Cricket: Rabbit boosts Yorkshire

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The Independent Online
Yorkshire 397 and 307 Essex 250 and 98-1

TO Mark Robinson, the rabbit's rabbit, the boundary is usually out of bounds. Yesterday, however, the holder of the most unwanted record in first-class history - 12 consecutive innings without a run - emerged from his warren to strike two sixes. In the context of a match containing enough twists and turns to confound those who consider four-day cricket a substitute for sleeping pills, this just about capped it all.

Robinson's unbeaten 16 enabled the last Yorkshire wicket to put on 37, leaving Essex 455 to win. Apart from Middlesex, who amassed 502 to beat Nottinghamshire in 1925, no side in the Championship has met a higher target.

Then again, the champions themselves did rustle up 442 to defeat Derbyshire last September, rendering Paul Jarvis's decision to bat on more sensible than conservative, all the more so as Graham Gooch and John Stephenson opened up with 91 at four and a half an over before Robinson - who else? - trapped Stephenson.

That Yorkshire were able to earn such a lead having been 11 for 3 overnight, 158 on, was primarily attributable to vigorous half-centuries from David Byas, Richard Blakey and Paul Grayson.