ANDREW GALE says he is encouraged with Yorkshire’s first half of their Specsavers County Championship campaign.

The White Rose have won two, lost one and drawn four of their seven matches so far, and sit fourth in the Division One table - the same position they have finished the last two summers.

Coach Gale’s side are next in action against struggling champions Surrey at Scarborough, starting on Sunday, and took advantage of a week away from action with two days of training at North Marine Road.

“We’ve been decent without being good. We’re improving,” said Gale. “With the bat, I think you can see we’re going in the right direction. But we’ve got to be more consistent.

“As I’ve said before, when we’re in a position of strength we have to hammer it home. That’s what the best teams in the league do - what Championship-winning teams do.

“I feel we’ve been robbed of a few results by the weather and have probably lost a bit of momentum with that. You go to Guildford (for a draw against Surrey earlier this month) and it’s stop-start and we weren’t quite on it.

“We lost a good game of cricket last week against Warwickshire but we’re in a good place halfway through.”

Yorkshire’s batting has been a long-standing area for improvement, and while there have been signs of things going in the right direction, there has been a trend of first-innings struggles before recovery in the second innings.

Their victory over Kent at Canterbury last month was the prime example. Bowled out for 210 in the first innings, conceding a lead of 86, they recovered to post 469 in the second and won by 172 runs.

“I think it’s a very individual thing. I’m not one for saying to batters, ‘You need to play this way or that way’. They need to work it out for themselves and how they’re going to get past the first 20 balls.

“The old adage of when you think you’re doing alright, put two wickets on it. You have to recognise those situations and make sure you don’t lose that concentration and nail it.

“We’re making progress, but slowly. Last year, we probably weren’t getting 250. We weren’t making starts and getting 150. As we know, we’re young.

"Take Adam Lyth and Gary Ballance out. Jack Leaning’s fairly experienced, but Tom Kohler-Cadmore is quite young and raw.

“Will Fraine’s playing his first games, we’ve had Harry Brook in this year. Jonny Tattersall is playing his first full season.

“They’re going to be inconsistent, but all I want them to do is learn as quickly as they can.”

Yorkshire have lost their last four Championship games at Scarborough, including against Surrey last year.

They expect to have South African fast bowler Duanne Olivier available after missing last week’s defeat to Warwickshire at York with a hip injury. Olivier has troubled many a batsman with short balls this summer, but Gale says he can’t afford to get carried away - and doesn’t expect him to.

He added: “The last few years, our record’s been poor there. I feel we’ve come unstuck a bit with the pace and bounce. People go to Scarborough and see the keeper take it above his head and probably get carried away.

“We’ve seen at times this year the lengths that Duanne can bowl. We’ll speak to him about that, and (bowling coach) Rich Pyrah will work with him. I’m sure he can adapt and be a handful.

“It’s a big game for us. But every game in this division is.”