Cricket: Leaders beaten

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The Independent Online
Yorkshire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .209-3

Warwickshire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .155

Yorkshire win by 54 runs

WARWICKSHIRE will hope to leave here with their Championship candidacy reinforced but their hopes of including the Sunday League among their portfolio of prizes suffered a dent before a noisy crowd of 9,000 at North Marine Road yesterday.

Defeat by 54 runs leaves Warwickshire still in pole position on run rate in the AXA Equity and Law table, but Worcestershire's victory over Nottinghamshire gives their Midlands rivals equal points, from one game fewer.

Against a Yorkshire attack that included three uncapped bowlers, a target of 210 did not look too demanding, even with Brian Lara out, resting two injured knees. But from the moment that Alex Wharf, making his competition debut, defeated a careless swing by Neil Smith in the second over, it never looked Warwickshire's day.

An eventful seventh over brought the wickets of Dominic Ostler and Andy Moles for Peter Hartley, both caught behind by Richard Blakey. With this, Warwickshire were 31 for 3. By the 19th over, they were 67 for 6, having critically lost Roger Twose to a steepling catch coolly taken by Wharf at mid-on off Mark Robinson, as well as Paul Smith and Trevor Penney, the latter a maiden Sunday League victim for Alex Hamilton.

Dermot Reeve and Graeme Welch added 35 in five overs for the seventh wicket, but when Welch was caught on the cover boundary off Wharf, all hope was effectively lost.

Having won the toss for Yorkshire, Martyn Moxon gave the innings a good platform alongside David Byas. The pair had made 88 together when the captain was caught behind trying to sweep Neil Smith. They had profited from a wayward first spell by Gladstone Small, who began with four wides and forced Reeve into a tactical rethink by going for 27 in three overs.

Neil Smith's off-spin and Welch's medium pace were more restrictive, causing Yorkshire to lose momentum but the last 10 overs saw 79 runs added.