Hutchison spearheads Yorkshire's title challenge

Yorkshire 501-7 dec and 83-4 dec Worcestershire 313-6 dec and 205 Yorkshire win by 66 runs
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The Independent Online
Yorkshire's title aspirations live on. Faced with a day that simply had to end in success were they to stay in contention for the Championship, an attack deprived of both Darren Gough and Peter Hartley delivered the required result by dismissing Worcestershire for 205 here yesterday evening.

It gave Yorkshire victory with 11.5 overs to spare and lifts them into third place, 18 points behind the leaders Kent, who come here next week in the most important domestic encounter this ground has experienced in some years.

Yorkshire, last champions in 1968, have maintained the improvement begun last season and bolstered their title dreams by keeping the challenge going into the final two weeks. Those dreams have been built on youthful shoulders and it was reflective of this that yesterday's win was achieved largely by the efforts of 20-year-old Paul Hutchison and two 22-year-olds, Chris Silverwood and Gavin Hamilton, who shared eight wickets.

In a rain-affected match, some collusion was needed to arrive at a positive finish. After failing in his original intention of bowling out Worcestershire cheaply on Thursday, the captain David Byas was obliged to strike a deal with Tom Moody, his opposite number. Thus Moody declared at the overnight total, some 188 runs adrift. The equation was complicated further when a heavy downpout delayed the start by 45 minutes, but once play began Yorkshire rapidly extended their lead against relatively friendly bowling. Darren Lehmann and the captain himself, helped them to 83 for 4 when Byas declared, leaving Worcestershire to pursue 272 from a minimum 71 overs.

The target gave Worcestershire a better than sporting chance. But within three overs it seemed likely there would be only one winner, as both openers departed with only 11 on the board. Steven Rhodes was bowled behind his legs by the left-armer Paul Hutchison before Philip Weston drove Chris Silverwood loosely to point.

The picture became brighter still for Yorkshire as wicketkeeper Richard Blakey removed the danger posed by Graeme Hick with a splendid diving catch to give Silverwood a second success and Hutchison defeated Reuben Spiring with late inswing to reduce the visitors to 26 for 4.

It was shaping up as the kind of capitulation Yorkshire had been hoping to induce when their opponents batted first on Thursday. However, now Moody emerged to turn the contest into something more of the genuine article and, while he and Gavin Haynes were together, victory for Worcestershire became a clear possibility.

However, Haynes dragged a ball from Craig White on to his stumps and when Moody, having hit 67 off 94 balls, spooned a Hutchison long-hop to wide mid-on, Richard Stemp took a tumbling catch, Worcestershire's chance was gone at 142 for 6.