YORKSHIRE bounced back strongly from their shock home defeat to Gloucestershire last week with a ruthless triumph in a rain-affected encounter in Northampton to put their Royal London One-day Cup campaign back on track.
Disappointed at their failure to qualify for the Twenty20 Cup quarter-finals, Yorkshire were keen to show their ability in one-day cricket by mounting a strong challenge in the relaunched 50-overs competition, only to suffer a surprise defeat at Headingley.
But despite being without Jonny Bairstow, who is with the England Lions this week, Yorkshire romped to a six-wicket victory with 24
balls remaining chasing Northamptonshire’s 209-7 in a match reduced to 38 overs a side by steady morning showers.
Once again Adam Lyth and Alex Lees, who forged a 375-run opening stand during Yorkshire’s championship victory at Northampton earlier this season, were the architects of their triumph.
The pair were dismissive of a Northamptonshire bowling attack weakened by the loss of Steven Crook, Olly Stone and David Willey, with 21-year-old Lees racing to his first one-day century for Yorkshire.
Lees hit 102 off 92 balls, including 14 fours and a six, moving from 50 to 100 in 32 balls, while Lyth hit 84 during a late clatter of wickets with scores level.
Their displays capped a good all-round Yorkshire display after they won the toss and decided to bowl first and quickly made inroads with Andrew Hodd, filling in for Bairstow behind the stumps, taking two early catches to remove Steve Peters and Kyle Coetzer within the first four overs.
Yorkshire’s start could have been even more profitable had Coetzer not been dropped off the first ball he faced, edging Tim Bresnan to Adam Lyth at second slip.
Having weathered the early storm, however, Northamptonshire gradually began to rebuild with Richard Levi forging an important 73-run stand spanning 13 overs with Adam Rossington.
That partnership was broken when Steve Patterson found extra bounce and Levi edged behind to earn Hodd his third catch attempting a late cut, prompting Rossington to team up with Ben Duckett in another 73-run stand.
Rossington top-scored with 75 off 83 balls, including nine fours, when he mis-timed an attempted sweep off Adil Rashid to deep backward square, leaving Duckett with the responsibility of guiding Northamptonshire towards a competitive target.
He was given one life on 35, Richard Pyrah spilling a difficult chance at backward point off Bresnan, but became one of three late victims for Pyrah when he pulled to deep mid-wicket for 45 off 49 balls, including three fours and a six, just as he was attempting to accelerate.
Bresnan also played a key role during the final overs in preventing Northamptonshire setting a more daunting target, conceding just eight runs off his final two overs as the Steelbacks added only 22 from the final four overs of the innings.
It was quite a contrast to the start of Yorkshire’s innings with Lyth and Lees relishing their return to Wantage Road and putting their one-day trophy campaign back on track with a 195-run opening stand.