Cricket: County Championship - Fellows steadies Yorkshire's nerves

Yorkshire 389 and 141-5 Kent 302 and 226 Yorkshire win by 5 wickets
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The Independent Online
WITH 140 to score to win and sufficient time to do it, Martyn Moxon, Yorkshire's likeable coach, was talking confidently of winning 12 points that would take his promising young team into third place in the Championship. After 28 overs, with half the side out for 93, the shoe was shifting feet and we were thinking that a victory for Kent would take them into second place.

Min Patel, Kent's left-arm spinner, had taken the wickets of Michael Vaughan, Anthony McGrath and Richard Blakey for 16 runs, and five Kent players crowded the bat. The ball was turning slowly and keeping a bit low for Patel, but the reason for Yorkshire's sudden admission to the emergency ward was a combination of last-day nerves and over-confidence. Vaughan, for instance, followed a painstaking 153 in the first innings with a carefree 50 off 58 balls, which he celebrated by jumping down the wicket to Patel and getting himself stumped.

When 21-year-old Gary Fellows joined Richard Harden, he refused to be intimidated by Patel or, indeed, by Dean Headley, who tried to bounce him out. After 14 overs, Patel cracked and Fellows hit him for nine off the penultimate over, before pulling Headley to the boundary to take his score to 34. It was a fine climax to a memorable occasion.

There can't be many people who had a better day out than this. Fast train to York, good connection to Scarborough. The sun was still shining like no one here can remember for the cricket festival; 2,450 spectators basking, eating prawns, crab and lobster from the Alliance Fish bar, and gulping lager beer.

Just across the road is the sea, calm towards a horizon looking like a faint bruise; the ruins of Scarborough Castle stand stage left. Out over the stands lie the North York Moors, and there is a clear view of a windmill from the press box, which is approached through the entrance to the women's lavatory. And that is not to mention the cricket.

Kent stared the day only 61 runs ahead with four wickets left, and could easily have collapsed, England-style, leaving the audience with nothing to watch after lunch. But there were 20 overs to come with the old ball, and David Byas decided to save his fast men for the new ball. He used a miscellany of spin and second-rank seam which suited Dr Julian Thomson and Steve Marsh, who added 60 runs in an hour.

Dr Thompson is a gynaecologist and he missed the second day of this game when a colleague informed him that his wife was about to give birth. Thomson did not discover that the diagnosis was wrong until he eventually reached Canterbury. He batted as if he was making up for lost time, hitting a big six and six fours in a score of 44.

Wickets only fell after 100 minutes when Byas gave the new ball to Ryan Sidebottom and Chris Silverwood, who got carry and bounce from a better wicket than they play on at Headingley. The last four wickets fell for seven runs, leaving that target of 140. At 12.25pm, it had seemed like a matter of time. When the game ended at 4.15pm it had proved a satisfying challenge.

England players' casualty report: Darren Gough began to run again yesterday, and is expected to pass his fitness test. A scan of Gavin Hamilton's lower back and hamstring showed no permanent damage, though he will probably not play again this season.

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