The chairman is reported to have told Gough that if he does play again this season, puttingstress on his suspect foot, he may rule himself out of the winter tour to South Africa. Yorkshire, who have not reached a 60-over final since 1969, naturally want to play their strike bowler. Club v country, in its bloodiest form, looms.
Without Gough, the prolific Peter Hartley and Craig White, Yorkshire are engaged with a similarly weakened Surrey in a match that was much in batsmen's favour until a wearing pitch, from mid-afternoon, brought play into a better balance and, eventually, Yorkshire's way.
The hot morning was Michael Bevan's, the Australian completing his highest score, and fifth first-class century, for Yorkshire with a fine innings that included five sixes and 20 fours. Yorkshire were wavering when he arrived on Friday but it was Bevan who was left not out as Surrey secured a useful lead of 43.
Chris Silverwood, who finished the innings with a career-best five for 62 and who, at 20, might have a longer career than Gough, had Darren Bicknell caught behind, but Mark Butcher, whose conversion from opening bowler to opening bat was an Oval brainwave, continued impressively. He is at present averaging 42 and as he is not 23 until later this month must be a candidate for Young Cricketer of the Year.
He scored 40 of Surrey's first 50 and while even the polished Nadeem Shahid took care against eager young Yorkshire quicks, Butcher drove and pulled blithely. The moment Shahid tried a meaningful drive he skied to mid-off while Butcher went to his 10th half-century off 81 balls. Audacity was ambushed eventually: Butcher went to glance a ball that Richard Stemp turned across him and Richard Blakey moved legside to close the trap.
Andy Smith was pinned by Silverwood, Adam Hollioake's rally ended when Stuart Milburn wrecked his stumps and the stubborn Graham Kersey, 83 in the first innings, was dispatched by a slick stumping.
Yorkshire had 20 overs in pursuit of 219 and batted purposefully, as if intent on an early return north tomorrow.Reuse content