In all fairness to the England and Wales Cricket Board, their policy of pushing a good deal of the competition into the season’s margins, April and September, to make room for yet more white-ball cricket, could scarcely have envisaged that snow would fall at Headingley on Saturday.
Yet for a good 90 minutes, starting with the lightest of flurries just before lunch to steady snowfall through the interval and beyond, the ground cut a bleak and wintry picture, with no further play possible on the third day between Yorkshire and Glamorgan
“They’ve had an inch of snow in Scarborough,” informed one Yorkshire official, and it was not so much super-soppers that the groundstaff needed at Headingley as multiple shovels and a thousand helping hands.
The snow arrived at a good time for Yorkshire, who had endured a wicketless opening session as Glamorgan advanced from an overnight 68-4 to 161-4, a lead of 298.
Billy Root, brother of England Test captain Joe, moved from 25 to 77, reaching his half-century from 126 balls with five fours, and captain Chris Cooke from 17 to 57, reaching his 50 from 130 deliveries with six fours.
Without the injured Ben Coad and Matthew Fisher, Yorkshire’s attack faced an uphill struggle and Glamorgan’s fifth-wicket pair were largely untroubled.
The hosts had to turn to Harry Brook’s medium pace, the batsman wheeling his way through five overs at a cost of 15, as the visitors progressed sensibly and with appropriate patience.
“When you lose two seamers it’s always going to be tough,” said first team coach Andrew Gale. “Had we had Ben Coad running down the hill early in the morning, a couple of quick wickets and you never know.”
Coad had left Glamorgan 29-4 on the second evening with a three-wicket burst to add to the four that he took in the first innings. The pectoral problem diagnosed thereafter, along with the abdominal injury that Fisher suffered, ripped the heart from Yorkshire’s attack.
Thank goodness, then, for the unexpected snow – although not if you were in the visiting camp.
“That’s a first for me,” reflected David Harrison, the Glamorgan assistant coach. “We played at Derby five years ago when we had a hailstorm, but I’ve not seen a full-on snowstorm cause the end of a day’s play before.”