Cricket: Moxon's hopes undone

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The Independent Online
Yorkshire 364 and 30-2

Gloucestershire 257

MARTYN MOXON may never play in another Test match, the England management fearing the doctor's note that inevitably follows his selection, but there are times when he displays the class and power that make him distinctive enough. With more good fortune and less brittle bones he could easily have been a second Graham Gooch.

This match is shaping to be one of his best as Yorkshire's captain and opener although the 24 Championship points he was expecting at lunch were distanced by evening when Gloucestershire's last two wickets more than doubled the score and averted a follow-on. Justin Vaughan, a 25- year-old New Zealand doctor who has scored a century for Auckland but was batting at No 8 here, upset Moxon's calculations with his best score in England, helping Courtney Walsh and Mark Davies to nick, nudge, thrash and then lay about a tiring attack.

Moxon's story began when Yorkshire were sent in on Friday. Although critics may deride the Gloucestershire attack as Walsh and four others, the fact is that Walsh is presently the most destructive bowler in England.

Moxon played Walsh as well as anyone this season, batting through the first day for 171 not out and adding 12 runs yesterday to become the highest Yorkshire scorer on Gloucestershire soil, passing David Denton's 182 at Bristol in 1912.

Denton was known as 'Lucky', but when so called he would growl: 'You need more than bloody luck to score 33,000 runs.' Moxon would probably have settled for 'Jammy' and the cream of a long Test-match record. His seven-hour vigil included two sixes and 23 fours. He then unleashed his quick bowlers to reduce Gloucestershire to 48 for 5 at lunch.

The Gloucestershire innings started just before noon, by which time the sun had returned to dispel a damp morning, and fell into disarray immediately, Bill Athey falling in Paul Jarvis's second over, taken low at second slip. This abrupt departure unsettled the normally reliable Dean Hodgson, who in the next over drove erratically to be caught behind.

Bobby Dawson, a Devonian and former Millfield scholar who has been scoring mountains for the second team, became Mark Robinson's first victim, another catch behind, in the tall man's third over. Robinson might have had a hat-trick. Mark Alleyne nicked the first ball he received inches in front of second slip; the second he snicked straight through first slip's hands. It was hardly a surprise when, facing Peter Hartley, he gave Richard Blakey a third catch. Tony Wright, who had been viewing these rapid departures with the expression of a captain on a sinking ship, looked safe enough until, trying to turn Hartley, he was smartly taken at short leg.

Left-handers Richard Scott and Jack Russell brought the first hint of resistance, adding 39 with the help of a few no-balls until Phil Carrick's well-placed man at deep mid-wicket caught Russell. Scott charged and enabled Blakey to add a stumping and at 111 for 8 the innings seemed over.

Enter Walsh to join Vaughan. Walsh's bat has thrashed Yorkshire before; this time he hit 44 off 33 balls (two sixes), shaking Yorkshire's nerves and leaving the Hereford-born Vaughan, a compact left-hander, to help Davies to his own career-best. Blakey enhanced a growing reputation with six victims.

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