Walsh warms hands on frail Yorkshiremen

The West Indies enjoyed yesterday. Curtly Ambrose flew in from Antigua looking frisky and up for it in the pre-start game of handball. The sun broke through, the clouds were higher, the pitch drier and Yorkshire's batsmen offered about as much resistance as plywood does to a cannonball. Even their bowling honours were captured by another Caribbean, Lesroy Weekes, Yorkshire'simport from Montserrat.

The West Indies enjoyed yesterday. Curtly Ambrose flew in from Antigua looking frisky and up for it in the pre-start game of handball. The sun broke through, the clouds were higher, the pitch drier and Yorkshire's batsmen offered about as much resistance as plywood does to a cannonball. Even their bowling honours were captured by another Caribbean, Lesroy Weekes, Yorkshire'simport from Montserrat.

The news that England had released Craig White, Michael Vaughan and Matthew Hoggard - but not Darren Gough - for the Roses match which starts on Friday should have cheered the home dressing-room where there are so many newcomers it must have felt like a freshman term at the Academy.

One eminent Yorkshireman declared, on Monday, that the team chosen to play West Indies was "a disgrace and an insult to the tourists". Those of us who can remember 1950 when West Indies turned out the Test side at Bradford - Weekes, Worrell, Walcott, Ramadhin, Valentine et al - before a full house can only sigh at this diminution of status of the fixture. Even the sponsors could not be bothered to send a rep.

West Indies resumed 43 behind and their middle-order and tail proved to be much more adept at contriving runs than the county's. With the loss of Paul Hutchison with a strained shoulder on Monday the bulk of the bowling had to be carried by the burly Weekes and the 19-year-old Chris Elstub, the latter again making an interesting contribution, varying his right-arm medium pace intelligently.

Ramnash Sarwan has the national inclination to play shots and was the first to leave, to a smart slip catch. Jimmy Adams looked unhappy to be caught in the same area off Elstub but that was the apex of Yorkshire's effort. As Weekes lost his early zest - he was pulled for six by Wayne Phillip - and the ball passed 50 overs the West Indies tail laid about them with some exuberance although neither of Yorkshire's spinners, Ian Fisher and James Middlebrook, could be said to have been collared. Even Courtney Walsh was looking ominously ambitious when Phillip was eventually trapped.

Walsh then had Simon Widdup caught at third slip before ambling off to long leg leaving his assistants to create havoc. John Inglis and Richard Blakey were caught behind off Corey Collymore, bowling more fluently and faster than in Monday's damp, in the same over. Scott Richardson showed a couple of impressive drives.

Victor Craven, despite a disappointing 10, is emerging as the best of the new class, and may well celebrate his 20th birthday by playing in his first Roses match. David Byas, as imperturbable as an East Riding farmer can be, stayed an hour for his 30 and when he went to another fine slip catch Yorkshire were past their previous lowest against West Indies -- 50 at Harrogate in 1906 - and set to make them bat again, Weekes and Ian Fisher ensuring that they would have score 12 during which Chris Gayle hit Middlebrook for a straight six.

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