Cricket: Essex flounder to Fisher

Yorkshire 311 and 435-5 dec Essex 335 and 237 Yorkshire win by 174 runs
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The Independent Online
IAN FISHER recorded his first championship five-wicket haul to take Yorkshire to a comfortable victory over an Essex team that seem little improved from last year's mediocrity.

The 23-year-old left-arm spinner, playing in only his fourth Championship match, came on after Paul Prichard and Darren Robinson had successfully negotiated most of the morning session, teasing the Essex faithful into dreaming that there might be some fight in the club.

Alas, this hope proved to be forlorn as Essex capitulated to 140 for 7. It will not help those in charge at Chelmsford to realise that it could have been worse, as both Prichard and Robinson were reprieved by Yorkshire's poor catching. The latter capitalised by posting a season's best in the championship of 29.

Were it not for the excellence of Stuart Law, who emulated Michael Vaughan in scoring centuries in both innings, Essex would not have extended the game into the final session. Law batted with an assurance and application that is beyond his team-mates and demonstrated the gulf between actually being good as opposed to thinking one is good because of sponsored cars and other trappings.

However bad the Essex batting may be, it must not detract from a fine performance by Fisher, who prospered most when he plucked up the courage to give the ball some air. His approach to the wicket and action are smooth and he possesses a natural loop when he flights the ball. His dismissal of Ian Flanagan exemplified the benefits of bowling slowly with guile rather than with a flatter, more dart-like trajectory. The young left- handed batsman shaped to drive but was deceived in the air and left the field at a funereal pace, contemplating how the ball had wickedly dipped past his attacking stroke to rattle his stumps.

Then Matthew Wood assisted Fisher with a remarkable catch at silly point to dismiss Paul Grayson, a former Tyke himself. The ball went quickly to Wood's left and as he dived backwards the ball appeared to roll down his arm towards his grasping hand before he finally clung on to it close to the ground.

The result was never in doubt and, considering the last time Essex had scored over 400 was in late August 1997, it was unfathomable quite why Yorkshire felt they needed to set the home side the large target of 412.