Cricket: Yorkshire fail test of strength

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The Independent Online
Yorkshire 181 & 121

Nottinghamshire 159 & 145-5

Notts won by 5 wickets

WHILE England were going from strength to strength yesterday, Yorkshire chose to display all their old weaknesses, losing seven wickets for 66 runs in the morning and losing the match some five hours later.

Nottinghamshire made hard work of their pursuit of 144 to win. They lost two early wickets, might have lost a third when they were still easing themselves into daylight and, though they got home by five wickets, were never cruising. The enviably professional diligence of Jimmy Adams, who made an unbeaten 40 off 183 balls over 56 overs, was crucial.

Without him the Championship's fourth side, who have now won four times out of five and came within a solitary wicket of winning the other, might just have been severely embarrassed. This was much to the opposition's credit but, if this is Raymond Illingworth's perception of a strong Yorkshire, it might be a case of 'abandon hope, all who enter here' for England fans.

They were without Craig White, on first Test duty, Darren Gough, injured, and Richie Richardson, who is in the West Indies following an accident suffered by his young son, but they batted without much sense of responsibility in setting no sort of worthy challenge. This belied their later resilience.

Not that Yorkshire, in whatever shape, have been much helped by the weather. The rain has followed them everywhere, preventing fluency, and the absence of it around Teesside yesterday saw something rare in 1994: play in Yorkshire but hardly anywhere else in the Championship.

It appeared a sporting pitch but this is no more than much- maligned English seam bowlers deserve. Such conditions make for a sporting game, which should not mean a finish in three days. Too many batsmen - not only Yorkshiremen - played insipid shots. The home side had lost thier first three wickets on Friday night, all with the score on 65, and their fourth went without addition to yesterday's seventh ball.

David Byas flicked at Greg Mike down the leg side and was caught behind. Mike, instead of flourishing, then proceeded to bowl a series of long hops. Richard Blakey and Paul Grayson benefited briefly but the introduction of Andy Pick ended all idea of a lead bordering on the respectable. In his first over he produced a peach of a ball to account for Blakey. It lifted off a good length, swung away and the batsman did well to get a touch to the wicketkeeper, Wayne Noon.

Grayson chased a wide one which bounced and Michael Foster forced too expansively to second slip. Peter Hartley had his off-stump removed by Kevin Evans, while Pick's length was too smart for Chris Silverwood and Mark Robinson. It gave him five for 14 in nine overs and represented good bowling ably supported by shoddy batting.

Martyn Moxon, the Yorkshire captain, was left unbeaten. He had come in at No 9, having displaced a disc in the first innings. This caused him some severe discomfort in the lower back and legs. He did not feel that Yorkshire proved determined to make a fist of it.

In Nottinghamshire's second innings Paul Pollard went in the first over, caught at short leg and Mark Crawley gloved a lifter to slip soon after lunch. Tim Robinson was put down there with the total on 36 and when he eventually departed it was 79 and too late.

Adams was stoic. He knew the target and was going to reach it despite the ramblings at the other end.

The least impressive of Yorkshire's bowlers on the day was Richard Stemp, perhaps affected by his new status as a member of England's Test squad. Still, his loose spell of left-arm spin would have been a touch worrying for the chairman of selectors.