Yorkshire v Worcestershire: Youngsters face steep learning curve in Royal London Cup

ALL ROADS lead to the A64, or so it seems, as Yorkshire prepare to make their fifth successive home trip along that estimable carriageway for tomorrow’s Royal London Cup match against Worcestershire in Scarborough.

After successive County Championship games at Scarborough against Surrey and Hampshire, followed by successive 50-over contests at York against Northamptonshire and Lancashire, the Yorkshire cricket roadshow heads back along the A64 once more – other routes towards the coast are available – for match three out of eight in the Royal London group stage.

Once they have navigated their way past the usual assortment of farm traffic that has been known to adorn parts of the route, the sort that can drive a motorist to distraction and provoke utterances of an Anglo-Saxon variety, Yorkshire will be aiming to bounce back from a seven-wicket defeat to Lancashire on Thursday.

It was a setback – if not an unexpected one against a good side – from which they are confident of recovering at North Marine Road, a destination worth any amount of temporary aggravation behind farm traffic, an outground that it is the jewel not only in Yorkshire’s cricketing crown, but also in England’s.

Jonathan Tattersall (centre) has impressed since taking over the captaincy role from Steve Patterson. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

“It was disappointing because we’d played so well the other day (against Northants) and you want to follow that up,” said Ali Maiden, the Yorkshire assistant coach, who is leading the team in this competition while head coach Ottis Gibson is away at The Hundred with Northern Superchargers.

“Ultimately, we played some poor cricket shots in the middle of the innings and had batsmen playing across the line really to balls instead of hitting down the ground.

“Whether that’s decision-making, or execution, ultimately it’s not good enough from their point of view and we talked after the match about what we’d like to see going forwards, which is trying to build partnerships in that middle period of the innings when the situation arises.

“I think we lost three wickets in a couple of overs and that hurt us quite badly, so that’s what we’ll be looking to do better next time.”

Yorkshire coach Ali Maiden. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

Maiden essentially wants Yorkshire to ‘play smarter’, to be more alive to specific match situations.

It is a learning curve with a mostly young team, with no fewer than eight Yorkshire players away at The Hundred.

“The biggest learning is to make sure that we assess where we’re at in a game and what’s needed and what’s required at those points, because every game, every pitch, every day is different,” said Maiden.

“In other words, that the lads go in, look at the scoreboard, take in the state of the game and do their best to apply themselves in the conditions and the stage of where the game is at; that’s all we can ask of them.

Yorkshire came unstuck against Roses rivals Lancashire at York Sports Club in the Royal London One Cup on Thursday. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

“We’ve had one brilliant game so far and one poor game.

“I think that’s the nature of it with a young team – there’ll be inconsistency, there’ll be ups-and-downs, but that’s part of the beauty of developing players.”

Maiden pinpointed the ninth-wicket stand between Tom Loten and Ben Coad against Lancashire as an example of reading the match situation.

Although hardly humongous in size – they shared 35 in 10 overs – it helped Yorkshire to a final score beyond 200 which at least gave the likes of Coad something to work with, with the pace bowler excellent on his way to figures of 1-19 from 10 overs.

“We could very easily have been 160 all-out in 35 overs, or something like that,” added Maiden.

“So the way that ‘Lotes’ and ‘Coady’ put a partnership together showed huge character, and for a young team that’s a big positive.

“You show some bottle, show some character, and then you get to a point where you’ve got a score that … well, you never know in this game, so we talked about how well we’d done to get to that point at least.

“All I said to the lads was that if we put all our efforts in on the pitch, and we can walk off spent at the end of it all, having put everything into it, then that’s all we can ask of them.”

Maiden also praised Jonny Tattersall for slipping seamlessly into the captaincy role, with the wicketkeeper having taken over until the end of the season from Steve Patterson, who is leaving the club at the end of the campaign.

“Jonny’s done great, he’s done really well,” he said.

“He’s managed the bowlers really well, he’s set innovative fields, he’s held the lads’ attention brilliantly with some of the chats he’s had with them, and they’re all playing for him.

“He seems to have settled in really nicely and made a good start.”