NICK SUMPTON’S COLUMN - Tykes head into town

England's bowler Tim Bresnan celebrates the wicket of Sri Lankan batsman Thilan Samaraweera, unseen, during the first day's play of their second test cricket match in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Tuesday, April 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)
England's bowler Tim Bresnan celebrates the wicket of Sri Lankan batsman Thilan Samaraweera, unseen, during the first day's play of their second test cricket match in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Tuesday, April 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

After a washed-out first week, all three of our teams will look to get their seasons off to a winning start.

The 3rd XI face their first fixture of the season, while the 1st and 2nd XIs will try to get their campaigns underway.

Andrew Simpson’s side are unchanged, once again being able to include Adam Lyth in a strong first XI. Mark Tennant goes back to his old club Driffield on Saturday before they travel up to Great Ayton on Sunday for a cup encounter.

After the disappointment of being washed out at the weekend, this weeks double header gives Simpson and his players a chance to get league and cup victories and a solid start to the season under their belts.

The Yorkshire League have also decided to add the abandoned fixtures onto the end of the season, so the game against Cleethorpes will now take place on September 15.

It was an option that the Bradford League also took, but the York Senior League didn’t, possibly due to the large volume of sides they have in their league.

Considering the large amount of sides in the York League it would have set a bad precedent in my eyes, and if games were abandoned midway through the season, teams would be wanting to add them onto the end of the season and we’d be playing in October if this weather carries on!

The 2nd XI host Sheriff Hutton at North Marine Road in a repeat of the final game of last season. Despite no game taking place against Carlton Towers last week, I am hopeful that this week’s action will provide a winning start to the season, in the same way we ended last year, with a 69-run victory.

Sam Carver made an unbeaten 77, while Darren Mills blasted an unbeaten 64 which included three fours and five maximums, a repeat performance would be a great way to start the season.

Martin North will take his 3rd XI side to newly created side Staithes 2nds in their first encounter of the season.

The Whitby side have entered a second string after the success of their 1st XI pushing the like of Staxton, Ebberston and Heslerton in the Beckett League Premier.

He will be able to take a strong side to Staithes and include the likes of James Pick, Kawsar Ahmed and Chris Hunter alongside new signings Keiran Howard and Reece Milner.

Next week brings the return of first-Class cricket to North Marine Road. Andrew Gale will bring his side to the seaside to face old team mate, Matthew Hoggard and his Leicestershire side with the LVCC County Championship game starting on Wednesday.

Tim Bresnan should be included in the squad to play at North Marine Road with two weeks before England’s first Test Match. Bresnan has been included for Yorkshire’s next game which is against Kent, this time at Canterbury.

While England and England Lions representatives Jonny Bairstow, Adil Rashid, Joe Root and Andrew Gale are all certain to be involved baring injury.

Phil Jaques made an impressive start on his return to Yorkshire action making 126 against Essex last week.

Yorkshire sorely missed Jacques Rudolph last year, showing when they called him back late in the season, and Jaques experience and runs will hopefully give the Yorkshire innings a good platform for the likes of Bairstow and Gale to push on.

Jaques’ ton was one of few in the opening weeks of the county season, where low scores have been common place.

The ECB came under some criticism this week from Shaun Udal who said the county season is starting too early, with the first games starting in the first week in April this year. He suggested the cold, damp conditions were not aiding the quality of the cricket, and average seam bowlers were getting wickets they otherwise wouldn’t get.

Only three sides made over 300 in the last round of fixtures across both divisions and Udal wants to see quality over quantity with a reduced fixture list.

How you get to that situation is something that has been widely debated, and investigated by the ECB with some changes starting from next season.

I believe while Udal has a point about the scheduling, the same conditions are applying to both sides and whether the games are low scoring or high scoring, it comes down to who exploits the conditions most.

It does mean the spinners don’t get much of a chance in these early games, but teams know the conditions when they toss up, and don’t have to pick a spin bowler if they don’t see fit. It certainly makes a change from matches we have become used to where 500 plays another 500 and its a draw.

One man who matched Jaques’ feat was Ravi Bopara, who will be pushing for a Test place when the West Indies come to England in a few weeks time.

Samit Patel played in Sri Lanka, as England opted for two spinners, something highly unlikely in seamer friendly conditions we are sure to get when the first Test gets underway at Lord’s on May 17.

England may plump for four bowlers, as they often have done, in Anderson, Broad and Bresnan as the seamers and Swann as the lone spinner. That leaves the door open for another batsman, and Bopara has put himself in the frame ahead of out-of-favour Eoin Morgan.

England should win this Test series with ease, not many teams enjoy coming to England when it’s cold and soggy at the start of the summer, and England should blow away the West Indies without too many problems.

Saturday’s teams

1st XI v Driffield (a) Andrew SIMPSON (capt), Mark TENNANT (wk), Kunwar BANSIL, Danny EVANS, Darren HARLAND, Jack HOLT, Ant HUNTER, Matty KAY, Adam LYTH, Ashley LYTH, Joe PADMORE.

2nd XI – Sheriff Hutton (h) Nicky SUMPTON (capt), Jonathan READ (wk), James BRUCE, Mark BRUCE, Tom BRUCE, Sam CARVER, Sam HILLS, Josh MAINPRIZE, Darren MILLS, Theo SMITH, Jordan WELFORD.

Yorkshire CCC v Leicestershire CCC takes place May 2-5, with play starting at 11am on each day.

Tickets are priced at £15 for adults and £10 for concessions. Hospitality is still available for all of the first three days of the fixture. Get in touch by calling the club on 01723 365625