Cricket: Yorkshire find the going slow

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The Independent Online
Yorkshire 208-5 v Middlesex

AFTER losing the equivalent of almost four sessions to the weather, this became a match that badly needed inspiration from somewhere. On a lifeless pitch it was not forthcoming and in the day's amended ration of 61 overs Yorkshire crept up slowly from their overnight 75 for 2 to 208 for 5.

The seemingly lively conversation before the start between Mike Gatting, the Middlesex captain, and the head groundsman which appeared to be about the rights and wrongs of a damp patch on the Tavern side of the pitch remained yesterday's most exciting incident.

The ball was not coming through on to the bat, there was a certain amount of movement in the air and off the seam and of the batsmen on view only Richie Richardson had the credentials to provide this inspiration although he would not have chosen these conditions.

In the first over of the day, an

exciting hook played off his eyebrows against Neil Williams raced away to the square-leg boundary and heightened expectations. But shortly afterwards he pushed half- forward to a ball from Angus Fraser which lifted a fraction and flew from the glove to forward short-leg.

For a long time after that the innnings continued to centre round Yorkshire's captain, Martyn Moxon. He batted most worthily for just over four hours but never in a vein which might have led to prosperity. Twenty overs went by before he hit his first four of the day, a top- edged cut over the slips.

Middlesex bowled well, giving the batsmen little to seize on. While Moxon fought on, Richard Blakey was in the sort of form which can most kindly be attributed to lack of practice early in the season. When on eight he might have been caught in the gully off an outswinger from Williams. Moxon's vigil then ended at 133 when he pushed forward to John Emburey, who was as accurate as ever, and was caught off bat and pad.

Two runs later, Blakey played back to a full toss from Kevin Shine which yorked him and hit the off stump. After that, Craig White and Paul Grayson started, without making any obvious efforts, to score runs and one could only wonder how Yorkshire saw the match developing over the last two days.

Phil DeFreitas claimed the first hat-trick of his career to put his new county, Derbyshire, in control against Hampshire at Southampton. The former Lancashire bowler had Tony Middleton caught in the gully and then bowled Mark Nicholas. He completed his hat-trick when he had Adrian Aymes leg

before.

Chris Broad scored his 50th first-class century at Bristol yesterday. He hit 11 fours in reaching 100 not out for Gloucestershire against Sussex, batting 312 minutes and facing 287 balls.

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