Spiring inspiring

Yorkshire 321 & 88-0 Worcestershire 355-9 dec
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One supermarket with northern links is selling bottles of Yorkshire water labelled "While Stocks Last". Tykes should similarly cherish hopes of the Championship. Stocks may not last much longer. The good news for Kent is that Yorkshire have been checked by the team third from bottom of the Championship.

Much of the damage on a breezy but grey day was done by two uncapped players, the batsman Reuben Spiring, aged 21, and the all-rounder Vikram Solanki, 20. Worcestershire recovered from 58 for three on Friday, won a 34-run lead and will now hope for a declaration. Yorkshire will have to risk losing.

Friday's rain and damp seemed to have taken some of the variable bounce and pace from the pitch and Yorkshire spent most of the morning trying to unseat Spiring and Tim Curtis. Only two balls passed the bat in the first 65 minutes, although Spiring did cut another ball from Darren Gough between slips. His fourth-wicket stand with Curtis was eventually worth 176 in 64 overs - his fifth century stand in his third home match. His second century in seven Championship matches took 227 minutes and included 17 fours.

Richard Stemp's extra spin broke the stand, a low delivery trapping Curtis leg before. Solanki was missed on nought at short leg off the bowling of the aspiring off-spinner Michael Vaughan before Spiring's fine innings ended with another leg-before verdict, this time for Vaughan. Solanki stayed with Steve Rhodes until they were five runs short of the lead, Solanki perishing to the new ball. Stuart Lampitt had his leg stump flattened in the same over but Rhodes and Richard Illingworth, both Bradford League graduates, took Worcestershire into the lead.

Chris Silverwood, the best of Yorkshire's seamers, finished with five for 72, a reward for sustained line and length. Both he and Spiring, the Southport-born son of Peter, the former Liverpool and Bristol City striker, can expect an A team tour of Australia. The selector David Graveney was watching and would also have noted Vaughan's enterprising strokeplay.

Yorkshire insiders feel there are three reasons why they will not win their first title since 1968: they will lose Michael Bevan to an Australian tour in August; two of their remaining matches are at Scarborough, where it is almost impossible to force a result, and their last match is at Northampton, where they can expect an awkward pitch and Curtly Ambrose.

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