Yorkshire are prepared to gamble

STAND-IN captain Phil Jaques has promised a bold and adventurous approach as Yorkshire go into today’s top-of-the-table clash looking to overcome not only the weather but also leaders Derbyshire.

The White Rose county make their first trip to Chesterfield for a LV=County Championship fixture in 17 years sitting second in Division Two.

Yorkshire had hoped to be making the short journey down the M1 breathing down the necks of their hosts but instead they trail the leaders by 25 points due to their last two outings having been seriously affected by the rain that has fallen for much of the summer.

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In fact, just 140 overs were possible in the drawn fixtures at Glamorgan and Hampshire that sandwiched a month spent playing one-day cricket – which is why Derbyshire boast such an imperious lead going into today’s eagerly awaited match, which is the highlight of this week’s Chesterfield Festival of Cricket.

If Yorkshire are to rein in Derbyshire over the course of the final seven games, the next four days at the picturesque Queen’s Park ground could prove key.

A major concern, however, is the forecast with thunderstorms predicted today and then further rain again tomorrow before the weather is tipped to improve ahead of the weekend.

With that in mind, Jaques, who again leads the side in place of Andrew Gale (hip), is determined that Yorkshire will try to seize the initiative.

“The summer has been frustrating for everyone,” the Australian told the Yorkshire Post before heading south last night. “We have only been able to play bit part games because of the weather. To only play two days out of four – or less sometimes – is no good for anyone.

“I don’t think it can have rained as hard as this and I can’t say I have ever spent more time looking at the weather forecast. I have every app. on my phone that shows you the weather, to try and get the right answer.

“In that respect, it has been depressing but, hopefully, the sun can shine this week and we can get some good cricket in and start to push on towards promotion – that is the ultimate goal.”

Derbyshire have been the outstanding side in Division Two this year with four victories being double the number recorded by any other county.

Yorkshire, for instance, have won two and drawn seven of their nine fixtures in 2012.

The first of those came in early May when Gale’s side made light work of Leicestershire at Scarborough to triumph by an innings and 22 runs after dismissing the visitors for just 116 in the first innings and inviting them to follow on.

A week later, a second triumph was claimed against Gloucestershire but this was a much more contrived affair as Gale and opposite number Alex Gidman colluded to set a victory target of 400 from a minimum 110 overs. It was a challenge the White Rose county rose to in magnificent fashion as Jaques hit 160 and Gary Ballance an unbeaten 121 to seal an unlikely four-wicket win with 14 balls to spare.

Jaques said: “Galey down at Gloucester was an adventurous one and it paid off. We got the money and that shows we can chase anything down and win from anywhere.

“We have a very talented bunch of guys and are a good cricket team.

“We have proved that by playing really well this season.

“In terms of the weather, we have probably suffered more than anyone. I don’t just mean in terms of days lost but the games that we were poised to win when the rain came along and cost us.

“We have been let down by losing a couple of days’ cricket but we still have some crucial games coming up, including two against Derbyshire. They are ahead of us so they are important.

“It is important we start to bring them back towards us. They have got a lot of points and got away from everyone so it is up to us all to chase them hard.

“We can’t control the weather so we will play the way we play. If we have to make some declarations up or some run chases then that is my job to work that out while Galey is away.

“You will probably see some interesting declarations and things like that to try and make some games up. Everyone wants to get some cricket in.

“No one wants to play for draws and, hopefully, we can get some results.”

Gale has not featured for Yorkshire since June 18 when he was part of the team that beat Derbyshire in Twenty20 action at the County Ground.

He will not be involved over the next four days but first team coach Jason Gillespie has revealed his captain may return to action at Chesterfield in Sunday’s CB40 League contest.

Gillespie said: “Galey is coming along really well. He is such an important member of our side and squad. He is a leader and someone we don’t want to risk coming back and being re-injured. We don’t want him out for any longer.

“An ideal scenario will be him playing in the one-dayer against Derbyshire. But we are reluctant to name him in the squad until he has had a couple of good sessions this week and the medical staff feel confident they can hand him over to us.”

Yorkshire look to control their own destiny: Page 23.