YORKSHIRE’S hopes of winning the County Championship title may be over for another year but the club have set themselves the target of a top-three finish.
Director of cricket Martyn Moxon explained that that was the ambition going into the final six matches, starting with tomorrow’s game against Worcestershire at Scarborough.
Yorkshire, in fifth position, find themselves 66 points behind leaders Surrey, with only 144 points up for grabs between now and the end of September – the equivalent of six maximum-point wins.
But with Surrey showing no sign of slipping up, after six wins and two draws in their eight games to date, it is a forlorn hope that Yorkshire – and perhaps even that anybody – can catch them as they stride towards their first Championship title since 2002.
“We’ve set ourselves a target of top-three,” said Moxon, with Yorkshire 32 points behind second-placed Somerset and 23 behind third-placed Nottinghamshire, albeit with a game in hand on Nottinghamshire. “We feel that if we play to our capabilities we are capable of doing that.
“How we go about it, of course, is the most important thing, getting our processes right to achieve the things that we’ll need to do to achieve that goal.
“We start afresh, almost, with the last six games in relatively quick succession, so that’s our aim for the rest of the summer.”
Although Yorkshire are looking upwards rather than down, they are only 15 points outside the bottom two relegation places and disinclined towards complacency.
They were in the relegation zone prior to a fine win in their last Championship match against Lancashire at Old Trafford, and it is now Hampshire who are second-bottom: 13 points clear of this week’s opponents Worcestershire, who are cast adrift at the bottom after only one win and five defeats in their eight games.
“We’re looking up rather than down,” said Moxon. “We know what we can do when we’re at our best.
“But Worcestershire are not to be under-estimated; they’ve got some good players. At the same time, if we get those processes right of batting, bowling and fielding, then we know that the results will come.”
All-rounder David Willey will continue as captain in the absence of Steve Patterson, who faces a battle to return to action again this season after breaking a finger.
Leg-spinner Josh Poysden has been named in Yorkshire’s 13-man squad after signing from Warwickshire on a three-year deal, initially on loan for the rest of the season.