Cricket: Gough finishes off defiant tail

COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP: Yorkshire return to the top of the table with 10 minutes to spare as the weather takes it toll in most matches
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The Independent Online
Yorkshire 321 & 266-7 dec; Worcs 355-9 dec & 121 Yorkshire won by 111 runs

A brilliant innings by Michael Bevan on a turning pitch set up Yorkshire for a victory that gives them a 19-point lead over Kent at the head of the Championship, with Kent having a game in hand. Setting Worcestershire 233 in what became 60 overs, they reduced them to 28 for 5 and then had two hours of frustration as the tail resisted while black clouds circled the ground.

The day began and ended in drama. Thinking that Yorkshire would make a measured addition to their overnight lead of 54, a Hereford lady went shopping, but rushed back when she heard three wickets had gone down for two runs in nine balls. Richard Illingworth and Vikram Solanki won immediate turn. Add an unpredictable bounce and the collapse was explicable.

Yorkshire were saved by Bevan, supported in turn by Craig White and Richard Blakey. Bevan's 57 came off 75 balls and included seven fours, his footwork a lesson to his creasebound partners. Bevan and White added 93 in 24 overs against two spinners, one of whom has Test caps, the other England Under-19 appearances. Bevan's speed and power of stroke must have left the close field, usually five men, a bag of nerves. Worcestershire were handicapped by the loss of Illingworth, who cut a finger on his right hand trying to stop a drive by White, at mid-on, shortly before Bevan's dismissal, fifth out.

Worcestershire's thought was only of survival. Twenty-five balls had been bowled before a run was scored, during which time Phil Weston had been missed - a sharp chance to cover off Darren Gough, who was not long denied: Matthew Church was leg before and Tim Curtis caught behind. Tom Moody, offering no stroke, was then leg before to Richard Stemp's second ball.

Chris Silverwood's seamers removed Weston and Reuben Spiring, at which point Yorkshire's major worry was the weather. Solanki, despite one flirtation per over, took Worcestershire into the last hour and might have stayed but for a rash pull off Michael Vaughan, the ball looping to second slip.

Scott Ellis edged to slip but Stuart Lampitt and the injured Illingworth then defied Yorkshire, extending the tension for another 20 minutes before Gough was recalled to win two more lbw decisions with 10 minutes remaining. Twelve Worcestershire batsmen perished in this manner in the match but no one, from either camp, could have been bored.

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