Yorkshire off the mark but point lost may prove costly

Yorkshire's T20 captain 'Alex Lees has finally seen his side gain a point - through a washout at Edbaston ('Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe).
Yorkshire's T20 captain 'Alex Lees has finally seen his side gain a point - through a washout at Edbaston ('Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe).
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At the fourth time of asking, Yorkshire finally gained their first T20 point of the season.

They did so because it rained so hard here at Edgbaston last night that each side took a point for a no-result.

Whether Yorkshire would have gained two points for a win had the match proceeded joined the list of life’s imponderables.

But for a team that had lost their opening three games, going down to Leicestershire, Worcestershire and Lancashire, Yorkshire could have been forgiven for feeling thankful for any small mercy.

Once again, a club that are without compare in four-day cricket are searching for a formula in the game’s shortest format.

It is far too early to say that Yorkshire will not find it this year and to write them off entirely; indeed, Lancashire lost six of their 14 T20 group games last year, somehow squeezed into the quarter-finals and ended up winning the competition.

But nights such as this are clearly more likely to hinder Yorkshire than to help them, with the club needing victories – and plenty of them – to give themselves a fighting chance of reaching the knockout stages, a target that they themselves consider to be the bare minimum.

This was the second time in the five scheduled T20 meetings between Yorkshire and Warwickshire at Edgbaston that no play was possible due to rain.

In 2014, the contest was also washed out, while the match in 2011 witnessed only 18 overs before the heavens opened to terminal effect.

Yorkshire, in fact, have never won a T20 match at the ground, losing by 14 runs in 2010 and by six wickets last year. On that basis, and given their poor start this time, they may not consider one point to have been the worst return on this occasion.

But it does mean that Yorkshire will most likely need to win seven of their remaining 10 group games to qualify for the quarter-finals, thereby emulating Lancashire’s return last summer when the Red Rose scraped into the last eight.

Yorkshire face a double-header at Headingley against Notts on Friday and against Derbyshire tomorrow week, from which a sizeable harvest of points would seem essential.

After that, they still have to play Lancashire, Birmingham, Durham and Northants at home, along with away games against Durham, Derbyshire, Notts and Northants.

It is an interminably long group phase and, some would say, an interminable competition full stop, but it does mean that Yorkshire have time and opportunity to turn things round.

Last night, unfortunately, showcased everything that is poor about the T20 Blast.

The weather was rotten – in the final analysis, our climate remains one of the biggest reasons why the English tournament lags behind its Australian and Indian counterparts – and the crowd was sparse.

Perhaps that was why the matchday announcer, a young and impossibly enthusiastic fellow, felt it was his duty to talk at the top of his voice on a regular basis in an effort to lift spirits and to whip up atmosphere.

As a consequence, we were treated to a flood of deafening, indistinct ramblings punctuated by inane cries of “You Bears”.

Alas, there is too much of this type of thing in professional sport, too many people given microphones and apparently the licence to send the rest of us reaching for the headache pills.

This particular announcer wittered almost constantly until declaring, at 8.55pm, that the match had been abandoned, whereupon one or two boos could be heard from those who had sat patiently waiting for play.

It has to rain pretty hard, in all fairness, for there to be no play in a T20 game, where rules regarding playing in poor weather are not as rigorous as they are in first-class cricket.

But once the rain began falling five minutes before the scheduled start at 7pm, after Yorkshire won the toss and chose to bowl, there was not enough of a break in the clouds to enable the groundstaff to get the conditions fit.

Weather permitting, Yorkshire return to action tomorrow when they face Derbyshire at Chesterfield in the Royal London Cup (11am start).

Yorkshire (from): Ballance, Bresnan, Carver, Coad, Hodd, Leaning, Lees (captain), Lyth, Patterson, Plunkett, Rashid, Rhodes, Willey, Williamson.