Yorkshire v Warwickshire: Confident Yorkshire target an unlikely double

ANDREW GALE is backing his Yorkshire players to provide a silver-plated finish to his first season as captain.

Gale believes Yorkshire can win the County Championship and Clydesdale Bank 40 to cap a remarkable start to his leadership career.

Yorkshire play Warwickshire in a CB 40 semi-final at Scarborough today hoping to reach next Saturday's showpiece final at Lord's.

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Victory in their last Championship game of the summer, against Kent at Headingley, starting on Monday, could also see them pip Nottinghamshire and Somerset to the four-day prize.

It promises to be a nail-biting end to a fascinating season, and one that has exceeded all expectations.

Gale has worked wonders with a young group of players as they pursue an improbable league and cup double.

Most bookmakers wrote Yorkshire off at the start of the year, predicting they would be relegated in the Championship and would struggle to make headway in one-day cricket.

But Gale believes nothing is his beyond his troops as they attempt to procure some well-deserved silverware.

"The double is still there for the taking and I firmly believe we've got the players who can do it," said Gale. "Obviously it's not going to be easy and we'll need everything to go our way, but I'd be a pretty poor captain if I said I didn't think we had the ability to achieve that target.

"The lads have been brilliant all summer and I wouldn't put it past them to win two trophies.

"We've proved we can beat anyone on our day and we've just got to try to finish the job off."

Although Yorkshire's Championship destiny is out of their hands (Gale's third-placed team are seven points behind Nottinghamshire and five behind Somerset), they are favourites to beat Warwickshire at North Marine Road.

Yorkshire have greater firepower on paper and would be disappointed not to reach their first Lord's final since 2002, where they would meet the winners of today's other semi-final between Somerset and Essex at Taunton.

But Gale insists Yorkshire will not underestimate Warwickshire, who finished top of Group C with nine wins from 12 games.

They also won both Twenty20 fixtures against Yorkshire earlier this summer.

"It's all on the day at this stage of the competition and any team you play against must have something about them," said Gale. "Warwickshire have been a little bit inconsistent in the Championship this year but their one-day form has generally been good.

"They had the upper hand against us in the Twenty20s and we've probably got a bit of a point to prove. We certainly won't be taking them lightly because they're more than capable of winning the game."

It is the fourth time Yorkshire have reached a one-day semi-final in the last six years.

They suffered a hat-trick of defeats in the old Cheltenham and Gloucester/Friends Provident Trophy, losing by five wickets against Gloucestershire at Bristol in 2004, by eight wickets against Hampshire at the Rose Bowl in 2005, and by 87 runs against Essex at Chelmsford in 2008.

This time, the benefit of home advantage and a capacity crowd of around 8,000 should work in their favour.

"There will be a cracking atmosphere and the lads all love playing at Scarborough," added Gale. "Playing there should definitely help us and hopefully we can give our supporters something to cheer.

"To get to a Lord's final would top off the season and be a fantastic honour on a personal level.

"I've been involved with Yorkshire since I was 10 years old and to lead the club out at Lord's would be a dream come true."

Former England all-rounder Anthony McGrath is fit after suffering a thumb injury during Thursday's Championship win against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge. He was struck by a rising ball from Darren Pattinson but has not sustained any serious damage.

However, Yorkshire are without Tim Bresnan, who is on England one-day duty along with Warwickshire batsman Jonathan Trott.

Despite also being part of England's one-day squad, Ajmal Shahzad is available to Yorkshire provided there are no injuries in the international camp.

Boyd Rankin (foot), Andy Miller (foot) and Naqaash Tahir (ankle) are unavailable for the visitors.

Around 6,000 tickets have been sold, with the remaining 2,000 or so available to buy on the turnstiles, priced 15 adults, 10 concessions. Gates open at 11am and the match begins at 12.45pm.

Final tickets will be available at both semi-final venues after close of play, from 30 adults and 5 concessions. MCC's ticket office will be open between 7pm-10pm tonight on 020 7432 1000 and tickets can also be bought via www.lords.org.

Yorkshire (from): Gale (captain), Rudolph, Lyth, McGrath, Brophy, Bairstow, Rashid, Pyrah, Shahzad, Wainwright, Patterson, Sanderson.

Warwickshire (from): Carter, Chopra, Maddy, Bell (captain), Troughton, Clarke, Barker, Imran Tahir, Botha, Johnson, Woakes, Westwood, Piolet.