We're not safe yet - Yorkshire boss Ottis Gibson in rallying call to troops
The county's head coach says that he does not want his players to take safety for granted.
Yorkshire eased their relegation concerns with a Roses draw at Old Trafford last week.
Going into today's game against Essex at Headingley, they are 25 points above the drop zone with three matches left.
“Absolutely no complacency,” said Gibson, whose side are sixth in the 10-team top-flight, from which the bottom two clubs - currently Gloucestershire and last season’s champions Warwickshire - are relegated.
“We can’t afford to think that way because I want the lads to continue to try and win games rather than thinking, ‘Oh, we’re safe now.’
“I don’t want us to get to that place mentally where we think that we’re safe and we actually end up playing worse. There is still a lot of work to do.”
Yorkshire should have enough to survive despite the fact they have won only one Championship game all season - their first one under Gibson at Gloucestershire in April.
Every county in Division One has won more matches than Yorkshire apart from that bottom two of winless Gloucestershire and Warwickshire, who have not won since their second fixture against Essex at Edgbaston.
Yorkshire have been reasonably solid in four-day cricket without ever suggesting that they are capable of challenging for silverware.
Gibson believes that there is plenty to build on but wants them to shake off the tag of draw specialists; no team in Division One has drawn more matches than Yorkshire (seven out of 11).
“We’ve drawn too many games for my liking and we need to find ways to win games of cricket,” he added. “We’ve only won Championship game all year and that feels like a long time ago.
“When we played down in Gloucestershire and won, the feeling was great, but we’ve not had anything near that feeling since.
“I want us to find a way to be sat in the dressing room celebrating a win.”
Yorkshire have made little headway this year in terms of results - the exception being their progression to T20 Finals Day.
It was only the third time that Yorkshire have reached that stage in the 20-over tournament.
“We want to win and that’s been the thing that’s been missing all year in the Championship,” said Gibson.
“We’ve played some good cricket, especially in the early part of the year when we could have had a few more wins and there wouldn’t have been any relegation talk at all, but we kept drawing and we need to start to figure out what we need to do to play winning cricket.
“We’ve got three very important games coming up (after this week, Yorkshire face leaders Surrey at the Oval and Gloucestershire at Headingley).
“I don’t think we’re far off, but at the same time the results will say that we’re not close either; we’re drifting somewhere in the middle, and I don’t want us to be drifting.”
Apart from the obvious (scoring more runs than the opposition and bowling them out twice), Gibson believes that there are things that Yorkshire can improve.
He pinpointed body language as one such factor that was not to his liking at Old Trafford.
“I said to the lads (after the Lancashire game) that I thought our attitude on the first day, body language-wise, wasn’t outstanding,” he said. “I didn’t think it was great, the way we cruised around.
“Dom Bess bowled 26 overs of spin on day one, and at the end of day one we were still one over down on our over-rate.
“That doesn’t speak of guys getting around (the field) buzzing; that speaks of a bit of poor body language, just cruising from point to point, not hustling between overs and putting the captain under pressure to the extent that he had to come on and bowl himself to try and make up the overs.”
Yorkshire faced a battle for survival on the last day in Manchester - and passed that test well.
There was a solid second innings knock from debutant Fin Bean, who fought hard to score 25 in two hours after striking 42 in the first innings, and an unbeaten 34 from the Somerset-bound Tom Kohler-Cadmore.
“Another team could have capitulated and ended up getting beaten, but Tom and Fin played well,” said Gibson. “I liked the way that we didn’t capitulate; we didn’t throw the game away.
“We’ll take the draw, but the feeling is that we didn’t do enough in the game overall. Now we face another good team in Essex and we’ll look to move forward.”
Gibson was pleased with Bean’s contribution.
“He played really well on his debut,” he said. “Even though he didn’t get a hundred or a fifty, he faced a lot of balls, batted a lot of time, spent a lot of time in the middle, and I think that will do him the world of good.
“It was a big match - to make your debut in a Roses match is a big thing - and they had a decent attack.
“The way he approached his innings… he’s a very calm guy anyway, and he took his time and played to his strengths nicely.
“He batted time, and he batted well. I can see him making runs going forward for the rest of the season.”