Duanne Olivier strikes late to secure victory for Yorkshire CCC over Surrey at Scarborough
THERE is nothing quite like turning up to the final day of a County Championship match with all results possible, the prospect of fine weather and a good amount of play.
Such was the happy situation in which spectators found themselves yesterday, with the game against Surrey balanced on a knife-edge.
The first question to be answered was this: how many runs would Surrey have to chase?
The answer, after Ben Coad was last out after Yorkshire resumed on 303-9 to leave a final total of 352, was 318 from a minimum of 83 overs.
The second and most critical question was: could Surrey do it, or would the match finish in a Yorkshire win, a draw or even a tie?
At 5.55pm, a crowd of 1,729 had their answer, Yorkshire winning by 123 runs with just 10 balls left, Duanne OIivier having Gareth Batty caught at second slip by Adam Lyth to spark joyous scenes among the home team’s players and supporters.
And so concluded a magnificent match in which both sides had their chances on a typically competitive surface, albeit not quite as quick as normal due to recent wet weather but still providing plenty of bounce, carry and spin.
To groundsman John Dodds and his team must go the utmost credit; if every pitch was as good as Scarborough, where there have now been 12 successive results, there would be few dull games.
The weather on the North Yorkshire coast was suitably glorious, perhaps the loveliest and sunniest of all the four days.
The smell of sun cream lingered on the breeze, while the North Bay just a short walk from the ground had never looked finer, with dinghies bobbing on the silver waves and the castle silhouetted against a bottomless blue sky.
When play began, the last-wicket pair of Coad and Olivier were in the mood to score quickly, striking 49 in 38 minutes before Coad was caught behind off an under-edge off Batty for a career-best 48 from 42 balls.
Coad’s innings included seven fours and a six off Batty’s spin into the Trafalgar Square end, Olivier contributing 11 to their last wicket partnership of 57.
In pursuit of what would have been the second-highest successful chase against Yorkshire at North Marine Road, Surrey were given a fine start by openers Dean Elgar and Mark Stoneman, who took the score to 68-0 off 20 overs by lunch.
Elgar eased Coad to the cover boundary in strikingly deft manner, Stoneman punching the same bowler back down the ground.
After lunch, Stoneman plonked Steve Patterson over the leg-side boundary and on to the Popular Bank, a notable shot considering that Patterson was typically miserly from the Peasholm Park end, providing a good foil for Keshav Maharaj’s left-arm spin from the Trafalgar Road side.
But Stoneman fell in disappointing style, caught at short-leg as he turned Maharaj off the full face of the blade to leave Surrey 93-1 in the 29th over.
When Yorkshire are doing well, there is always a vibrant buzz around North Marine Road, where the applause can be loud enough to startle the seagull population.
When they are not doing so well, a deathly silence falls over the place, and it had begun to descend as Elgar and Scott Borthwick took the score to 136-1 before Borthwick aimed an off-drive at David Willey and played on.
Collective apprehension dissolved in the run-up to tea, when Surrey lost three wickets in the space of five balls to crash from 157-2 to 157-5.
The catalyst was the run-out of Elgar, sent back when Ryan Patel pushed Maharaj to mid-on and called for a suicidal single, David Willey beating Elgar’s desperate attempt to regain his ground.
Unsettled by this giveaway, Surrey lost Ben Foakes to a delivery from Coad that took out off stump and Sam Curran to a catch behind off the same bowler.
Left-hander Patel did not detain Yorkshire after the break, caught at short-leg off Maharaj, who claimed his third wicket when Rikki Clarke edged behind (163-7).
At that stage, Surrey had lost 5-6 in 35 balls, and there were still 28.3 overs left in the game.
With all hope of victory gone, Jamie Smith and Jordan Clark shut up shop in an effort to bat out the draw, resisting for 17.3 overs before Clark was yorked by Olivier after scoring one from 58 balls.
Morne Morkel ran himself out before Batty’s last-gasp dismissal secured Yorkshire a Championship victory.