Cricket: Tasmanian a real devil

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Yorkshire 183 and 246

Gloucestershire 205 and 388 Gloucestershire win by 164 runs

One of Yorkshire's exiled sons finished them off in rapid fashion at Headingley yesterday to take Gloucestershire to the top of the County Championship table.

While it was the Tasmanian all-rounder Shaun Young who had taken Gloucestershire into a winning position on the third day, it fell to the Dewsbury-born Michael Smith, who was picked up by the new leaders when he was at Exeter University, to administer the coup de grace in little more than an hour of the fourth.

Bowling lively left-arm, Smith made short work of opponents who never seemed to believe that the chase of a record-breaking winning total in their second innings was a realistic possibility. With Michael Vaughan nursing an arm in plaster, four wickets down overnight were in effect five, which soon became six when Craig White, who had already survived a dropped slip catch off the same bowler, was leg before to one from Smith that kept low.

Smith then bowled Peter Hartley with one that surprised him with its pace, before Gloucester gave another demonstration of how they are making the most of all their assets this season.

In a side notably lacking in household names and obvious pedigree - with the exception of Jack Russell - everyone is contributing above his reputation at the moment and it was two marvellous pieces of fielding from Robert Cunliffe that reduced Yorkshire's position from parlous to hopeless.

He removed the last of Yorkshire's recognised batsmen by leaping in the covers to take an acrobatic catch to dismiss Richard Blakey. The bowler was Young, whose early-season form has marked him out as more than a useful overseas signing. It was not his best delivery of the match but, when things are going as well as this, those balls can still take crucial wickets.

Yorkshire accelerated the pace of their capitulation when Chris Silverwood went for a non- existent third run after swiping Young towards the boundary. Cunliffe gave chase and managed to hook the ball back before the rope. The speed and accuracy of his throw ran out Silverwood by several yards, and the batsman departed cursing Cunliffe's strong arm and his own lack of judgement. The end came when Smith rearranged Richard Stemp's stumps. With Vaughan staying put on the balcony, the plan being for him only to bat if an unlikely victory depended on it, that gave Smith 10 wickets in the match on a memorable return home.

Comments