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Yorkshire rally as Rafiq hits season's best
Those of a nervous disposition, look away now.
Yorkshire’s promotion challenge in the LV=County Championship is heading towards a nerve-wracking conclusion.
This is after all three teams in the race for a place in Division One for next season are in similar positions in their respective games after day one of the final round of fixtures.
The Tykes closed on 284-8 in Chelmsford against Essex. Leaders Derbyshire bowled Hampshire out for 272 and then reached 50-3 in reply in Derby, with third-placed Kent’s opponents Glamorgan closing on 334-8 in Cardiff.
“We think about 300 is a par score here so we’re pretty pleased,” said Yorkshire’s first-team coach Jason Gillespie at the close. He then added that he’d been keeping a close eye on the scores elsewhere.
“It’s the end of the season and so everybody is keeping tabs on what’s going on around the country.”
Yorkshire can of course remove themselves from any sort of final day tension by winning this match with a minimum of three bonus points to guarantee going up.
Thanks to a sound effort on day one they already have two in the bag.
Much of this was down to a blistering cameo from Adam Lyth, who reached 67 off only 69 balls before being dismissed by Graham Napier.
His efforts helped Yorkshire recover from the early loss of Joe Root for a duck to take lunch on 111-2, before four wickets fell during the afternoon session on a day which ebbed and flowed beautifully.
The county were suddenly in trouble on 166-6 but any fears of a further slump were soon quashed by Andrew Hodd and Azeem Rafiq. The two would put on 58 for the seventh wicket until Hodd was run out for 22, before Ryan Sidebottom then helped to continue the fightback.
He made 37 in a partnership of 60 before falling to Tom Craddock off the final ball of the day, to leave Rafiq unbeaten on a season’s best score of 49 at the close.