Patient Chapman holds up Lancashire

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The Independent Online
Yorkshire 289 and 298 Lancashire 482

After the chaotic scenes in other parts of Leeds yesterday morning, Headingley must have appeared more than usually calm to the players of Lancashire, who left behind the drama unfolding on the doorstep of their city-centre hotel to move within sight of victory in the Roses friendly.

Not that it counts for a great deal. If there is a debate over the first- class status of the university games, the awarding of that distinction to this fixture must also be questioned. The public, so thinly represented here that counting them has not been an exercise too taxing, certainly seemed to have seen it for the gentle warm-up it has become.

With so many of each county's principals absent, the contest was barely more than a second XI meeting in any case. Yorkshire, at least, will field a rather different line-up, including their new Australian signing, Darren Lehmann, when the sides meet again in the Benson & Hedges Cup on Monday week.

This match has been significant for one rare phenomenon: a sighting outside his usual habitat of Yorkshire's reserve wicketkeeper, Colin Chapman.

The 25-year-old from Bradford has been granted so few opportunities since his debut in 1990 that this was only his fifth first-class appearance in eight seasons and his first for five years. Judging by the success of his return to action, one wonders how he has put up with so little senior activity.

But for Chapman, supported by the efforts of Gavin Hamilton, Lancashire might have been packed and away before tea, the spoils of victory, such as they are worth, in the bag.

They had Yorkshire in a seemingly hopeless position. With the dismissal of Bradley Parker to a catch in the covers as a lively Peter Martin claimed his third wicket, his side were 127 for 5, 66 short of making Lancashire bat again. Their prospects took another downward turn at 144 when Alex Wharf sliced Mike Watkinson to deep third man.

But Chapman clearly did not intend to squander his moment. Painstakingly at times, but with the occasional flourish, he compiled a three-hour maiden half-century that gave Yorkshire the unexpected satisfaction of going to tea in front.

Hamilton, whose judgement of a single had always looked shaky, almost inevitably ran himself out - and on 49 to boot when he chanced an impossible run to the bowling of Gary Yates. Chapman, sensibly, would have none of it and both batsmen wound up at the same end.

Even so, the partnership had realised 94 and given Yorkshire a lead at that point of 45. Much to Lancashire's frustration, Chapman continued his innings until he was caught at slip off Martin for 80, leaving the visiting side still with something to do.