Symonds serves notice to Yorkshire

COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP: Gloucestershire show grit Kent close in Derbyshire dominate
Click to follow
The Independent Online
Yorkshire 166 Gloucestershire 211-6

Martyn Moxon, three years ago when captain, described Yorkshire as "the nearly team", an apt description of their career this season. After yesterday's experience, devastated by two explosive spells from Courtney Walsh and then savaged by Andrew Symonds, they will be feeling like the never-never team.

They could lose their third successive match tomorrow, today even, and their hopes of the Championship are fading with their dreams of the two one-day trophies. Nor was the damage only in figures: Craig White, their batting hero, returned from hospital with a bandaged forearm and was unable to bowl before the last hour.

Their problems began when David Byas won the toss. The pitch looked firm, with just a tinge of green, and he chose to bat. Gloucestershire afterwards confessed they did not wish to make the choice,

There was fog on the M5 and a slight remaining haze on the ground. Mike Smith began to swing the ball across and into the right-handers, dismissing Michael Vaughan in the second over and Anthony McGrath, both lbw, in the sixth.

In the meantime the innings had taken two body-blows. Moxon and Byas, the two most experienced in the side, were both caught at slip fending off sharply lifting balls from Walsh.

Richard Kettleborough, the 23-year-old left-hander from Sheffield who replaced Michael Bevan, thus walked into his third Championship match at 13 for 3.

He saw McGrath depart, and as soon as he faced Walsh he met the other bombshell in the Jamaican's armoury, the bone-cracking yorker, and when he lost his stumps the board read 15 for 5.

White was then joined by Richard Blakey in a stand of 98 in 30 overs that rescued Yorkshire from the humiliation of failing to surpass their lowest score against Gloucestershire, 35, on this ground in 1959. Both were hit on the hands but a genuine recovery had began when on the stroke of lunch Blakey mis-timed a drive at Dickie Davis's first ball.

"Chalky" played his best innings of the summer, striking 12 boundaries when every ball was critical, and he was last out, bowled next ball by Walsh after an interval for treatment.

Gloucestershire were batting by three o'clock and when Darren Gough struck in his first over, Symonds strode in like a prince and played like a king. His driving was royal and Gloucestershire were only 30 behind when, to Gough's surprise, Symonds pulled a long hop gently into square-leg's hands. Encouraged, Gough produced his best spell of the day, fast and hostile, and White's lengthy spell eventually brought the end of the dangerous Monte Lynch.

Chris Silverwood, who had been beating the bat but failing to find an edge, tempted Matt Windows into a rash pull, and then, in declining light, took two wickets in two balls.

Moxon explained the early debacle: "There was a touch of damp but we felt it would play well once it dried out." When Yorkshire bat again they might give thought to moving Blakey up the order. He played Walsh best of all.

Comments