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Yorkshire review of the season
Shall we start with the good or bad? Ok, let’s get the bad out of the way.
Yorkshire’s form in one-day cricket was of great concern. The Vikings only won three out of 12 Yorkshire Bank 40 matches, a record only the now-defunct Unicorns failed to better in Group C.
Yes, they played a whole host of youngsters – including 15-year-old seamer Matthew Fisher, who will be better for the experience in the long-term.
But that kind of record is not good enough for a county of Yorkshire’s stature, whether they are concentrating on LV= County Championship cricket or not.
They have been handed a favourable draw in next season’s 50-over competition and need to put up a serious challenge for the four quarter-final places on offer from each of the nine-team groups.
Their Twenty20 performances were no better, finishing bottom of the North Division thanks to two wins from ten. But following a Finals Day appearance the season before, their slide was more understandable given a number of key absentees.
Overseas duo Mitchell Starc and David Miller were unavailable, as was England new boy Joe Root.
An embarrassing eight-wicket Twenty20 defeat with nine overs to spare away to Lancashire, when Yorkshire failed to defend 125, was the lowlight of a dreadful limited-overs campaign.
Yorkshire lost 16 out of 22 matches in both competitions – 72.7 per cent of their matches against the white ball.
Now for the good bit. Yorkshire enjoyed a hugely encouraging campaign in the Championship, culminating in a second-placed finish.
It may have ultimately ended in the disappointment of letting slip a 25.5-point lead at the top over eventual champions Durham with four matches left, but the signs are good for future success.
New signings Jack Brooks and Liam Plunkett settled in well, with the latter player’s re-emergence as an all-round force particularly pleasing. He took 36 wickets and scored 394 runs from 12 matches.
After a sticky start, captain Andrew Gale reached 1,000 runs for the first time; as did England new boy Gary Ballance, who will go to Australia this winter as part of the Ashes squad.
The emergence of 20-year-old opener Alex Lees was also a major plus and he posted one of the innings of the summer, scoring 275 not out against Derbyshire at Chesterfield.
Gale and Root also scored Championship double centuries, against Nottinghamshire at Scarborough and Derbyshire at Headingley.
Adil Rashid’s early form with the bat, including three successive hundreds, is also worth praise, although it would be nice to see more potency to his leg-spinners.
New overseas signing Kane Williamson, who returns for 2014, also enjoyed a successful stay at the end of the season, scoring four half-centuries in five Championship innings.
In the bowling department, pace pair Ryan Sidebottom and Steve Patterson just keep on going. They led the way with 49 and 46 wickets respectively to go alongside Plunkett’s 36 and Brooks’ 34 from 11 matches.
Yorkshire won Championship matches against Durham, Derbyshire twice, Warwickshire, Middlesex twice and Nottinghamshire.
There were ten-wicket wins over Middlesex at Lord’s and Notts at Trent Bridge. The away win against Durham in April came when Root scored a brilliant 182 to anchor a successful pursuit of 336, while the home victory over Derbyshire the following week came after conceding a first-innings total of 475.
After 236 for Root and 186 by Jonny Bairstow helped Yorkshire respond with 677-7 declared, Brooks took 5-40 to bowl Derbyshire out for 163 during an exciting final day.
But it was the clinical 139-run win over defending champions Warwickshire at Edgbaston in mid-May which was the season’s highlight. They bowled Warwickshire out for 128, replied with 407 and dismissed the hosts again for 140.
Patterson and Plunkett took six wickets each and Rashid scored a century in a match which saw Yorkshire serve notice that they were genuine title contenders in their first season back in Division One.
Yorkshire should also be praised for their player production line, with 14 from under-17s level upwards gaining England recognition at some point this summer.
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