Cricket: Grey day robs White

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The Independent Online
Yorkshire . . . . . . . . . . . . . .307 & 74-1

Essex . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .188

THE weather which has restricted Yorkshire to two full days of Championship cricket so far this season now threatens to deny them their first victory. The all-round efforts of their Anglo-Australian Craig White had put them in a position where a steady accumulation of runs yesterday would have put them in line to beat the side with three wins to its credit already.

But it was clear from a sky the colour of the slate roofs surrounding Headingley that it was not destined to be quite as simple as that.

After 10 overs, dealt with easily enough by Martyn Moxon and David Byas, the light drizzle turned heavier. After an attempt to get the players back on to the field shortly after noon was thwarted, play was finally abandoned for the day in mid-afternoon.

In the 38 minutes they were allowed, Moxon and Byas had few problems with the seam bowling of Mark Ilott and John Stephenson. Byas, in solid form so far this season, forced the pace, taking his overnight 17 to 40 and scoring 10 in three balls from Stephenson.

The Yorkshire captain was more circumspect, but hit his first boundary from the 68th ball he had faced, when he off- drove Stephenson for four.

After that, the entertainment was confined to various ways of fighting the losing battle to skim water from the outfield and the ground announcer relaying in Spanish the rugby union score from Durban in the tour match between England and Natal.

Even if Yorkshire are denied the victory they have worked for - and the weather forecast is not good - this has been a remarkably heartening week in their seam bowling department. Apart from Darren Gough's impressive international debut against New Zealand at Edgbaston and the converted off-spinner White's five for 40 here in the first innings, there was also a most encouraging three for 33 from the 19-year-old Chris Silverwood.

It might be expecting too much for White, Silverwood and their team-mates to shift Essex in the time that even a sunny Monday here would leave them, but the pace bowling future is full of interesting possibilities.

Yorkshire plan to give Lesroy Weekes, a Leeward Islander who has been playing in the Huddersfield League, a run against New Zealand this week and he is being spoken of as a potential overseas signing if Yorkshire revert to their original plan of taking on board a bowler rather than a batsman.

They will hope for a rare full day's play to have a decent look at him and assess his ability in the first team after a couple of second-XI outings.

His chance of joining a winning side now looks limited, although a drying wind, a quick declaration and more of the same from White and Silverwood may yet work wonders.