifth-wicket stand of 81, got to grips with the pitch and conditions before a crowd of 2,727.

Revis, the tall 19-year-old right-hander, was one of 12 players making his List A debut for either Yorkshire or Surrey in this game – five on the home team, seven on the visiting one.

He was also one of eight players – four on each side – making his List A debut full stop, highlighting how The Hundred has decimated county squads.

On the flip side, it means that players such as Revis are getting an opportunity and he does look a prospect, his Yorkshire first-team career hitherto restricted to two T20s last year and a solitary first-class outing against Kent at Headingley in 2019, when the visitors inflicted on Yorkshire the heaviest defeat by a runs margin (433) in their history.

The only way is up after an experience like that, especially for a then 17-year-old, and Revis was fluent on both sides of the wicket after walking out with Yorkshire in strife at 40-4 in the 10th over and the crowd, as they are wont to here when home wickets fall, becalmed to the extent that you could clearly hear the seagull cries.

Revis cut well against Dan Moriarty, the left-arm spinner, and also played him handsomely through the mid-wicket area in addition to pulling the pace of Conor McKerr towards a yellow creperie on the popular bank.

He deserved a half-century but drove at a wide one from McKerr and was smartly caught at point by Ryan Patel, the same bowler-fielder combination having accounted for Ballance when he seemed surprised by a ball of extra bounce and fended to gully.

Much of the threat – and bounce – was from the Trafalgar Road end, from where 23-year-old seamer Gus Atkinson, another debutant, achieved his team’s best figures of 4-43, including the important wickets of Will Fraine, George Hill and Jonny Tattersall.

In reply, the experienced pair of Mark Stoneman and Hashim Amla, the former having just played for Yorkshire on loan in T20, the latter captaining Surrey, resisted the modern urge to go at the target like a bull in a china shop.

Instead, the approach was more subtle during a platform-building opening stand of 59, ended in the 13th over when Amla top-edged a pull off fellow South African Mat Pillans to mid-on, moments after reaching 10,000 career one-day runs.

Two balls later, Pillans – who joined Yorkshire from Surrey in 2018 – bowled the driving Ben Geddes for a second-ball duck, generating plenty of pace from that Trafalgar Road end.

Pillans later had Jamie Smith top-edging to mid-wicket and Patel fending to gully, where Tattersall pulled off a champagne catch, diving one-handed to his right at full stretch. Pillans finished with 4-57 and Dom Bess bowled Nico Reifer in the closing stages, but Stoneman (73 from 110 balls) eased Surrey home with 10.5 overs to spare.