Unicorns v Yorkshire Vikings: The Vikings finally plunder rare win to kickstart one-day season

Unsuccessful LBW appeal on Unicorns Lancefield by Yorkshire's Steven Patterson.Unsuccessful LBW appeal on Unicorns Lancefield by Yorkshire's Steven Patterson.
Unsuccessful LBW appeal on Unicorns Lancefield by Yorkshire's Steven Patterson.
“THE Vikings Are Coming” proclaimed the poster advertising this match.

It is not a war-cry that has spread panic this season.

In their opening two games in the YB40, the Vikings had been more pliable than petrifying.

Defeat by 28 runs away to Glamorgan was followed by a 131-run hammering at home to Somerset, and that after the self-proclaimed pillagers and plunderers had conceded 338-5 against the West Country side – the second-highest total in one-day cricket at Headingley.

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Things had to pick up against the Unicorns – effectively a conglomerate of wannabes and has-beens – and they did.

In the arboreal setting of Chesterfield’s Queen’s Park, where spectators watch shaded by banks of mature trees, Yorkshire got their one-day campaign off the ground with a five-wicket win.

The Unicorns are the San Marino of YB40, a recreational XI whose primary function is to make up the numbers and who mostly provide cheap runs and wickets for superior opponents, but they played more like a Switzerland or a Sweden yesterday as they ran Yorkshire much closer than had been anticipated.

After scoring 189-9 from their 40 overs, Unicorns reduced Yorkshire to 88-4 in the 22nd over before an unbeaten 58 from Adam Lyth saw the favourites home with seven balls to spare.

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Victory was more welcome than convincing and suggested Yorkshire are perhaps a little short of confidence – as well as points – in the 40-over format.

Doubtless the unglamorous nature of the fixture accounted for the slightly disappointing turnout.

On a generally sunny if sometimes overcast and always breezy day, there were only 200 or so spectators present, with this match officially a home tie for Unicorns, who take their home fixtures all around the land.

“Frederick’s” ice cream van, situated to the left of the red-bricked pavilion, did not sell as many cones and cornets as it would have done had Derbyshire been the hosts, while the miniature train that travels a circular route around the nearby boating lake was clearly visible through the rows of empty seats.

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Clearly the chaps selling miniature prints of the Queen’s Park venue near the ice cream van had banked on a few more turning up.

No other explanation seemed viable for their insistence on badgering punters – including this correspondent – to go for the “two-for-one” deal that also featured a bottle of Unicorns v Vikings YB40 wine.


As a spectacle, the game was happily more entertaining than a football match involving San Marino.

The Unicorns were kept under wraps for much of their innings but they struck 81 from the last 10 overs – including 60 from the final five – to post a competitive score.

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Having been criticised by some for their team selections in this tournament, which have belied the fact that the County Championship is – quite rightly – their No 1 priority, Yorkshire seemed disinclined to take any chances and fielded a strong side which included pace bowlers Ryan Sidebottom, Steve Patterson and Liam Plunkett, and which would have featured Moin Ashraf but for a migraine.

It was Patterson who got Yorkshire off to a good start against a side who had lost two of their three games against Somerset and Gloucestershire, and seen the other rained off against Glamorgan.

Tom New was bowled by the second ball of Patterson’s fourth over from the Lake End and fellow opener Tom Lancefield caught behind for 15 off the final delivery.

Thus was to set a curious pattern for an innings in which two batsmen perished inside the same over on three separate occasions.

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After former Derbyshire batsman Garry Park and Michael O’Shea had added 42 for the third wicket in 11 overs, both fell in Rich Pyrah’s opening over from the Pavilion End.

Park was bowled by one that hit the off-stump and O’Shea victim of a brilliant catch by Gary Ballance at point, who dived full-length to his left to send the batsman on his way for 26.

Adil Rashid then took two wickets in successive deliveries in his final over, having Scott Elstone caught reverse-sweeping by Andrew Gale and clipping Vishal Tripathi’s off bail.

When Parsons was run-out by Gale from mid-wicket, Unicorns were 118-7 in the 34th over and it seemed 150 would be the limit of their ambitions.

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Some lusty hitting from the No 9, Aneurin Norman, and a handy contribution from the No 8, Glenn Querl, punished some ordinary bowling at the death as the Unicorns perhaps scored 30 more runs than they should have done.

Pyrah was the most successful bowler with 3-34, while Norman’s unbeaten 38 was the highest score of an innings in which seven batsmen reached double figures.

Yorkshire lost two wickets inside the first six overs of their reply when Warren Lee, a beanpole right-arm pace bowler born in New Delhi, induced Pyrah to chop on and trapped Gale lbw.

Phil Jaques stroked 25 before being caught at mid-wicket, while Ballance made 44 before being bowled by left-arm spinner Luke Beaven.

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Lyth added 55 in 12 overs with the impressive Rashid to keep Yorkshire in touch and, after Rashid fell at cover, Lyth accelerated expertly, striking three meaty sixes as Yorkshire averted a potential banana skin.

Dent hits highest score of YB40 season

Chris Dent hit the highest score of the Yorkshire Bank 40 season to power Gloucestershire to a seven-run win over Group C rivals Glamorgan.

Dent, whose previous top score in List A cricket was 36, finished 151 not out after hitting 17 boundaries and three sixes in a 113-ball knock.

His innings helped the visitors to 288-5 at the SWALEC Stadium before the bowlers kept Glamorgan to 281-6.

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Table-toppers Somerset put their poor first-class form behind them by making it three wins from three in the shorter form with a six-wicket defeat of Middlesex.

Group B leaders Hampshire recorded a third win from four matches as Michael Carberry’s 96 saw them to a five-wicket success over Durham at the Rose Bowl.

Lancashire beat Surrey by seven runs at Old Trafford in a low-scoring game.