Cricket: Yorkshire target title

Derek Hodgson reports from Headingley Warwickshire 306 and 229 Yorkshire 508 and 280-0 Yorkshire win by 10 wkts
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The Independent Online
Yorkshire completed their first victory over Warwickshire for six years at 2.30 yesterday afternoon before a small but appreciative crowd which should have included the cricket chairman, Bob Platt, who had declared, pre-season: "Take away Allan Donald or Brian Lara and man for man we are as good as the champions."

As it happened Warwickshire were also without Tim Munton, Gladstone Small and Nick Knight, while Keith Piper had to retire temporarily with a damaged finger. But all this was irrelevant tittle-tattle to euphoric Tykes who can once again glimpse, like the Holy Grail through the mists, another Championship.

This victory brought an end to Yorkshire's worst sequence against another county, since Surrey beat them eight times in succession between 1886 to 1889. Such statistics are burned into the soul in these parts.

In truth the champions had little hope of saving this match, for Andy Forgarty's pitch had started to wear on Saturday and by yesterday morning was helping spin from the Football End and providing variable bounce from the Kirkstall Lane End.

Accordingly, David Byas rotated his seamers downhill while Richard Stemp and Michael Bevan shared the other end and even at full strength Warwickshire would have been hard pressed to survive, resuming 76 behind with four top wickets gone.

Shaun Pollock was not happy when he was given out caught off bat and pad at silly point; Dermot Reeve tried to flick to leg a near yorker that hardly rose; Dougie Brown was totally confounded by a glorious chinaman from Bevan that did just about everything but spit fire; Darren Gough pitched up, fast, at middle stump to remove Graeme Welsh and Ashley Giles while the returning Piper, whose glove was hit by Peter Hartley, was last out, to Stemp's arm ball.

So how good are Yorkshire? Far better over four days than one, as recent results testify. The average age of the first-team squad is 23. In Bevan they have an overseas professional whose will to win exceeds their own and, in the new captain, Byas, a total independent who does not rely on cricket for his living. He is their first captain for a long time who can afford to tell the committee to get stuffed.

Of his team he says: "I want the right frame of mind. We'll win some and we'll lose some but as long as we take the field with a belief in winning I'll be satisfied. The points will come.'' So will the silverware.

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