Will Fraine might have made a half-century or more on his Yorkshire first-class debut, but he did not, falling for 39 after sharing in an opening stand of 77 with Adam Lyth.
That it was Yorkshire’s first fifty stand for the first-wicket in first-class cricket for 28 innings, dating back to the corresponding game against Essex at Chelmsford 13 months ago, told its own story.
Only two of the first-wicket partnerships in the intervening period exceeded 40, with 11 of them in single figures.
Still Fraine played well after replacing Harry Brook, who was dropped by Yorkshire after scoring 122 runs in eight first-class innings this season at an average of 15.25, with a highest score of 30.
Confident in his movements, and playing the ball from under his nose, Fraine, 22, who joined the club on a three-year deal from Nottinghamshire in October, looked the part before Sam Cook slipped one through his gate.
In sunny conditions, and on a good batting pitch, albeit with enough to reward good bowling too, it might have been a day for the remarkable Gary Ballance to achieve what would have been – and may yet still turn out to be later in the contest – the remarkable feat of scoring a hundred in six successive Championship games, but he did not.
On 14 he was run out on the stroke of lunch when Lyth clipped Jamie Porter off his pads and then turned as if to come back for a second run before changing his mind.
Straining desperately to recover his ground, Ballance was beaten by a throw from Sam Cook to wicketkeeper Will Buttleman, a 19-year-old first-class debutant, who speedily whipped off the bails. All run-outs are needless, and this was no exception.
It might have been a day for Lyth to atone for that error by scoring his first century of the season, but he did not.
Having played superbly for 95, with the usual cinema reel of exquisite cover drives that would have left David Gower jealous, he was caught behind defending at a delivery from Porter.
Still only Ballance (four) and Joe Root (one) have made hundreds for Yorkshire in the Championship this year, with this the club’s fifth game.
There has not been enough ruthlessness when players have got in; it is one of the qualities that characterises the Roots and Ballances of this world.
Tom Kohler-Cadmore was another case in point.
Having played innings of 22, 41, 28, 28, 45 and 69 in those opening four games, Kohler-Cadmore looked odds-on to deliver on the old cliche that a big score is just around the corner, but he did not.
After playing some handsome strokes on his way to 83, including a straight six off spinner Simon Harmer, Kohler-Cadmore was caught behind driving at Cook outside his off stump and thumped his bat in anger as he departed the crease.
Jack Leaning, a man in need of a big score or two, fell for three when he edged Peter Siddle to Harmer at second slip. David Willey also fell for three, lbw to Harmer as Yorkshire slipped from 224-2 to 252-6 – and that after Lyth and Kohler-Cadmore had batted throughout the afternoon with some aplomb, a performance appreciated by a crowd of 1,881.
It might have been a day for Essex to capitalise on that four-wicket burst just after tea, but they did not.
Harmer toiled away purposefully with the old ball from the Kirkstall Lane end, with Essex delaying taking the second new ball until 57 deliveries after it became available, but further breakthroughs proved elusive.
For that credit was due to Yorkshire’s seventh-wicket pair of Jonny Tattersall and Dom Bess, who settled nerves with some steady batting and an eager eye for any scoring opportunity.
Tattersall, the diminutive wicketkeeper, is as aesthetically pleasing as any batsman in the Yorkshire team.
There is nothing rushed or frenetic about his strokeplay; if he was ever late for a bus or a train he would probably still find a way of catching it without breaking into a sweat.
Tattersall hit two fours off Siddle, steering the Australian through third man and then punching him stylishly off the back foot, finishing the day unbeaten on 20.
The definition of a “touch player”, Tattersall would not look out of place even higher on the card.
Bess, the off-spinner on loan from Somerset, is more than useful with the bat, and there were six boundaries in his undefeated 30 compiled from 42 balls.
A final total of 350, say, for which Yorkshire are on course at 289-6, would have the air of a competitive effort.
A day of what might have been, certainly, but one that left both teams well in the hunt.