Cricket: Walsh gives Yorkshire the full treatment

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The Independent Online
Gloucestershire 291 and 228-4

Yorkshire 247

COURTNEY WALSH, who had his neck put in a brace following a car accident last weekend, announced there was no serious damage by inflicting the sort of treatment on the visitors that had them wincing here yesterday.

The College Ground generally offers something, even if that is restricted to a delightful outlook. Bowling from the Chapel End, though, Walsh offered a different view of life. Self-preservation, you imagined, came fairly high on the list for a number of Yorkshire batsmen, who were perhaps only too happy to return from the crease in one piece.

In an extraordinary first session Walsh waltzed in and ripped the heart out of the innings with 4 for 24 in 28 balls. This had looked a fairly placid wicket on the first day, but once the West Indian began to loosen up it was suddenly a different game. The thing about Walsh is that he makes it look so deceptively easy.

However, Yorkshire should be thankful for small mercies. After all, Martyn Moxon and Matt Vaughan had blossomed the previous evening and mustered the first century opening partnership in this year's Championship for the county, having survived the initial onslaught. In Walsh's fourth over of a bright new day, however, the White Rose began to wilt in alarming fashion.

A slower one to Moxon saw Jack Russell dive forward to snap up a superb catch, the Yorkshire captain walking rather than waiting for the decision two short of his half century. Two balls later and David Byas was retracing his steps, while Mark Alleyne hastened the collapse by getting Vaughan to pop one up to square leg.

In the event, Vaughan's top score of 74 represented heroic stuff but Alleyne continued the good work by taking out Richard Blakey for a duck in his next over. The inspiration behind this mayhem, of course, was Walsh, who claimed the fifth wicket to fall in six overs when he had Bradley Parker edging to third slip.

A West Indian colleague, meanwhile, did threaten briefly, Richie Richardson relieved to see a hook off Walsh just clear Ricardo Williams at fine leg before he had scored. Having struck five other boundaries, Richardson was suckered into a similar stroke and this time the Walsh-Williams combination celebrated.

When Walsh retired, Kevin Cooper kept the collapse going and Yorkshire only escaped with a deficit of 44 thanks to a fighting 46 from Paul Grayson, the last to fall in the first over after lunch. And as Walsh relaxed in a chair, Wright, the mainstay with 85, Windows and Hancock helped stretch Gloucestershire's lead to 273 by the close.

(Photograph omitted)