Yorkshire’s title hopes fade away with Scarborough defeat

Yorkshire's Matthew Waite takes evasive action from the bowling of Surrey's Jamie Overton. Picture: Will Palmer/SWpix.comYorkshire's Matthew Waite takes evasive action from the bowling of Surrey's Jamie Overton. Picture: Will Palmer/SWpix.com
Yorkshire's Matthew Waite takes evasive action from the bowling of Surrey's Jamie Overton. Picture: Will Palmer/SWpix.com
WAS this the day when Yorkshire’s hopes of winning the County Championship ended?


It was certainly the day when they lost a first-class match for the first time after scoring more than 500 runs in their first innings.

On a tense final day at North Marine Road, Yorkshire slipped to a four-wicket defeat, beaten despite having scored 521 after choosing to bat first.

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Surrey, who responded with 516, dismissed Yorkshire for 220 second time round and then chased a target of 227 from a minimum of 44 overs, winning with just three balls remaining at 6.35pm in a nail-biting climax.

Defeat was Yorkshire’s second in successive Championship games, to go with five draws and one win, and left them fifth in Division One with six matches left.

After all the promise engendered by victory in their opening game against Gloucestershire in Bristol, they have now gone seven fixtures without success.

Progress remains hard to come by in four-day cricket although injuries, undoubtedly, have not helped their cause, while the absence of Harry Brook, who has been away with England, is not the sort of hole they can easily fill.

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Ottis Gibson, the Yorkshire head coach, whose side had Surrey 147-6 inside 28 overs before Ben Foakes (42) and Aaron Hardie (40) steered them home with an 81-run stand, was philosphical in defeat.

“You never really find much to be pleased about in defeat, but I’m proud of the lads’ efforts,” said Gibson, whose team were later docked two points for a slow over-rate. “We had some inexperienced players out there and I’m proud of the way that they fought.

“At the same time, it’s another game lost, but every game we’ve played this year in four-day cricket has gone to the last hour, so that says something. It says that we’re not folding, we’re not conceding an inch and we’re fighting all the way.

“Over time, we will find a way to win. That’s been the one frustration this year, that we’ve had ourselves in winning positions but we’ve not been able to get across the line.”

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In cloudy conditions on the North Yorkshire coast, with early-morning rain having spiced up the surrounds, Yorkshire were 65-2 at the start of the day. Both wickets had fallen in the penultimate over of the third evening, pace bowler Jamie Overton having Adam Lyth caught behind and nightwatchman Dom Bess leg-before, to create a window of opportunity for the visiting team.

That window widened when Overton struck again with the final ball of the morning’s fifth over, George Hill trapped by a full delivery that struck him a painful blow on the foot.

After a short delay for bad light and rain, which cost five overs, Yorkshire slipped to 80-4 when Will Fraine fell to the first ball after the restart, leg-before to Dan Worrall as he aimed towards leg.

James Wharton and Will Luxton, two young batsmen of high promise, showed why with several stylish boundaries. Wharton glanced Worrall off his pads and clipped his next delivery through mid-wicket, and Luxton on-drove Overton to the Trafalgar Square end before cutting him in front of square to the white marquee.

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Both batsmen fell in successive overs, Wharton pinned by a full and straight delivery from Tom Lawes and Luxton trapped by Hardie as he propped forward.

It left Yorkshire 123-6 shortly before lunch, effectively 129-6 with 73 overs remaining, and meant that the home side were up against it.

But Matthew Waite and Jonny Tattersall combined in a resolute stand of 52 in 19.3 overs, a partnership ended when Tattersall was the victim of a dubious leg-before decision off the spinner Will Jacks.

At that stage, Yorkshire were 181 ahead with 53.4 overs left, and Overton rounded things off with the final three wickets. Jordan Thompson edged a drive to second slip, Steve Patterson got a rising delivery that squared him up and flew to a solitary slip, and, following a last-wicket partnership of 32 between Waite and Shannon Gabriel, the latter was caught behind as Overton finished with 6-61.

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Waite walked off unbeaten on 59 from 77 balls with 10 fours, his maiden half-century in first-class cricket, reached from perhaps his most memorable shot – a fierce hook off Worrall to the foot of the West Stand.

Surrey had 32 on the board when they lost their first wicket on the stroke of tea, Rory Burns stumped as he walked down the track to Bess. The score had doubled when Ryan Patel played the ugliest of strokes, skying an attempted pull off Patterson which Bess held at cover.

When Hashim Amla uppercut Thompson to Wharton, Surrey were 90-3, which became 121-4 when Overton – promoted to No 4 – was trapped by a Thompson slower ball after clubbing Bess for a couple of sixes.

Gabriel trapped Jacks with one that appeared to strike him outside the line (140-5), but there was no doubt about the one that knocked out Jamie Smith’s off pole (147-6).

Yorkshire bowled dry and fielded tenaciously, but Surrey paced their chase well. Hardie pulled Patterson for the winning boundary towards the old Tea Room to loud delight among the visiting players.

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