Tough start for Yorkshire CCC at the home of the One-Day Cup champions

WHILE spectators waited for play to start at the Uptonsteel County Ground (that’s the artist formerly known as Grace Road), they had the opportunity to have their pictures taken with the One-Day Cup, which Leicestershire won against Hampshire on Saturday.

“Please do not touch the trophy” stressed an accompanying warning in the club shop, as though the silverware was an electricity pylon and to do so risked the danger of death.

It certainly wouldn’t do to electrocute the proverbial one man present at the average County Championship match – after all, who would walk the proverbial dog home? – but it was a nice touch by a club celebrating its first List A trophy for 38 years.

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Leicestershire do not have much to celebrate, after all, their pride also clear in the fact that they have wasted no time in changing their bio on ‘X’ (that’s the artist formerly known as Twitter), which now proclaims: “Official Twitter account of the 2023 Metro Bank One-Day Cup Champions.”

Fin Bean, seen here in action against Leicestershire at Headingley earlier in the season, top-scored for Yorkshire in the return match on Tuesday. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.comFin Bean, seen here in action against Leicestershire at Headingley earlier in the season, top-scored for Yorkshire in the return match on Tuesday. Picture by Allan McKenzie/
Fin Bean, seen here in action against Leicestershire at Headingley earlier in the season, top-scored for Yorkshire in the return match on Tuesday. Picture by Allan McKenzie/

Er, it’s ‘X’, Leicestershire, ‘X’ tha knows…

One doubts whether Mr Musk, the man responsible for the monstrous name change, will be on the phone anytime soon asking Leicestershire to correct their error, following a rain-affected opening to this match which saw Yorkshire reach 155-9 in the 38.5 overs possible on day one.

Musk probably wouldn’t like Leicestershire very much anyway, perennial low achievers as they are, but this year a good deal better than that in both red and white-ball cricket as evidenced by their performance here, workmanlike and sometimes inspired beneath leaden skies.

Indeed, in addition to their 50-over prowess, the hosts are doing pretty well in Division Two of the County Championship; they went into this game third in the table against a Yorkshire side who would have been just four points behind them in fifth but for the 48-point deduction imposed earlier in the summer by the Cricket Dunderhead Commission (CDC) – that’s the artist formerly known as the Cricket Discipline Commission.

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However, Leicestershire have probably left themselves a bit too much to do to overtake a Worcestershire team in the second and final promotion place, one that held a 21-point lead on them with two games left.

Yorkshire’s ambitions – not helped by the Dunderheads – are somewhat less lofty; stuck at the bottom of the league, like a piece of old chewing gum, a win here would lift them above second-bottom Gloucestershire ahead of next week’s final round of fixtures.

In some ways, a last-placed finish would round off perfectly a three-year period in which the club has effectively been destroyed on-and-off the field, the completion of the job, in other words.

Yorkshire round off next week at Headingley against promotion favourites Worcestershire – who could already be up by then – while Leicestershire head down to Hove to face Sussex, cricket’s latest naughty boys.

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It was at Headingley in early April, of course, that Leicestershire ignited their campaign. Contemplating a fourth innings chase of 389 in the opening round, they hitched up their trousers and announced, “We can do this, chaps”, before promptly going out and doing it, winning by three wickets with seven balls left.

Defeat hurt Yorkshire but they started this return game well, reaching 45-0 after being sent into bat on a green surface in high winds when play finally started at 2.20pm after rain.

Indeed, there is no greater measure of how well openers Adam Lyth and Fin Bean have played lately than the fact it was the first time in eight stands together that they did not pass 50, Lyth’s departure – flashing a drive to second slip – ending the sequence.

Bean, whose first scoring shot, a tuck to the fine-leg boundary, took him to 1,000 career Championship runs on his 15th appearance, looked in good fettle before his dismissal for 40 triggered a collapse.

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He appeared less than ecstatic with the caught-behind decision that sent him packing, Yorkshire slipping from an agreeable 79-1 in the 17th over to a disagreeable 112-6 soon after tea.

After Bean’s departure, James Wharton left a ball that unkindly crashed into his stumps and George Hill edged behind in the final over before the break. Shan Masood was lbw to his first ball after tea and Jonny Tattersall sixth out when he tried a back-cut that flew to first slip.

Matty Revis and Ben Mike, the latter replacing spinner Dom Bess in the only change to the side that drew at Glamorgan, added 35 in six overs, Mike pulling a six against his former paymasters.

Both perished with the total on 147 – Revis edging a drive behind, Mike bowled by Will Davis (the most successful bowler with 4-28) – and Ben Coad skied to wide mid-on before bad light thieved away the last 15.1 overs.