Yorkshire CCC players take cover as bees stop play at Wantage Road

LUNCH was approaching at Wantage Road on Saturday and so, from the direction of the practice nets at the ground, was a swarm of bees, forcing the Yorkshire fielders to lie down on the grass.

The incident evoked the famous match at Lord’s in 1945 between the Army and the RAF when, as the motor of a doodlebug cut out above, the sign that it was about to dispense its deadly cargo, the players did the same as spectators took cover, adopting what Sir Pelham Warner wrote in his history of Lord’s as “curious postures in the pavilion and round the ground”.

Just as the action quickly resumed on that occasion, with the bomb landing some 200 yards from the home of cricket, so no harm was done here, the interruption brief.

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Still, it was a hairy moment for the fielders, the batsmen, the umpires and the crowd, and there was a rush to close the doors to the press box, which were just as rapidly flung open again when the free lunch arrived.

Vishwa Fernando sends down his first delivery in a Yorkshire shirt at Wantage Road on Saturday. Picture: John Heald.Vishwa Fernando sends down his first delivery in a Yorkshire shirt at Wantage Road on Saturday. Picture: John Heald.
Vishwa Fernando sends down his first delivery in a Yorkshire shirt at Wantage Road on Saturday. Picture: John Heald.

Whether there was a sting in the tail in this match remained to be seen. At the halfway stage, no one could claim to be the bee’s knees, Yorkshire 0-1 in their second innings after Northants scored 301 in reply to 362, captain Luke Procter helping the hosts recover from 181-7 with an unbeaten 116.

Yorkshire had started day two on 312-7, with Matty Revis on 18 and Jordan Thompson 14. The eighth wicket stand was worth 31 and had climbed to 80 by the time Revis was trapped on the crease for 27 by Procter.

Thompson had seized the initiative early, helping Yorkshire to a third batting point by lofting Ben Sanderson for six over cover. A cover-driven four off Sanderson then carried him to his fifty, raised from 47 balls with nine boundaries. After Dom Leech was bowled by spinner Rob Keogh for a second-ball duck, Thompson was last out for 53, lbw to the tidy Sanderson.

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Needing 213 to avoid the follow-on, the hosts began well, racing to 56-0 inside 12 overs. Yorkshire and their overseas debutant Vishwa Fernando should have had a wicket with the second ball of the innings, but Ricardo Vasconcelos’s edge flew past a static George Hill at first slip.

Hill produced the breakthrough finally, having Emilio Gay caught low down at second slip with his third delivery, and Fernando captured his first wicket in Yorkshire colours - and 300th in first-class cricket - when Vasconcelos top-edged an attempted pull.

Revis struck twice in four balls as Karun Nair and George Bartlett were held in the slips, and Leech had Keogh caught near the backward-square boundary by sub fielder Dom Bess. Adam Lyth chipped in with the wicket of Lewis McManus, driving to mid-on, and Justin Broad edged Thompson to first (181-7).

Sanderson added 50 with Procter to avert the follow-on, Fernando trapping the former lbw before having Siddarth Kaul caught at third slip and Jack White at long leg.

White and Procter added 58 for the last wicket, the highest stand of the innings, before nightwatchman Leech edged to fourth slip in the day’s final over.

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