Cricket / County Championship: Overworked Afford ends Yorkshire resistance: Notts tie up victory but Surrey fail to gain ground on leaders

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Nottinghamshire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .316 and 259

Yorkshire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .240 and 220

Nottinghamshire win by 115 runs

JUST how early this match would have finished if Nottinghamshire had fielded a full complement of fit specialist bowlers, instead of three, will remain one of the summer's imponderables. Victory still lifted them to fifth place in the table.

Yorkshire had been buoyant overnight, expecting to make 336 and achieve their third consecutive Championship win for the first time in 11 years until Andy Afford, an overworked left-arm spinner, took 5 for 77. His last wicket, that of Mark Robinson, who played the ball gently into his off-stump, was his 50th at first- class level this summer.

After stumbling to 48 for 5 at lunch, Yorkshire revived through their best partnership of the match, 105 for the ninth wicket, between Craig White and Jeremy Batty, with a Championship-best 50 from 120 balls.

It kept Nottinghamshire waiting for victory until 5.30pm with 15.4 overs to spare after both batsmen had been dropped two hours earlier. White was marooned on 74 when the game ended, just as he had been on 46 in the first innings.

Bruce French missed White, on 25, off Lewis and Paul Johnson, running to cover point, put down Batty, who had made 24, off Afford.

The bowlers, Chris Lewis, Kevin Evans and Afford worked wonders in the absence of Michael Field-Buss with a broken forearm and Chris Cairns, who has an injured left ankle, the aftermath of wear and tear in his admirably combative season.

Unwitting co-operation was Yorkshire's crime. Richie Richardson chipped a catch to mid-on, misjudging the pace of the pitch; David Byas bagged a pair by top-edging a sweep to slip to put Afford on a hat-trick, though his ecstatic reaction suggested he had already taken one.

Byas had found another strange way to get out, having lost his wicket the first time when hooking. It was his third duck in four Championship innings but Byas can now look forward to playing at Scarborough, his favourite ground, against Middlesex on Thursday.

Robinson kept Lewis bowling at full throttle but, at times, curiously preferred a third man to a third slip, despite a mountain of runs to defend. Sure enough, White, on two, edged Lewis uppishly through the vacant catching area, making Nottinghamshire suffer until the shadows were lengthening on the ground.