Title disappointment is shrugged aside by Yorkshire County Cricket Club in Middlesex battle (From York Press)
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Title disappointment is shrugged aside by Yorkshire County Cricket Club in Middlesex battle
YORKSHIRE shrugged off their disappointment at missing out on the championship by showing great determination to stay in command of their battle for the runners-up spot with Middlesex.
Durham’s coronation as the new champions filtered through to Headingley before the rain had ceased and Yorkshire were able to build on their 86-run overnight lead when they resumed on four without loss in early afternoon.
They could have been forgiven for letting their heads drop as celebrations began at Chester-le-Street and, needing to avoid defeat in this match to prevent Middlesex claiming the £235,000 prize money for finishing second, they made a shaky start by losing four wickets inside the first 13 overs.
But led by captain Andrew Gale, Yorkshire recovered from 50-4 to reach 130-5, leading by 212 runs, when bad light ended play 11 overs early and showed their determination not to let their season fizzle out disappointingly.
“I’ve seen the lads train, I’ve seen what they put into that, I’ve seen their attitude with everything they do. Whether it’s a warm-up drill or running up hills in the winter or spending the time in the gym, I’ve seen what they do and we’re delighted with the way they’ve applied themselves,” said Jason Gillespie, Yorkshire’s head coach.
“We’re not in a position to win the championship this year, but already there is talk about how we can improve next year and that’s been driven by the players, which is a very healthy environment.
“It would have been a fairytale had we got promoted and then gone on to win the title in our 150th season, but I think coming second is a real goal for us and if we can manage to do that at the end of this game then that would be a fantastic achievement for our players.”
Yorkshire’s hold on second place looked uncertain once play finally started with Adam Lyth falling lbw to the fourth ball of the day from Corey Collymore, the former West Indies seamer, while Kane Williamson was bowled by a swinging delivery from Tim Murtagh in the next over.
Phil Jaques was unfortunate to fall for a defiant 21 when he top-edged Murtagh and Dawid Malan took an outstanding catch, running back from first slip to take the ball from over his shoulder, and Jonny Bairstow fell in quick succession when he was bowled by a Collymore inswinger.
It left Yorkshire just 132 runs ahead with four wickets down when Gale was joined at the crease by Ballance in murky conditions and the ball swinging for Middlesex’s impressive seam bowlers.
But Gale responded with a determined 40, passing 1,000 championship runs in a season after he reached 15 – a statistic that marks a remarkable turnaround for a player that thought about dropping himself for poor form at the start of the summer.
Gale played a supportive role in a 79-run stand with Gary Ballance, who chose his moment to hit an unbeaten 53 from 59 balls only five days before England’s selectors announce the Ashes squad and in front of selector James Whitaker.
Ballance was fortunate to be dropped on 12 by Ollie Rayner at second slip off Murtagh when Yorkshire were only 153 runs ahead but survived, unlike Gale, who fell lbw to Collymore the over before bad light halted play.
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