Bad news before the toss was soon swept aside by Yorkshire on the first day of their important LV= County Championship match against Gloucestershire at North Marine Road on the second day of the Scarborough Cricket Festival.
The visitors were dispatched for 215 after being 9-4 at one stage, but Yorkshire then suffered one or two upsets of their own before finishing the day well placed on 61-2.
Yorkshire, holding third spot in the Division Two table, need to win this game in order to boost their promotion chances but they were unable to include senior paceman Ryan Sidebottom because of back spasms or Richard Pyrah, who the previous day broke a bone in his left hand for the second time this season.
The 4,200-plus crowd cheered up when batsmen Joe Root and Gary Ballance received their first-team caps from captain Andrew Gale shortly before the start, and things continued to go well as Steven Patterson and Moin Ashraf ripped the top order apart.
Both bowlers got movement off the seam and Patterson struck three times in as many overs, bowling Benny Howell when he offered no stroke, having Dan Housego caught at second slip by Scarborough’s Adam Lyth and trapping Hamish Marshall lbw as he tried to whip the ball away on the legside.
So far, Ashraf had nothing to show for his efforts but that changed when opener Rob Nicol edged to wicketkeeper Andy Hodd, who held a low catch diving to his right.
Ian Cockbain and Will Gidman worked hard to halt the slide and they took Gloucestershire in to lunch on 70-4, but a stand of 65 was ended early in the afternoon as Cockburn played off-spinner Azeem Rafiq off bat and bad and was caught at forward short leg by Phil Jaques.
Gidman continued to time the ball well until he fell to a stunning catch at second slip by Lyth at the beginning of a new spell by Ashraf, the left-hander having struck 47 from 99 deliveries with six fours.
James Fuller, aiming to square leg, was lbw to Rafiq and Gloucestershire were tottering again on 107-7 but Jack Taylor’s decision to try to hit them out of trouble paid off and he launched himself into a big six over long-on off Rafiq.
He also punched seven other boundaries in his 49 from 43 balls before drilling back a catch to Rafiq, Jon Batty’s share of the 56 stand being just two.
An obdurate innings from Batty was ended by Ashraf who bowled him for 25 and Gloucestershire were led to a single batting bonus point by a spirited last-wicket stand of 36 between Anthony Ireland and Liam Norwell, Adil Rashid then dismissing Norwell to leave Patterson, Ashraf and Rafiq with three wickets apiece.
Yorkshire suffered an early shock of their own when Lyth was caught behind off the second ball of the innings from Gidman and their situation would have been far worse but for three catches being put down in quick succession.
Jaques was dropped first ball at cover by Taylor and Root also had two escapes before he had scored, Batty missing a simple catch behind the stumps off Norwell and Gidman suffering again when Howell could not hold on at first slip.
The Jaques miss did not prove costly, however, as he could not avoid making contact with an away-swinger from Gidman which landed in Batty’s gloves.
It was left to Root (24 not out) and Gale (23no) to take Yorkshire to the close without further mishap, in an unbroken stand of 45.