MARTYN MOXON believes Yorkshire’s back-from-the-dead victory over Lancashire proves how much the players are behind first-team coach Andrew Gale as they go in search of the win that would guarantee their County Championship Division One survival.
The county’s director of cricket said that it spoke volumes for the way that they are playing for Gale, who has come under-fire from some supporters during a second successive relegation fight.
Yorkshire took a giant step towards avoiding the drop with a 95-run triumph over Lancashire at Emerald Headingley last week that had seemed beyond them after a disastrous first day which saw the Red Rose finish on 105-0 in their first innings after dismissing Yorkshire for 209.
But a characterful comeback turned the match on its head and left Gale’s men going into their final home game of the season against Hampshire on Tuesday needing a maximum of 18 points from their last two matches to guarantee their top-flight status.
Yorkshire would achieve that amount by winning this week’s game (worth 16 points) and by collecting two of the eight bonus points on offer, with five available for first innings totals between 200-400 in increments of 50 runs and three for first innings bowling after three, six and nine wickets taken.
Yorkshire’s points requirement would also come down with every point that bottom club Worcestershire fail to take against Essex at Chelmsford, while 10 points from this week’s match would guarantee that Yorkshire could not be overtaken by second-bottom Lancashire, who are without a fixture this week.
Yorkshire, in fact, are now twice as close to third place (a 15-point deficit) as they are to last-placed Worcestershire (a 30-point cushion), whom they meet in their final match of the season next week at New Road.
It highlights the huge significance of the Roses win and, says Moxon, how much the players are battling for Gale.
“For me, that win showed how much the players are behind Galey in particular and playing for him, which I think is the most important thing,” said Moxon.
“There’s been a lot of criticism flying around this year, but the people who know Galey and know what he’s doing, know that he is doing everything that he can to bring success to the club.
For me, that win showed how much the players are behind Galey in particular and playing for him, which I think is the most important thing.Martyn Moxon
“There is no doubt in my mind that he has all the qualities and that he will go on to become an outstanding coach as he gains more and more experience in the role.
“You certainly don’t get a result from the position we were in at the end of the first day against Lancashire unless the dressing room is united and everyone is pulling together.”
Rather than looking nervously over their shoulders, Yorkshire are looking optimistically upwards as they face a Hampshire team who eased their own relegation fears with successive victories over Worcestershire and Somerset to climb to fourth.
Indeed, it is not inconceivable that Yorkshire could yet finish third behind Surrey and Somerset, which would highlight how little difference there is between the majority of sides in a division in which 25 per cent of the clubs are relegated.
“We can’t be complacent in any way and there’s still plenty of work to do to stay up, but potentially we could still finish third so that’s our target,” added Moxon.
“The first priority is obviously staying in the division; then, once we’ve done that hopefully, it’s to finish as high as we possibly can.
“We want to win our last two games and we can take a lot of confidence from the victory against Lancashire.
“In such a big match, and after such a difficult first day, to perform how we did was really pleasing, both for now and also looking ahead to the future, and it showed the spirit and desire among the players.”