‘Stodgy’ Yorkshire suffer washout in Royal London Cup opener
STRANGE things happen at Scarborough.
One year, the ground’s PA system picked up an oration from a funeral service in a nearby church.
Another year, that same PA system picked up commentary from a local bowls match, causing the cricketers to stop dead in their tracks.
And who can forget the time when a man wearing an Osama bin Laden face mask ran on to the outfield with a rucksack on his back before being led away by stewards.
Yes, strange things happen at Scarborough alright.
Yesterday, as rain curtailed Yorkshire’s opening Royal London One-Day Cup match, with Gloucestershire 5-0 after two overs in reply to the hosts’ 227 all-out, another curious incident was added to the list.
After just three balls, play was halted for around five minutes because the 30-yard fielding circle had been incorrectly laid out.
The scorer’s walkie-talkie in the press box relayed the drama, the umpires confiding that the white dots inside which a certain number of fielders must stand were, in fact, only 25 yards or so from the stumps.
Men with giant tape measures appeared, and the white dots - all 26 of them - were meticulously moved into the correct place, with North Marine Road thus providing Wisden almanack with another entry for its annual Index of Unusual Occurrences.
Sadly for Yorkshire, there was nothing unusual about the cricket itself, which continued a frustrating trend for them in one-day cricket.
Having crashed out of the T20 Blast in disappointing style, Yorkshire produced an underwhelming display to kick-off their 50-over campaign.
After winning the toss, they were dismissed from the final delivery of their 50 overs, Tim Bresnan top-scoring with 43 on a day when none of the top-order took responsibility.
Australia’s Glenn Maxwell (33) and England’s Gary Ballance (31) were among those who got starts but failed to go on, Yorkshire falling to 151-8 before Bresnan and Steve Patterson spared their blushes with a ninth-wicket stand of 57 in 64 balls.
Yorkshire’s batting was stodgy - the cricketing equivalent of sausage rolls and pork pies.
Of the 50 overs they faced, there were 30 overs’ worth of dot balls - a statistic which spoke volumes for their inability to put bat on ball.
The hosts were even gifted two extra overs in wides and no-balls by a Gloucestershire attack whose failure to end sooner the Yorkshire ninth-wicket stand retrospectively cost them the chance of victory.
That stand crucially ate up 40 minutes, with Gloucestershire needing to get in 10 overs of their reply in order to constitute a game under Duckworth-Lewis, at which point they would only have had to be 20-0 to win.
On a green-tinged pitch, Yorkshire lost their first wicket in the fifth over when Alex Lees seemed surprised by a ball from James Fuller that bounced up to take the edge.
There was plenty of bounce, in fact, and Andrew Gale fell in not dissimilar fashion when he was caught behind off Craig Miles to leave Yorkshire 34-2 in the 10th.
It brought together the big guns of Maxwell and Ballance, but neither was firing on all cylinders.
Maxwell, after taking 11 balls to get off the mark, lofted the pace of Benny Howell for a straight six into the Peasholm Park end, but his dismissal summed up his Yorkshire career to date.
Having been caught at point off a no-ball from Fuller, and then horrendously dropped by former England wicketkeeper Geraint Jones at mid-off in the space of three balls, Maxwell slapped the next delivery straight to Jones in the same place, who this time accepted the chance just above his head.
It was strange stuff from Maxwell, who had been left out of Friday’s final T20 game against Birmingham for disciplinary reasons after turning up late to the final day of a second team game.
If anything, this type of dismissal was just as deserving of sanction.
Maxwell’s indiscretion was only magnified when Jack Leaning was yorked by Fuller’s next ball, leaving Yorkshire 82-4 in the 19th.
Ballance was another to go caught behind, feathering the medium pace of Kieran Noema-Barnett during a spell of four overs that included five wides.
Ballance hit two fours in his 55-ball stay and will be hoping for better when Yorkshire return to his old stomping ground of Derby today (2pm start).
Will Rhodes was another dismissed in the 30s, brilliantly caught by Michael Klinger flying to his left at slip off Miles.
When Andrew Hodd slapped the same bowler to cover and Liam Plunkett was caught behind off his next ball, Yorkshire were 151-8 in the 37th over.
Bresnan and Patterson helped save face, the latter eventually lbw trying to sweep the left-arm spin of Tom Smith, and Bresnan continuing his fine form with the bat before holing out to deep mid-wicket off the final ball.